DEVELOPER FLOATS AMBITIOUS BROADWATER CASINO PLAN

Written on the 27 July 2012

DEVELOPER FLOATS AMBITIOUS BROADWATER CASINO PLAN

A SINGAPORE developer has proposed to build a $4.9 billion cruise ship terminal and casino on Wavebreak Island in the Broadwater.

The ambitious project, by Singapore-based Sembawang Group, was outlined prior to any discussion with the Gold Coast City Council or the State Government which manages the uninhabited Wavebreak Island as Crown land.

But Sembawang Group CEO Richard Grosvenor claims the development could be ready for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast if all regulatory approvals are granted quickly.

The proposal includes a cruise ship terminal capable of taking ships to 300m in length and a fishermen's wharf-style harbour utilising the existing Wavebreak Island.

The remainder of the development, including the casino, will be built on reclaimed land between the island and mainland. It will include a 400-berth marina with space for 12 super yachts, residential development and a 1500-room hotel.

The enlarged island would be linked to the mainland by a bridge off the end of Brisbane Road at Biggera Waters, according to drawings of the proposal circulated today.

Grosvenor says the plans were first drawn about 10 years old but have never been shown publicly or to any level of government.

He said at today’s unveiling of the proposal that he hoped to meet Mayor Tom Tate for the first time on Friday afternoon to discuss the proposal. But it could not be confirmed if that meeting went ahead.

Gold Coast Business News sought comment from Tate on the Sembawang plans, but the mayor’s office did not respond.

Grosvenor says he is unworried that the development proposal may have caught council by surprise.

“We will be firstly seeking the public’s approval, and if that is positive, then we will move forward with the process with government,” says Grosvenor.

“Without the public’s support, it is not worth pursuing – it has to be something that is positive for the community and Australia.”

Save Our Spit Alliance (SOSA) vice president Kate Mathews says the Wavebreak Isalnd development is inappropriate for such an environmentally fragile area.

“This is an imposition of a city-scale development within the Broadwater. We are absolutely opposed to it,” she says.

Studies have indicated it could cost $18 million annually to keep the broadwater navigable to large cruise liners at a maximum length of 268 metres.

The LNP Member for Broadwater Verity Barton says she wants to see more detail of the proposal and gauge community sentiment, before forming an opinion.

“I am not opposed to a cruise ship terminal, in principal, but it has to be in the right location, and the figures have to stack up," says Barton.

Tate has promised to deliver a cruise ship terminal for the Gold Coast in his first term as mayor and this week made a shortlist of three possible locations, from an initial list of five. Wavebreak Island was among the possible sites named by the mayor.

Tate also wants more casinos in the city. His preferred site is at the Council’s Evandale Precinct to help fund an adjacent Cultural Centre.

Grosvenor says the Sembawang proposal for Wavebreak Island is unviable without a casino.

Sembawang is part of the Punj Lloyd group of companies and has produced a slew of major projects in a number of countries. It built Singapore’s first centralised multi-utility port facility, the Jumeirah Island Villas at Dubai, the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort at Singapore and the Ella Bay Integrated Resort at Cairns.

Grosvenor says the Wavebreak Island project would create 18,000 jobs and bring an additional 264,500 visitors to the Gold Coast by 2018. He estimates it will attract 900,000 visitors by 2030.

He says the project will revitalise the Gold Coast.

“It is going to be the resurrection of the Gold Coast after being neglected for all these years,” says Grosvenor.

Sembawang will fund the project itself and will not seek money from any level of government.


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