COAST GEARS UP FOR NEXT ROUND OF GROWTH
Written on the 21 March 2016 by Nick Nichols
THE Gold Coast is gearing up for its next phase of growth after re-elected Mayor Tom Tate declared a mandate to boost the city's infrastructure with a cruise ship terminal and an expanded light rail network.
However, the pro-development mayor, who secured another four-year term with a big increase in his primary vote, is taking a conciliatory tone by arguing that the new council must work together to capitalise on the momentum leading up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Tate almost doubled his primary vote to 64 per cent, taking it just short of the 65 per cent he achieved after preferences when elected in 2012.
"It speaks loudly for the majority who are supportive of the vision I have for the city," Tate says.
Tate's vote has improved despite a number of protests staged during his term, particularly against high-profile projects such as a Broadwater cruise ship terminal and, more recently, the twin-tower redevelopment of Mariner's Cove by Sunland Group (ASX:SDG).
The fate of the Sunland development remains in the hands of the newly elected council.
After meeting with council CEO Dale Dickson today to work through the draft city budget, Tate played down any hint of divisiveness by pledging to work with the new council, including six newcomers, to bring big projects for the Gold Coast to fruition.
"It's our time to shine," Tate says.
"We are at the tipping point and only as a team can we deliver the best outcome for our city. I don't think we should waste a minute ego pandering or in-fighting.
"Everyone has to be on the journey together. It doesn't matter if you voted for me or not, I'll do what's best for the city that we all love.
"I think it's a great mix of councillors coming through and we'll achieve great things for our city."
Tate says he doesn't plan to play the mandate card too often when approaching federal and state funding for projects. He says the Gold Coast needs to establish strong economic and business case for each project.
Among the top priorities is to pursue stage three of the Gold Coast light rail to link with Coolangatta Airport and a new city ferry service.
Tate's proposal for an offshore cruise terminal is still on the agenda, although Tate is adamant that it has to pass a rigorous environmental assessment.
"With the cruise ship terminal, the first issue is whether it's doable and that the environmental impact boxes are ticked. Until that's done, it doesn't matter if you have a mandate, I will be the first one to vote it down."
Meanwhile, Tate says a double-dissolution election should not affect potential federal funding for Gold Coast projects.
"This is the biggest regional city in Australia and no matter what side of politics at the federal level, they recognise that," he says.
Tate says a new commuter ferry service will be a relatively low-cost project that will deliver benefits in terms of easing traffic congestion during major events.
"The (Gold Coast) Waterways Authority is on board and it will be wonderful to have a ferry service, particularly for an event city like the Gold Coast," he says.
Author: Nick Nichols