Over the past 12 months the Spit Master Plan process has continued with both workshops for stakeholder groups and public consultation to finally produce a draft Master Plan, which can be seen here https://haveyoursay.dsdmip.qld.gov.au/the-spit . Comments on the draft are now with the consultants and the final plan should be released in the next few months.
Generally Gecko members are pleased with the Plan which provides for all of the public open space to be retained and enhance with either native planting and, where appropriate basic public facilities.
All of the following features will have to be paid for over an extended time period as this beautiful place is 8 times the size of Southbank.
Gecko will continue to lobby for information on the legislation needed to protect The Spit, the governance mechanisms to manage it, the ongoing funding needed and resolution of the terms of leases so that we do not have any more 99 year leases in the commercial sector.
Doug Jennings Park will be available for picnics or events and features more trees, bbq’s, picnic tables and an adventure playground for children. The kiosk will be upgraded and a signature tower structure will be constructed that can guide in boats at sea as well as provide a viewing platform for visitors. Federation Walk will be enhanced with more planting and interpretative signage as well as side paths to view the ocean.
Wavebreak Island is being considered for low impact camping as well as day tripper facilities and a bird hide to view the migratory birds to Curlew Island. Curlew Island will finally get the protection it deserves as it is legally recognised as land.
Other features include improved water quality in the Marine Stadium with an inlet pipe through Moondarewa Spit, a full length boardwalk along the western shore and much improved configuration of Muriel Henchman Park for the boaties.
The southern section has much potential for commercial development as well as the site for an Aboriginal Cultural centre, a maritime museum, and fisherman’s wharf to attract tourists in addition to shops and food outlets.
The three story-height limit continues to be strongly supported by the government.
Regrettably the potential for the cruise terminal in Philip Park is still present despite strong community opposition. The alternative plans for Phillip Park without the terminal are attractive and user friendly for families.
Gecko will continue to oppose the cruise terminal.
The Mayor has continued to insist that the cruise terminal is considered as part of the Spit Master Plan process and even rejected a much improved plan developed at the workshop should the worst occur and it goes ahead. It appears the Mayor is still wasting ratepayer funds by paying the wages of Council officers to investigate the project and Gecko will be checking out the Budget to see what funds are allocated for this pipedream. The feasibility study stated clearly that there would be no return on investment for 30 years. That fact, plus the unreliability of weather makes an ocean side terminal very impractical and unnecessary now work has started on the Luggage Point terminal only 1 hour away from the Gold Coast.
Work is continuing on an entrance statement to welcome all to The Spit and the essential matter of good public transport past SeaWorld has yet to be resolved, though all support a bus to the Seaway.
Although the light rail to SeaWorld still features in the Gold Coast Transport Strategy it is unlikely to ever be built and cheaper, more environmentally friendly alternatives should be considered.