Written on the 19 October 2016 by Nick Nichols


PERSISTENCE appears to be paying off for Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate in his push for a cruise ship terminal for the city.

After repeatedly hitting the brick wall with the Queensland Labor Government since it was elected in 2015, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is reported to now be willing to consider a cruise terminal for the tourism strip after a majority vote by the council this week supported the mayor's offshore proposal.

The change of heart follows a previously steely stand by Palaszczuk as recently as late last month that an expanded cruise terminal in Brisbane would cater for both markets.

Tate this morning welcomed Palaszczuk's softened stand which comes on the heels of the state government and city council agreeing to prepare a master plan for The Spit following controversy over two large-scale developments for the waterfront precinct.

This includes Sunland's planned $800 million redevelopment of Mariner's Cove, which the Brisbane-based Sunland Group (ASX:SDG) withdrew last month pending the outcome of the master plan.

The other is an integrated casino-resort to be developed by the ASF Consortium on government land south of Sea World. James Packer's Crown Entertainment (ASX:CWN) has been mooted as a potential operator of the proposed casino.

The Chinese-backed ASF Consortium was offered the option to develop the government site after the Palaszczuk government called a halt to its proposal for a Broadwater cruise terminal on Wave Break Island.

"I feel for ASF as they've been in the process for a number of years now," says Tate.

"A city like us wants to attract iconic tourism infrastructure and they can only wait so long. They may take their investment to another location and I wouldn't want to see that happen."

While Tate supports the proposed master plan for The Spit, he says greater certainty is needed for all stakeholders, and particularly the prospects of an ocean-side cruise terminal adjacent to Phillip Park.

The terminal would be accessed by an extended jetty off Main Beach with passengers ferried to and from ship to shore by shuttles.

"As far as I'm concerned it's about time we had some certainty," says Tate.

"I'd like the process to move along quicker.

"Now that we have narrowed it down to Phillip Park, I think it has crystallised people's thinking.

"The first thing is to get the environment impact statement done and then present it to the state government.

"We now have to do our homework without prejudicing (the project) in any way. Any solution we come up with is a balance between entering into the cruise ship market and protecting the environment."

Tate says the city council plans to proceed with the proposal through an amendment to the city plan before putting it to the state government for approval.

The city is spending $865,000 on a feasibility and environmental impact study which is likely to be released early next year.


Author: Nick Nichols





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