30 Nov 2005

Cook Islands hotel development inches closer to kickstart

8:26 pm on 30 November 2005

The lawyer for the Cook Islands landowner planning to lease the controversial Vaimaanga property, is expecting to receive additional funds from the developers.

Tim Arnold says the developers, called the Investors Forum, along with Tim Tepaki, have now agreed to pay the remainder of a deposit to secure the lease, this week.

The group has already paid 175,000 U.S. dollars but will now put 525,000 dollars into a trust account with Auckland lawyers, which will be released when the High Court and the Lease Approval Tribunal give the go ahead for the lease.

Mr Arnold says it may still take time because there are other issues which the Investors Forum must agree to before the project gets under way.

"They don't just get the lease but that they are locked into all the covenants and commitments which require them to complete the hotel to a four star standard, to get it open for business in a reasonable time, and to get a reputable international hotel manager in there."

Tim Arnold says he's cautiously optimistic that the project will now proceed after several failed attempts in the past.