PLANS to build homes on a futuristic island off the Nightcliff Foreshore are evidently more than just a drop in the ocean, with geotechnical studies about to begin. The Environment Centre NT's campaign against 'Nightcliff Island' has begun.
Darwin-based developer Halikos Group has confirmed it will begin drilling offshore this weekend to gather geotechnical samples.
"The samples are part of preliminary studies for a possible offshore residential development," Halikos said in a statement yesterday.
"Should the project proceed, the Halikos Group expects to do detailed environmental studies, lodge a development application ... and do comprehensive community consultation."
With Darwin growing rapidly and the number of infill development sites dwindling, the island plan would provide an unconventional step to ease to the Top End property squeeze.
The concept was first revealed by Planning Minister Peter Chandler during a Budget Estimates hearing last year.
At the time he said a proposal for a man-made island, which would be built about 200 metres offshore roughly from the point where Progress Drive turns into Casuarina Drive, had been referred to the NT Planning Commission.
Mr Chandler said at the time the island could include "a couple of hundred lots" as well as a commercial and tourism element. Environmental groups and the NT Opposition have expressed concern about the concept.
Halikos managing director Shane Dignan said the drilling "should not cause any disturbance to residents".
"However, we would ask any boating traffic to keep a safe distance from the barges," Mr Dignan said.
Two 12-metre barges, one carrying a drilling rig and the other a support vessel, will operate for 24 hours, including night-time, between Saturday and Thursday.