NEW OFFSHORE CRUISE TERMINAL BID FOR COAST

Written on the 22 February 2016 by Nick Nichols

NEW OFFSHORE CRUISE TERMINAL BID FOR COAST

A MASSIVE jetty stretching out half a nautical mile off The Spit has been flagged by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate as the answer to the Gold Coast's stalled vision for a cruise ship terminal.

The move has been prompted by ongoing interest in the Gold Coast as a lucrative destination by major cruise operators, despite the Palaszczuk Government last year putting an end to the $7 billion Broadwater proposal by the Chinese-backed ASF Consortium.

"The conversation has never stopped for the last four years," says Tate. "It makes business sense to (the industry)."

Tate this morning revealed his Plan B for the terminal, a $70 million facility similar to those in Caribbean and Pacific islands.

The pylon cruise-terminal jetty will stretch almost twice as far as the sand bypass jetty at The Spit, with funding for the project expected to come from the council, state government and potentially the private sector.

"We are happy to own and operate it, but if private enterprise wants to inject money into it it's an option we will investigate," says Tate.

The terminal, which will incorporate a purpose-built caisson breakwater and offer a berthing depth of 16 metres, is earmarked for construction close to the southern end of Sea World. It is expected to have the capacity to take the largest cruise ships in the world.

Passengers will be transported from the end of the jetty by long buggies and is likely to be a point of embarkation for Gold Coast cruise travelers as well.

Tate estimates the facility could attract 140,000 extra visitors to the city a year and inject up to $30 million into the local economy.

The Palaszczuk Government has given a lukewarm reception to the proposal.

"The mayor has made us aware of the idea but a proposal has not been submitted for environmental or planning assessment," says a spokesman for Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk.

"The government remains committed to protecting The Spit, the Gold Coast's iconic surf breaks and beaches from unsustainable development."

Tate says the proposal will be subjected to an intensive environmental impact study. He also says the cruise terminal structure will be similar to the sand pumping jetty which has been operating for 25 years without affecting the surf or the environment.

"We must protect our city's greatest asset, our beaches," he says.

Tate says the facility, which could have a lifespan of 50 years, will be a port of call stop for the cruise industry with no refueling or waste disposal facilities available.

"We'll leave that up to Brisbane," he says.

Tate has flagged the proposal ahead of the March 19 council elections, adding that the main player in the debate now is the Gold Coast electorate.

ASF Consortium's early polling showed 60 per cent of Gold Coasters supported a cruise terminal for the Broadwater.

"We need to broaden our economic base even further with cruise ship tourism, so all our eggs aren't in one basket," says Tate.

"Ultimately, this is about creating more local jobs, because I want Gold Coasters to have the opportunity to live, work and raise their family right here."

Tate says the proposal will not impact on city rate rises. He says it is a low-cost plan that will be funded by the visitors who disembark on the Gold Coast stopover.

"For the next term, my commitment is that rates on the Gold Coast should be tagged at inflation or less and this (project) will be included in this. I won't raise rates to pay for a CST, full-stop.

"Most importantly, it won't be all on the backs of ratepayers. We are seeking funding from other levels of government as well as private investment."

 


Author: Nick Nichols

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