PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF FOR ASF AS CASINO-RESORT PLAN IS REBOOTED
Written on the 4 August 2015 by Nick Nichols
THERE isn't a cruise terminal in sight, but ASF Consortium is having another crack at developing an integrated tourism resort and casino on The Spit this time with the blessing of the Palaszczuk Government.
After spending millions trying to develop a cruise terminal and resort on wave Break Island, and getting rebuffed in the process, ASF Consortium says it is starting the process all over again in a bid to create a uniquely Gold Coast tourism experience to capture some of the 100 million new tourists coming out of Asia over the next decade.
The tourism drawcard, described by Gold Coast Tourism chairman Paul Donovan as a "game changer" for the city, will be located on a vacant 5ha site south of Sea World and north of the fisherman's co-operative.
Details of the development have yet to be fleshed out, although ASF is expected to present its initial proposal in the first quarter of 2016.
ASF has already spent more than $6 million on the cruise terminal plan, including extensive community consultation. It's about to go through the process again, possibly for another two years with the project expected to be delivered well after the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
"We don't want to rush this," says State Development Minister Anthony Lynham, who was on the Gold Coast this morning to make the announcement, along with ASF Group (ASX:AFA) chairman Min Yang (pictured right).
"The Broadwater and The Spit is a very important piece of real estate for the Gold Coast," Lynham says.
ASF's local project director Tim Poole admits he will be starting from scratch as ASF prepares for a new round of community consultation to shape the proposal.
"We do know what the community values the most and that will be a starting point for the design of this integrated resort development," he says.
"There's a lot of hard work still to go. This has to be world class and it has to be uniquely Gold Coast as well.
"We're targeting over 100 million new visitors out of Asia over the next 10 years. Competition is stiff all around the world. We want to build on what the Gold Coast has to offer and, as part of this great location, we are confident we can come up with something special."
Donovan sees it as "iconic game changing development" that will help drive the city's tourism future.
"We've talked about the jobs it will create, but moreover the important thing is it is going to put the Gold Coast on a platform where we need to be," says Donovan.
"We can't rely on natural attractions any more, and to have game changer like this will set us apart.
"We haven't realised our full potential yet and developments like this will allow us to really move towards where we should be."
Lynham, fresh from announcing the multi-billion redevelopment of Queen's Wharf in Brisbane, says the government has delivered on its election promise to protect Wavebreak Island and now wants to deliver on its promise to create jobs.
"I know that the Gold Coast has been waiting on this news, but it's been important to get this right," he says.
"ASF Consortium is the sole proponent for the integrated resort development process and we've been working hard to keep this process moving for the jobs and economic boost it will bring the Coast.
"The Palaszczuk Government appreciates the confidence that ASF Consortium has continued to show in Queensland's potential as a location for their proposed investment.
"I'm looking forward to seeing ASF's detailed proposal and what is has to offer the Gold Coast and Queensland."
Yang describes today's announcement as an "important milestone for the Gold Coast integrated resort".
"We confirm our commitment to deliver a world-class destination for the Gold Coast," she says.
"Gold coast is an internationally recognised brand already this integrated resort will be the newest centrepiece for this Australian tourism capital. The project will create thousands of jobs for the Gold Coast. "
Lynham says traffic issues expected from the new development will be part of ASF's brief to address. He also says the fishermen's co-operative, which has become a popular destination for locals buying seafood direct from trawlers, also will have an input into the proposal as part of the community consultation process.
Author: Nick Nichols