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Topic Date User
Club Wolgon 22-Jun-2005 At 2:32:19 PM DangerLaef
Airline's mountain resort flies into flak
June 22, 2005

Private swimming pools for each hotel room, large verandas with views and $320 airport transfer charges just to get to the front door: welcome to resort life, Emirates airline style, and it is heading this way.

The airline's next project, to be announced today, will be a slick, expensive operation bordering Blue Mountains National Park, but the Greens have serious concerns about its possible impact.

The airline says the development will be an environmentally sensitive resort north of Lithgow, alongside the World Heritage-listed area and modelled on its Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, near Dubai.

The airline's chairman, Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, and the NSW Tourism Minister, Sandra Nori, will launch the "tourism and conservation investment" at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney today. The Wolgan Valley site will be cleared of feral animals, and most of the area bought left undeveloped.

Emirates tried to keep details of the project under wraps but the Australian Financial Review yesterday reported it had bought thousands of hectares from the local Webb family for an undisclosed amount.

Access is by dirt road, prompting Greens MLC Ian Cohen to raise concerns about roadworks or the building of an airstrip or heliport.

Tim Dick

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