February 2014 Review of the Cruise Ship Terminal
Information about the Broadwater Marine Project, better known to the community as the cruise ship terminal proposal, has been moving fast this past week, following the pictorial representation of the Chinese company ASFs plans to develop every square centimetre of the Broadwater’s Wavebreak Island and The Spit.
The Project revealed:
Last Thursday (13/2) the Bulletin published some pictures of wall to wall ASF development including multiple high rise buildings on both Wavebreak Island and The Spit, including at least one 50 storey building. Space between the buildings was coloured green so that we could think that we are not losing 75 hectares of irreplaceable public open space worth $818 million. The cruise terminal appeared to be on The Spit.
The Letter from State Government:
In addition to this revelation Mayor Tate received a letter from Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, advising that the State Government was handing over all responsibility for the project to Council despite his contention in recent months that there were major unnamed obstacles to overcome.
This letter was not shown to our elected Councillors and they had to find out its contents by reading Hansard.
In effect it said Council would have to take all the risks of assessing the project and providing the infrastructure to support the development.
This includes several bridges, upgrading of the Gold Coast Highway at Southport and traffic upgrades for The Spit and Main Beach.
Infrastructure charges to developers are now below cost recovery so the extra payments would have to be made by Council – that is you and me.
This is despite the promise that the whole project would be at no cost to Council.
Councillors Chris Robbins Division 14 and Margaret Grummit Division 4 were always opposed to the project, but by Friday (14/2) a number of additional Councillors were expressing dismay and publicly announcing they could not support the proposal from ASF.
William Owen Jones Division 2;
Tracey Gilmore Division 5;
Jan Grew Division 11;
Dawn Critchlow Division 6;
Greg Betts Division 12; and
Daphne MacDonald Division 13;
Those sitting on the fence includes:
Cameron Caldwell Division 3;
Glen Tozer Division 9;
Paul Taylor Division 10 and
Donna Gates Division 1;
Those still in favour of the project are:
Mayor Tom Tate,
Bob La Castra Division 8 and
Lex Bell Division 7.
By Saturday (15/2) the Bulletin was having an each way bet with one article on the cost liability to the city of proceeding and another article featuring the ships we can expect to dock on The Spit. This article ignores the GCCC simulation reports done in 2012 which demonstrated clearly that even small ships could not dock safely more than a few days per year.
Mayor Under Pressure and Ratepayer (not residents) Survey
On Monday (17/2) the Mayor was expressing concern that he could lose his position if his Councillors did not support the project. He also said he would survey all ratepayers in the city for their opinions, completely forgetting the thousands of residents who rent in the city and who have a right to have a say. More money to be wasted.
Tuesday (16/2) The Bulletin continued with its story of the divisions between those Councillors now opposed to the project and those supporting it as well as the fence sitters. The Bulletin claimed there could be a vote on the matter by next Tuesday. A quote from the Bulletin “ A huge shift in power is likely to see a clear majority of councillors support a “take no further role and thank the proponent’’ motion when the port is voted on at next Tuesday’s full council meeting.” And also “MAYOR Tom Tate, for the first time, has admitted his political career is dead in the water unless he can convince a majority of councillors to back his cruise ship terminal project”
The Mayor is the Only One to Have Seen The Plan
Wednesday (20/2) it is revealed by the Bulletin that only the Mayor will get to attend a briefing by ASF on Thursday 21/2 and see more detailed plans. There is no explanation of why the rest of our 14 elected representatives, the Councillors, are excluded from this briefing. They will have to rely and the Mayor’s less than objective report to them later on Thursday.
Tate v’s Owen-Jones: Also on Wednesday (20/2) the Mayor accuses Councillor William Owen-Jones of undermining his mayoral authority because he (W O-J) wants to be mayor himself. “Cr Tate said Cr Owen-Jones had been encouraging other councillors to vote the project down before they had all the facts on the table.” GCB 20.2.14. The Bulletin has a vote running between the two men, but fails to consider we might not want either of them.
The Gold Coast Bulletin also claims that the public poll they have been running since Thursday has come out with a majority of Gold Coasters in favour.
Gecko finds this hard to believe as the polls we viewed over that period did not come out with that result.
More Risks and Costs to Council (Ratepayers)
Another article in the Bulletin today stated “The decision by the Newman Government, after announcing the ASF consortium as “possible proponents”, to hand the project back to council has also prompted warnings that ratepayers could foot a $100 million compensation bill.” It seems if Council proceeds with the project and asks the proponent to spend money on more detailed plans and then later rejects the project, Council could be liable for compensation payouts. There is a precedent for this in NSW.
The saga will continue with the revelation of some information from the Mayor’s exclusive viewing of the plans today and the Councillors’ reaction to whatever he tells them.