Progress on The Spit Master Plan - by Lois Levy

The Spit is a unique city asset that all Gold Coasters, regardless of where they live, can enjoy and protect. Since the initial community consultation and the first weekend workshop, a second workshop was held in July at which the participants were divided into groups to discuss the possibilities for different areas of The Spit.

These included what type of activities could occur there to promote tourism and recreation, how the natural attributes of The Spit could be preserved and enhanced, what could enrich the character of public places, the various maritime functions that could be provided for and the ways in which movement to and from and throughout The Spit could be improved.

Regrettably, from Gecko’s perspective, the cruise terminal on Philip Park, which is public open space, was also included.  The discussion related to what issues and arrangements would arise if the cruise terminal went ahead and alternatively if it did not.

From these detailed discussion the consultants have produced an Options Paper which is now out for public consultation.

The Spit Master Plan Options Paper and the survey can be accessed from this link and Gecko urges all people interested in the future of The Spit to undertake the survey before it closes on 25th November.

The Spit Master Plan Options Paper is quite detailed and places the discussion into 6 Big Picture frames. These include:

  1. Promoting tourism and recreation;
  2. Growing a green peninsula;
  3. Marking places and cultural connections;
  4. Opening the gateway to the world;
  5. Connecting to the city
  6. Linking Experiences.

Within these frames each section of The Spit has a range of options of what can happen there. The sections include:

  • Top of the Spit, which has 11 options for Doug Jennings Park and Moondarra Spit, the Marine Stadium and the Seaway and surrounds.
  • Wavebreak Island has 7 options from leaving it natural to including some visitor/tourism facilities. Importantly for Curlew Island to the south of Wavebreak, the suggestion is that this be recognised as a land area to enable management of the many migratory shore birds that roost and feed there each year after their long journey from Asia.
  • Federation Walk Coastal Reserve has 10 options including a wetland boardwalk, ocean path way and dune restoration, littoral rainforest restoration, and an environment centre. Most of these have merit, but more detail is required.
  • Muriel Henchman Park on the western side of The Spit is a sadly neglected park used to launch boats into the Broadwater. The 7 options here are a great improvement on the current amenity and safety of this small park.
  • Village Centre consists of the area of the western side from the northern border of SeaWorld to the Government Maritime Regional Office and has 14 options including a board walk, a fisherman’s wharf, an Indigenous cultural centre, super yacht and boutique cruise ship berths, mixed shopping development , and on the east side indoor sport and recreation facilities. This area will rely on developers being interested in investing in this area with some Government support.
  • Philip Park on the eastern side to the north of Sheraton Mirage is presented with options with a cruise terminal (7) and without (5). The former seeks to enable terminal infrastructure while retaining some connectivity for pedestrians moving along the ocean way. The latter seeks to enhance the natural attributes of the park while improving access to the beach.
  • Southern Gateway has 10 options which include an improved Southport Yacht club facilities, enhanced parklands on both the eastern and western sides and some type of entrance statement.

On the weekend of 8th and 9th December the community and business representatives will meet once again to discuss these options in detail. From this will come a single Master Plan option.

No doubt there will be compromises, but Gecko will be in there to ensure that the natural assets that we have fought so hard to protect are retained and sustained for current and future generations.