Maximising the marine industry

Written on the 30 November -1

Members of the marine industry call for a waterways authority

MEMBERS of the Gold Coast marine industry have called for a single overarching body - a waterways authority - to manage the use and development of our marine assets.

The call was made at a gathering of developers, members and industry representatives at a recent UDIA seminar.

Gold Coast City Marina's Jeff Leigh-Smith and Dean Leigh-Smith, Gold Coast Marine Industry Association president Charles Dickson and Boating Industry Association of Queensland president Barry Jenkins all spoke about planning for a sustainable future for the local marine industry.

T

he Leigh-Smiths outlined details of their plans for the development of The Broadwater and The Spit, including the contentious proposal for a marine stadium.

"We have to do something," said Dean Leigh-Smith, showing visuals of The Broadwater charting its history from the 1930s to today.

"Currently, there's silting and stagnant water preventing superyacht and cruiser access to the area. If we don't (do something), we'll all have to get out of boating and start selling camels," he said.

Jeff Leigh-Smith, who has been in the marine business for 43 years, founding Runaway Bay Marina and the Gold Coast City Marina at Coomera, said the Gold Coast had survived and prospered as a result of development.

"We are dependent on innovation, tourism and progress. This is vital for the survival of the marine industry and I believe the majority of the public want it."

He said The Broadwater and The Spit were at the mercy of tidal and climatic conditions and had been dotted with treacherous sand bars since the ' 80s.

"We have the opportunity to position the Gold Coast as the Fort Lauderdale of the South Pacific or of the Southern Hemisphere. We just need to get moving or we'll miss out," he said.

He said The Broadwater Masterplan's benefits included:

100 hectares of new parkland. ;

Creation of spaces that can be used for picnics, lunch, shopping, entertainment. Could even incorporate a 3000-seat amphitheatre for performances

The marina would be a safe haven from floods, tidal surge, storms and cyclones;

Purpose-designed Spit Marina;

Marina development north of Seaworld to incorporate three hectares of land development and 12 hectares of recreational lake with protected, clean swimming lagoon;

Customs, Water Police, ferries, game boats, the seafood industry, trawlers, tourism, diving, fishing, boating, Olympic sailing, surfriders club house, Surf Life Saving - all in one place so people know where to find them;

Retail centre for all aspects of marine industry: sales, refit, repairs, equipment
and training

Charles Dickson said that with investment in manufacturing, facilities, technology, people and exports, the local marine industry would flourish.

"The Gold Coast Marine Industry Association aimed to achieve international recognition as a centre for excellence by 2012 and we made all the milestones by 2005 in terms of these criteria," he said.

He said the marine industry was responsible for exports worth $110m in 2002, $200m in 2005 and more than $300m this year.

"That's more than Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi, yet the marine industry manages this with no government subsidies - just investment and sales from the industry itself," he said.

Mr Dickson predicted that by 2015, exports would exceed the $1 billion mark.

He said challenges facing the local marine industry include the length of time it takes to get a marina berth (12 to 18 months) and the depth of waterways due to inadequate dredging.


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