Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, I rise to speak about and recognise a man from my electorate who is also a Tasmanian high achiever. A man of insight and vision, a man who is always looking for interesting business opportunities, someone interested in preserving and rejuvenating building sites around the state that are at the end of one life but he believes have the potential to be reborn as something else; sites that may no longer suit the purpose they were initially designed for, sites that have been abandoned, forgotten and are often most dilapidated. I speak of course of Errol Stewart.
Errol was born in Smithton in 1952 and went to Launceston Church Grammar school. During the Christmas holidays in 1967, he got his first job as a parts delivery boy with the Ford dealership in Devonport. Of course we all know that Errol went on to run his own dealership, firstly in Gippsland, Victoria, before returning to buy the Ford dealership in Launceston. Over time, his car business expanded statewide with dealerships in Hobart, Burnie, Devonport and Launceston. With the passage of time, Errol's interest moved to another area, owning land. He decided to buy the site that housed his Launceston dealership and he caught the property bug from there. He kept looking at an old dry dock, an industrial development across from his Launceston dealership property, and decided that he wanted to buy this whole site, which he did and between 2002 and 2004, the Seaport, as it became known, was developed at the princely sum of $40 million, which amounts to a huge expenditure in Tasmania. I am sure many people here who have been to the Seaport, or may have seen what it was in the past, can only marvel at Errol's vision and what he did to that area. Along with the Seaport and Peppers Seaport Hotel, Errol has developed many sites across the state, but most notably we have the old Glen Dhu Infant School, the former Bennell Cottages in Cameron Street, and Albuera Street State School.
Errol's next plan is to redevelop the old grain silos opposite Seaport. His plan is to develop a hotel with a restaurant and conference facilities. This is an exciting idea and one that has the potential to substantially benefit the Launceston area. Firstly, by way of employment during the development process and then by way of revenue to the area from those using the facilities provided.
Of course there is more to Errol than just the successful businessman we have all come to know. Errol is a real family man. He has been married to Adrienne for 42 years and has two children. The old adage that 'the family who work together, stay together' is very true in this particular instance with Adrienne being part of the company, and Troy and Kristy running their own dealerships. It was a good day in September, 22 years ago, when the Stewart family chose to return to Tasmania and make it their home.