Over 2,000 people gathered on the Gold Coast yesterday, opposing the announcement of a controversial multi-billion dollar development on the Broadwater that has been supported by Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry.
The official announcement was made last Friday by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Gold Coast City Council Mayor Tom Tate, indicating that a cruise terminal will be part of the first stage of the Broadwater Marine Project that sees the eastern side of The Spit remain untouched.
Three sites on the western side of The Spit including; Doug Jennings Park, Wavebreak Island and the north-western side of the peninsula are all under consideration.
Carnival Australia welcomed the announcement that is expected to see the cruise terminal sold back to the Gold Coast by the successful consortium for AUD$1 allowing City Hall to control the facility.
“Cruise ship visits and the Gold Coast, as a major tourist destination for local and international travellers, represent a natural combination that could give local tourism activity a much needed boost,” Ms Sherry said.
Ms Sherry said that Carnival Australia looked forward to working with the Queensland Government and Gold Coast City Council in the development of the cruise ship terminal aspect of the Broadwater Marine Project.
“We have always said that if the facilities are there the cruise ships will come and we clearly welcome this initiative to make the Gold Coast part of cruising’s overall economic success,” Ms Sherry said.
AUD$166 million was contributed to the Queensland economy alone in 2010-2011 with this figure forecast to increase to AUD$341 million by 2019-2020.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that the project will also have to include public open space and parklands with Mr Seeney indicating that the market would determine what type of development is built.
The public-private partnership will see the Broadwater transformed into an entertainment playground that may include; six-star hotels, a casino and residential development.
Senior Coalition leaders including Mr Seeney, were reportedly previously opposed to any development of a cruise terminal according to Gaven MP Alex Douglas who spoke at the Save Our Spit rally yesterday.
“John-Paul Langbroek, Lawrence Springborg, have all spoken in opposition to exactly this type of proposal before,” Dr Douglas told the crowd.
“All of the party believe the same thing – there seems to be a lack of understanding, possibly of people who ought to know better.”
Dr Douglas has reportedly labelled the project “stupid and risky” and claims that thousands of canal front homes will be placed at risk by the 4.5 metres of dredging required for the development.
Former Gold Coast councillor Susie Douglas, praised her husband and told the Gold Coast Bulletin that she will consider running for mayor again on the issue.
“I think people are feeling very, very disappointed in this decision and I think it will backfire on everybody who has voted in favour of this,” Ms Douglas said.
Time will tell if the community opposition has had an effect on the announcement with the resolution now in the hands of the State Government.