Image: Gold Coast Bulletin
On 21 and 22 July the second planning workshop for the Master Plan was held at SeaWorld resort with approximately 80 people present for the ‘enquiry by design’ phase.
This means that each table would discuss their topic which would then be translated onto the map of the Spit in visual form.
There were 8 tables with topics such as having fun at the point, greening the Spit, commercial opportunities, all forms of getting around, promoting tourism, the cruise terminal, and participants were free to choose the table at which they wanted to work.
Following the working stage we were taken to each table and given a brief run down about the ideas put forward.
It was noteworthy that, apart from the table discussion on the off-shore cruise terminal. there was good consensus and some innovative ideas.
The commercial opportunities table appeared to have some members who wanted to find a way to increase the height of the buildings above the decreed 3 storeys, but the remaining ideas were about how to make this area south of SeaWorld attractive and interesting to visitors as well as commercially viable. From these 8 designs the consultants now have the task of synthesizing these ideas and coming up with two or three options for a Master Plan by October.
These options will go on public display so that everyone can have a say.
It was agreed at that meeting to support Gecko’s request to Government to extend the southern boundary of Moreton Bay Marine Park south to level with the end of Moondewara spit to better protect the migratory birds and the 500 marine species in the Seaway, without interfering with the usual Broadwater activities.
Each group was also requested to provide a short paragraph about their group.
Over recent weeks there has been some efforts by malcontents to challenge the Master Planning process by claiming that it was being directed by Government in Brisbane rather than Gold Coast locals. Given that 90% of the people involved in the planning process are Gold Coasters this is unfounded.
The Minister for Planning, Cameron Dick answered these criticisms in an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin on 19th August and reiterated that the public open space north of SeaWorld would remain and that a proposed cruise terminal will not be assessed by Government until the completion of the Master Plan.
The land causing debate between all walks of life on the Gold Coast: The Spit.
(A Q&A with Paul Weston, Gold Coast Bulletin August 19, 2018)
State Development Minister Cameron Dick tells reporter Paul Weston, why the Government had to take a stand on The Spit, and how to reach consensus between greens and developers during the most extensive master planning process ever staged on the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Bulletin: You’ve had pop-up sessions for the public to offer input, workshops where stakeholders are involved. Are you concerned there could be either an environmental or developer bias and confident that you are going to hit a middle ground here of opinion?
Cameron Dick: Yes, I’m confident that we can, that we can work through those issues. We’re of course aligning with the Gold Coast City Plan which provides limits in relation to the height of development.
The Premier made it clear at the election that that would be our commitment. We would ensure that part of The Spit north of Sea World would be preserved as public space.
Gold Coast Bulletin: Do you think you should have opened up the entire Spit, including the northern section, and say, “OK, let’s just look at the entire area, let’s look at the three-storey height limit, let’s just open up everything to complete debate there”?
Cameron Dick: No, because I think there’s very significant support in the community … There were very strong views expressed in February and March this year that that part of The Spit should be preserved. I genuinely believe that’s the consensus of the community.
In fact I’ve stood right in that middle point there — I’ve gone on the oceanside there.
You look south and see the great urban development of the Gold Coast and the great economic engine that is for the Coast particularly for tourism.
Then you look north at this beautiful pristine land and you see that — that’s the middle point.
I think you can do both. You can do sustainable development south of Sea World but north of that the community wants that kept for community purposes. I think that balance is right.
Gold Coast Bulletin: Can we talk technicalities — how does this process of the masterplan impact on the council’s proposed cruise ship terminal in the sense that could it reach a conclusion that rules out a development like that in Philip Park?
Cameron Dick: What I’ve said previously and consistently, the State Government neither supports or opposes the cruise ship terminal.
The Co-ordinator General has said he would not consider making the cruise ship terminal a designated project until after The Spit master planning process was completed.
But what the masterplan is quite properly considering is the transport infrastructure and other planning implications should a cruise ship terminal proceed.
We’re looking at all the implications of a cruise ship terminal as part of the masterplan process.
When we go out to the community with our master planning options, they will all be incorporated in our various options.
Another important point to make is we’re not trying to run this from Brisbane.
I have no interest in wanting to run it. The truth of the matter is it’s State land. We have to lead the project.
Gold Coast Bulletin: How do you feel about the criticism that the Government is Brisbane-centric in its view?
Cameron Dick: Look, I think we’re trying all to work together for a future for the Gold Coast.
Our Government wants to play a critical role in that. But you know the Gold Coast is Queensland’s next world city.
The Commonwealth Games demonstrated that, not just a great international event but the best Commonwealth Games ever.
The Gold Coast is transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, and we’re all looking at how we can support the development and growth of the Gold Coast as an international city.
Gold Coast Bulletin:
So the city elders who are saying the Government should keep out of it, you’re saying basically — well, we’ve got Crown land there and we have to work out the best way the community wants to use that land?
Yes, that’s right. We can’t avoid our responsibilities as a government because it is State land. That’s why we’re running this long process of engagement.
It’s not us coming with our idea and saying this is it, this is what we see the future of The Spit being.
I personally don’t have a predetermined view other than the framework that’s been set by the Premier and supported by the Government. We’re very open minded about the future.
Gold Coast Bulletin:
How do you react to the critics who say the process is all about appeasing the greens which will ensure that Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will get to keep her marginal Brisbane seat up there?
Cameron Dick: Oh, look I don’t think that’s fair criticism. We are working with a very broad range of groups on the Coast, that includes business, it includes indigenous leaders, it includes environmental groups, it can involve community organisations and average everyday Gold Coasters.
We are not listening to any one voice over another. We listen to all voices. We’re genuinely listening and engaged.
Gecko wishes that the media and others would stop referring to conservationists and environmentalists as The Greens.
Gecko is not and never has been part of The Greens political party. We do take political action, but we are non-party political.
That said it is good to see the Minister reiterating the framework and possible outcomes for the Spit Master Plan so that everyone can understand this is largely community run.
Anyone wanting to read in more detail what has gone on so far in the community planning process can do so at www.qld.gov.au/southport-spit