Solar Powered Eco Resort For SA’s Louth Island

It may not look like much at the moment, but Louth Island in South Australia could soon be home to an eco-resort.

Louth Island (Aboriginal name: Yarudu) is a 135-hectare island located in Louth Bay in South Australia’s Spencer Gulf. It’s just 3 kilometres from the mainland and is around 18 kilometres from Port Lincoln.

The island was named by Captain Matthew Flinders in 1802. Grazing of sheep began in began early last century and a bit of guano (bird poop) mining has also occurred on the island.

As things currently stand, much of Louth Island is covered with introduced grasses and weeds. African Boxthorn has also been proliferating since a reduction in grazing – which I know from personal experience (and many punctures) can be challenging to get rid of.

The good news is a bunch of bird species frequent the island. Among them, Fairy Penguins are known to breed there as do Hooded Plover, which are a threatened species. The island is also free of rabbits, rats, mice, cats, foxes and other introduced species.

In terms of existing buildings, there’s not  much – a lean-to shed, a working shearing shed and associated stockyards built back in the 1950s, and some ruins.

The island was purchased in 2021 by Che Metcalfe. Assuming a green light from the powers-that-be, Mr. Metcalfe intends transforming Louth Island through his Ika Shima eco resort project. It will consist of:

  • 26 single bed villas
  • A day spa (earth sheltered construction)
  • The existing shearing sheds will be converted to a laundry and workers accommodation facility
  • Solar powered desalination plant
  • Two ground mounted solar panels arrays
  • Tennis court
  • Outdoor gym
  • Swimming pool
  • Yoga/meditation area.
  • Revegetation and landscaping

On the last point, the existing Ika Shima web site indicates the developer is “currently working hard with organisations like Greening Australia to restore the island to its original state.” The web site also mentions construction is well under way and the resort is set to open this year.

But the web site jumps the gun a little on current status given approvals are yet to be issued.

Solar Energy Details Sketchy

I couldn’t find any solid information on the solar power setup, only that it will impact an area of 3.85 hectares There is also a mention of batteries and hydrogen (of course) on the optimistic Ika Shima web site.

This looks like a really interesting project that could do a lot of good – and it’s great to see renewables in the form of solar panels and battery storage will be powering it. But if Hooded Plovers are breeding on Louth Island and given the shorebird situation generally, any form of motor vehicle use on beaches as an attraction should be given a miss; whether they are electric vehicles or not. Beach driving has generally proved to be an incredibly destructive/disruptive practice, and future generations will look back on the activity and ask: “what were they thinking?”

A public consultation period is currently active for the Ika Shima eco resort project, and closes on February 14. Further information is available on the PlanSA website.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Single bed villas……. good luck with that

    • Ronald Brakels says

      There may be one bed per villa — so a single bed — but I’m willing to bet that one bed will be queen sized.

    • Carol Smith says

      Looks like it will be a fabulous place for a great relaxing holiday,good luck.Me and my other half will come for a relaxing break.Carol Smith

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