The Expression of Interest (EOI) for the construction of the cruise ship terminal and hotels, condominiums, retail, entertainment and a casino was released on 23rd November. This document invites developers to present their proposals for the Broadwater Marine Project to the State Government for consideration. The development- at- all-costs mentality rules this State and the needs of the population of the Gold Coast for a naturally beautiful open space counts for nothing.
Action: When you have read this article it is essential that you all contact your State Member of Parliament and your Councillors and tell them in no uncertain terms that we do not want the Broadwater Marine Project.
A highly successful public rally of 3000 people, opposing the proposals, was held on November 4th and the Government and the Council predictably dismissed the rally as the voice of “rent a crowd”, though it never ceases to amaze us as to where they think it is possible to rent a crowd. The rights of citizens to voice their opinion was discounted by the Mayor who it appears only wants to listen to voices that agree with him. The Mayor also complained that he would not attend an ‘undemocratic’ (sic) rally since we had advised that he would not be invited to speak unless he was opposed to the terminal. Our response to that is that the Mayor has ample opportunities to use media, council communication outlets and social media to get his views heard. However the general public have few and we are not about to spend lots of volunteer time and energy organising for the Mayor to pronounce his views again.
The Broadwater Marine Project (BMP) is “a joint initiative of the Queensland State Government and Gold Coast City Council that, in partnership with the private sector, could deliver what could be the largest piece of integrated tourism infrastructure developed in Queensland’s history. The world class project would include delivery of a cruise ship terminal on State Government-owned land on the Spit or on Wave Break Island in the Broadwater. In addition to the terminal, the multi –billion dollar integrated tourism facility could include hotels, a casino, super yacht facility, retail development restaurants, entertainment and hospitality venues, commercial and resident development, significant open community space and recreation facilities”. www.broadwatermarineproject.com.au
Much of the EOI is about the legal conditions associated with the presentation of proposals, but there are many enlightening, if dismaying aspects to this document. The map of the Broadwater demonstrates the area considered as the development zone and Gecko was distressed to see that it encompasses:-
The sites for development total 81.9 hectares
The sites include
37 ha Wave break Island – Reserve
29.62ha Doug Jennings Park – Reserve
8.81ha boating facilities area ( Marine Stadium) – Reserve
Three lots of 4.23ha, .693ha, .546ha Land south of Sea World- unallocated State Land.
In addition to “stealing” 75ha of public land, which our community enjoys, the EOI suggests that it will be fine for the developer to reclaim more land by dredging and can even build out over the waters!
While this is going on the EOI states that the development must “respect the environmental qualities of the Broadwater and “manage.. potential environmental impacts”. In addition the Government suggests that the development protects RAMSAR migratory bird site values through offsets. Where else is there any land/water areas on the Gold Coast that can be offset? It does not exist! Perhaps the offsets are the additional land pumped up from a severely damaged marine environment.
The 75 ha of public open space losses will be offset with nice manicured parklands “fringing waterfront land” where there will be a “blurring of public and private open space ….. to create a sense of community engagement and energy. It does not occur to the politicians that we like it natural -the way it is and do not want endless repetitions of Southbank.
There are concessions, the development must provide “improved diver access to the Seaway” when the cruise liners are not coming or going and it must preserve “South Stradbroke Island as a nationally important surf break”. Obviously these measures are designed to stop the opposition from the surfing fraternity and the divers.
Gecko has never had a problem with the development of the lands south of Sea World, but we take great exception to development of reserves and have fought for 9 years to have Doug Jennings Park, and the Marine Stadium declared reserves for public open space, recreation and conservation, but to no avail! Land tenure could be a long term lease (99 years?) at a rent to be negotiated.
Dredging: “the proponent’s must undertake their own inquiries in relation to the extent and cost of required dredging” though the Council (that is us ratepayers) are paying for navigational simulation to determine any “operational restrictions” to entry and departure of cruise ships from the “port”.
The cruise ship terminal: note that this is well down on the priorities after the huge public land grab. “Proponents need to undertake their own investigation in relation to the commercial viability of a cruise ship terminal in the Broadwater, including the response of existing cruise ship operators to such a proposal.”
The casino: which is supposed to pay for all this dredging ($6 million per year for maintenance) is not a given. The EOI states “ proponents should be aware that the State makes no representation as to whether such a proposal would be acceptable to the State or as to whether the Proponent could obtain the grant of a casino license or other required State approvals.” We understand that Mr Packer is busy trying to get a second casino in Brisbane. Even if we wanted more casinos, with all the social problems they bring, the question must be asked how many casinos can our State population support or are we to be inundated with wealthy gamblers from overseas who choose Queensland.
Transport issues: both The Spit, with its one way in and out road, and the roads around Wavebreak Island are ill equipped to cope with the enormous increases in traffic generated by this proposal and the statement in the EOI that “considerable upgrades of the road network may be required” would have to be the understatement of the decade.
There is no doubt that this proposal would generate jobs, however it must be remembered that all this construction activity (with the exception of the shipping terminal), could happen anywhere in the city that our planning scheme allows. Why will more of the same “rescue” our tourism industry which is suffering more from the high Australian dollar and the global financial mess than lack of places to stay and recreate?
There is only one Broadwater and once it is covered in concrete it is gone forever. In 1979 there was a similar proposal for the north bank of the Currumbin Estuary, which was defeated by people power. Currumbin Estuary provides an essential and beautiful recreation area for the population. Who today would want Currumbin Estuary covered in concrete? Please let your local Member of Parliament know that you do not want the Broadwater Marine Project to go ahead.