The Light Regional Council has approved the development of a new, controversial 6-star hotel, The Oscar, in the Barossa Valley, despite the concerns of many residents. The hotel, which is being funded and driven by a group of South Australian business leaders, is set to commence construction in Seppeltsfield later this year.
Taming Oscar, a community group that has voiced opposition to the project, has called it an “urban monster” and an eyesore that will ruin the area’s natural beauty. The group has vowed to continue fighting the development.
Eva Tscharke, a member of the Barossa Regions Residents Association, said locals had criticised the hotel since plans were proposed in 2020, with some dubbing it “the slug.”
“This is not the end. What The Oscar has done is it’s the first development that’s trying to breach the walls of character-preservation legislation and it’s triggered the community coming together,” Ms Tscharke said.
“I think it’s more the beginning really. It’s not built yet, it’s far from it.”
According to The Adelaide Advertiser, Ms Tscharke said the association was in discussion with Regional Development Australia and both the Barossa and Light Regional Council about the hotel.
“We see the need for luxury tourism accommodation, I think that’s where we really need to be very clear. It’s the design that is the issue here,” Ms Tscharke said.
Oscar Seppeltsfield is expected to bring an additional $90m in tourism expenditure and attract new markets to the region and drive growth in the domestic and international visitor economy within the first five years. The project will create an additional 363 construction jobs and 350 ongoing jobs for the region once operational.
The luxury, 12-storey hotel will have 71 rooms, including suites and penthouses, with a private balcony for every room.
There will be a viewing deck on the top level with 360-degree sweeping views of the Barossa. The ground floor will have a wellness day spa including world-class treatment experiences, relaxation spaces and an infinity pool. The hotel will also offer a world-class restaurant, private dining room and boardroom.
There were more than 897,000 day trips taken to the Barossa in 2019 and it’s expected these numbers will continue to rise with travel and tourism gaining more and more traction.
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