CRUISE TERMINAL HOPES STILL FLOATING AS RESORT PLAN APPLAUDED
6 August 2015, Written by Jenna Rathbone
BUSINESS leaders have thrown their support behind ASF Consortium's proposed integrated tourism resort and casino, saying the $2 billion project will boost the city's reputation as a place to do business.
Ray White Surfers Paradise CEO Andrew Bell says while a cruise terminal should still be on the cards, the integrated resort will help forge the Gold Coast as a leading destination.
"I think we have to accept that if we don't keep growing our city, then our city will be left behind as other cities grow and develop their regions," says Bell.
"It is a very competitive world now for the tourist dollar and as a city we just need to have some iconic development work and this is certainly of that nature."
The Labor government has given AFS its blessing to develop the project on a vacant 5ha site south of Sea World and north of the fisherman's co-operative.
Details of the development are yet to be finalised with ASF expected to present its initial proposal in the first quarter of 2016.
Bell says like the initial proposal, there will be a flow-on effect of benefits from great entertainment facilities to employment and tourism.
He says it indicates that the city is once again open for business, a reputation that was temporarily squashed when Labor scrapped the cruise terminal project after being elected to govern.
"What happened in that situation was that Labor didn't expect for a minute that they would get into power and made whatever statements because there was no follow through effectively," says Bell.
"There is a tendency to go with the noisy minority and that is probably what happened in that initial proposal. The government, without much thought or consideration, simply said 'we won't back it' and then all of a sudden they found themselves in power and asked themselves 'where do we go from here?'
"If they had given it more consideration then they would have seen all of the benefits it would have provided."
Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce President Peter Yared agrees with Bell and says when the Palaszczuk Government sunk the cruise ship terminal project, it injected fear into the business community.
"By giving the green light to the resort, it shows that the government is serious about creating jobs, stimulating economic growth and providing opportunities for business," says Yared.
"The chamber applauds the Labor government on its decision to progress plans for this exciting project and hopes this open minded and positive momentum continues with the 'tick of approval' for more developments across the city."
Yared adds that if the city wants to grow, prosper and be a world-leading destination, it must embrace projects like ASF's and invest in developments and assets that move the city forward.
"If it doesn't do this, the Gold Coast will remain at a standstill. The city is yet to reach its full potential, but this development will assist in forging the Gold Coast ahead as the Australian tourism capital."
Head of Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint Craig Davidson says it is about time The Spit is transformed.
"I'm positive about the project and I think the development of The Spit is a key challenge for the Gold Coast and I think any developments that are growing the tourism opportunity and job opportunities should be received warmly," says Davidson.
"The Spit is an iconic and very unique part of the Gold Coast and I think the opportunity to continue to develop it is really important.
"The only issue is that it needs to be supported by infrastructure development in and around it including transport and traffic issues."
Bell, Yared and Davidson agree that a cruise ship terminal should still resurface.
"This (the cruise industry) is now the fastest growing part of the tourism industry and we are just going to have boats bypass us we are going to have millions of dollars bypassing us continuously if we don't have a cruise terminal," says Bell.
"I can't for the life of me understand why there are objections to it."
Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.Connect via: Twitter