A COSMETIC surgeon and luxury hotel owner who has plunged more than $100 million on Hunter tourism projects, and plans to spend more, loves Lovedale so much he’s spelt its name out in solar panels.
Dr Jerry Schwartz has used a renewable energy project at his Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley – across the road from Cessnock airport – to promote Lovedale by putting its name on the roof.
In the next month or two he plans to run a regular charter service – Blue Sky Airways – between Cessnock, Newcastle and Rose Bay “to connect the Hunter up a bit better with Sydney”.
It’s part of a plan to expand his Hunter tourism operations beyond the Crowne Plaza and Novotel hotels in Newcastle, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley and the Airport Motel at Lovedale, spa and golf course and Lovedale Brewery, and a winery and acreage adjoining his Lovedale holdings.
“My plans for the Hunter? It’s pretty much to expand the things I’ve done,” Dr Schwartz said.
“I want to put a bottling plant near the brewery, a cannery and a distillery where we’ll be making our own spirits. The Hunter Valley is one of the major tourist centres in the state, Newcastle is a beautiful city, and it’s a good way for people to get out of Sydney to visit a really beautiful area.”
Building a large solar energy plant at the Lovedale hotel and conference centre was “the right thing to do and saves you money in the long term”.
The co-generation plant produces two forms of energy, electricity and heat. The plant powers the hotel, warms the outdoor swimming pool year round, and runs the brewery.
“The opening of the conference and events centre a year ago means that at times we have over 1000 people across the venue, so the installation of the solar panels and the co-generation plant was an ideal solution to meeting our energy needs while minimising our environmental impact,” Dr Schwartz said.
Using the solar panels to identify and promote Lovedale from the air was a bonus, he said.
“People have heard of Cessnock and Pokolbin, but nobody’s really heard of Lovedale, so when we decided on the solar plant we thought we’d use the panels to spell out the name.”
Dr Schwartz, who completed some of his earliest medical training in Newcastle, is the father of a son, 5, and twin daughters, 3. His children had turned his mind to the environment and the need for renewable energy.
“When you think about their futures and what the world will be like, it does tend to focus your thinking about things,” he said.