Our Guest Speaker last week was Errol Stewart, who was accompanied by his wife, Aidie. Errol spoke about his developments in Launceston, starting in 1992 when he purchased Jackson Ford.
Having moved to Victoria from Launceston earlier in his career, he and Aidie decided to return to Launceston. Their first purchase was the Glen Dhu High School, which they developed into a comfortable residence. It was then that he decided to develop the old Salisbury's Foundry into the new Jackson Ford complex. This was a very difficult job, and set a trend for him in terms of not being put off by difficult projects.
It was a meeting with Jim Bacon and John Lees which started discussions on the Seaport development. Money was hard to borrow for such a project, and he had to resort to bringing in other people as partners. This approach continued throughout all his work.
He gave a summary of all his projects, including not-so-successful ones such as the George Town Ferry Terminal development. Fortunately, these failures were rare.
He talked about the sourcing of the marina for the Seaport, the Silo Hotel complex, and the C H Smith area. One thing which has been a feature of his projects is his ability to involve not only private developers, but Local and State Government. This approach was the catalyst which made them viable. The current works include the new Motor Museum opposite the Silo Hotel, and he outlined plans for the precinct. The Silo Hotel is a very sig-nificant part of the North Esk River Park, Rowing Complex and general recreation area. It will be a great tourist attraction. He is even interested in developing the old Kings Wharf, and creating yet another public asset.
It was a privilege to hear from one of the main developers of public space in Launceston, and we thank him for giving us his time, as well as congratulating him on his work.