May marks over a year since the bushfires that had been raging across South Australia’s Kangaroo Island converged from three sides to destroy Southern Ocean Lodge, and plans for rebuild have finally been granted by the council.
In a year marked by challenges around the world, James and Hayley have worked on plans to rebuild the luxury lodge on the island’s remote south west coast in partnership with US-based KSL Partners and Adelaide-based architect Max Pritchard.
Following the announcement of council approval for Southern Ocean Lodge 2.0, the CFS have imposed 34 conditions ahead of the rebuild due to its location and unfortunate history with Australia’s natural disasters.
Here’s what we know about the imposed conditions for rebuild:
- 100,000 litres of water is to be on-site at all times as a fire fighting supply
- The site must be accessible by a fire trail, and have a bushfire buffer zone of at least 20 metres
- Management must implement a “leave early” strategy for guests and staff
- Consideration of reducing operating hours and restricting activities on days of heightened bushfire risk
- A helipad for emergency landings on-site
- A stay and defend strategy poses an unacceptable risk to life
The development’s progress is now subject to negotiations around insurance and future premiums which will determine its financial viability.
In the meantime, James and Hayley have partnered with South Australian film makers 57 Films to chart the journey of the new lodge’s creation from the ground up to doors opening, with a view to completing both projects in early 2023.
57 Films Director/Producer Paul Ryan and Director of Photography Isaac Walgos have already travelled to the Southern Ocean Lodge site to interview James and Hayley as they walked through the scorched landscape.
The pair will return frequently to record build developments with the regeneration of the coastal wilderness as backdrop and meet some of the lodge’s essential local partners. Included already is sculptor Indiana James who created ‘Sunshine’ the kangaroo from reclaimed tractor parts.
Sunshine would greet and farewell guests from his position in the upper lounge of the lodge’s Great Room.
As a heart-warming symbol of hope and resilience, Sunshine was discovered still valiantly standing after the fires had obliterated the building and its contents, and the film is named Sunshine Rising in his honour.
Hayley Baillie said planning for Southern Ocean Lodge 2.0 offered a chance to recreate all the essentials that made a stay there so rewarding and memorable, whilst adding some new features that would delight guests and add to their experience of the incredible Kangaroo Island wilderness.
“When we opened Southern Ocean Lodge in 2008, it was the result of a marathon five years in planning and hard work. And I said to James, if only we’d thought to take video footage of this incredible journey from the ground up,” Mrs Baillie said.
“Now, for better or worse, we’re fortunate to have our chance again,” she said.
For more info on the Southern Ocean Lodge, head to https://baillielodges.com.au/lodge/southern-ocean-lodge/.