A $10 million upgrade of the Argosy Hotel in East Devonport has been put on hold after Labor’s decision to join with the Greens in promising to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs across Tasmania.
The planned upgrade of the site, which is located near the busy Spirit of Tasmania terminal, was expected to contribute greatly to the revitalisation of Devonport as a tourism and services hub following the commencement of the Living City project.
The investment is part of the Goodstone Group’s larger plan to spend $20 million across its 13 sites on the north west, has now been shelved.
One of north west Tasmania’s most successful exports, former VFL player and Goodstone Group Director, Kerry Good said the removal of electronic gaming machines would have a devastating effect on the company’s capacity to give back to the community.
Mr Good, who was raised on a dairy farm in Ulverstone, left the north west coast at age 18 to follow a career in football, a move which ultimately led to him transcending his working class roots and becoming a successful businessman after his playing days came to an end.
Business success allowed Mr Good and his business partner Peter Johnstone to invest in their home region, the north west, purchasing Stones Hotel in Ulverstone in 1988, which was to become the Lighthouse Hotel.
The Goodstone Group now operates 13 sites across the north west, employing 342 people.
“If Labor are to win the election we will have to scrap the proposed development plans, its as simple as that,” Mr Good said.
The staged redevelopment of the Argosy Hotel would include a revamp of the bottleshop, the addition of 46 new hotel rooms and increased parking capacity, growing the footprint of the hotel by 50 per cent.
“The Goodstone Group has a proven track record of re-investing in our hotels, having put $20 million into redevelopments over the last 10 years,” he said.
“These developments not only provide safe and enjoyable hotels for locals, but they also contribute to helping the north west gain the recognition it deserves as a tourism destination.
“We are finally starting to get there with the Devonport Living City and the Liberals’ increased investment towards two new Spirit of Tasmania ships, and it would be a shame to see the progress go backwards.
“We currently employ 342 staff, we hope to grow this number alongside the redevelopments, but it won’t be possible without investment security.”