: Bilinga- North Kirra Cruise Terminal.
Dear Chris, Gail (President of SGC Chamber of Commerce) and Geoff
It is interesting to note that the reports in the Bulletin earlier in the week, supported by Connecting Southern Gold Coast (CSGC), had this project as:
1. Being a maritime facility offshore from Tugun; and
2. With passengers being taken into Tweed River for landing.
It would appear that the truth is that it will be an onshore facility at Bilinga-North Kirra with groynes and sea walls and the like and massive onshore infrastructure. This takes me back to the days of Ariadne in the 1970s when they wanted to build a boat harbour at Kirra! So, all that has happened is that the plan has moved north by 1.0 kilometre!
As the former inaugural GM of Connecting Southern Gold Coast Ltd (CSGC), and as a local resident of the SGC with family living in and owning property in Kirra, I would like to make some strategic comments, which I hope you find helpful.
1. The SGC’s value proposition for tourists is, according to Warren Young- GCC Chief Lifeguard, the “unadorned beauty of its beaches and foreshores.” The area in question is central to this and these words are mentioned on CSGC’s website.
2. The challenge for the SGC with its small 4-5k tourist rooms for let, is to attract tourists who want to stay and spend locally and enjoy a ‘green’ holiday by virtue to Australia’s Green Cauldron (Currumbin Valley; Tweed Valley: Mt Warning etc). It is my bet that most passengers will want to see the northern section of the Gold Coast for obvious reasons- so why not locate the GC Cruise Terminal up that end- where there is Light Rail!?;
3. The idea of increasing North Kirra-Bilinga as a transport hub is dangerous. There are already major issues to do with vehicular transport arising out of:
a. Mr Ell’s developments in Cobaki Lakes from which an additional 5.0-7.5k cars per day will flood the GC Hwy;
b. The planned massive growth of passenger movements through the GCA (up to 17 m pa by 2025 – 3x increase) leading to increased congestion on GC Hwy…the horror 80k cars per day will soon be met and local rat running will be back with us; and
c. The patent lack of any commitment to put heavy rail of light rail through to the GCA (Light Rail preferred by local business community)
4. People don’t understand or underestimate the narrowness of the isthmus of Qld land that lies between the GCA and the Ocean at that point and right through to Coolangatta and Point Danger and the current and projected lack of amenity for locals and vehicles because of that narrowness- traffic jams aplenty at Kirra on weekends and alternate road options are negligible;
5. Most importantly, the likely impediment to the SGC’s ‘green tourism’ because of the development on the northern end of one of the most iconic surf beaches in the World; the likely impact on sand build up to the south of it (exacerbating the iconic Kirra surf break problem) and the scarcity of sand for Tugun? (replay Kirra Groynes). I’ll bet ‘London to a brick’ that Mr Ell has not factored these complicated oceanic hydrological engineering issues into his “Plan” and hopes that the key element of SGC’s “green tourism”, namely World class surfing breaks (open to all tourists) will be ‘negotiated at the time”. Also they seem at odds with Mayor Tate’s plan to “fix” Kirra….now at what cost, given Mr Ells plan?
6. I also note the report today in GCB re comments from Midwood Report/Morris Project Management, which puts net new tourism spend pa at $5m, from such a facility, amongst other sobering comments about the paucity of economics of the crusie ship industry. Heaven’s above, the Cooly Rocks on Festival brings in 4 times this ($20m) in 10 just days!…by appealing to SGC’s natural attractions ie beaches and foreshores. Will Mr Ell not become a major sponsor of of an existing or new festival on the SGC?!. For the record the 5 big Festivals on SGC (Quik Pro; Cooly Rocks; Bleach; Swell; and Kirra Kite) bring in in excess of $40 million in net new tourism spend pa and do so in an environmentally-friendly and community-accepted and engaged manner. And they can bring in a lot more in future years!
7. If Mr Ell wants to engage ina public and private partnership in keeping with SGC ‘green’ tourism image, why does he not put up $200m for the Light Rail to GCA or $10-$15 m towards sinking a war ship 2 klms out to sea off Kirra –Point Danger (as is already being spoken about and researched by GCCC) or wave pools for land-based surf competitions etc etc . Green tourists have a 2-3 x better tourism yield than tourist ship passengers, I am told. Either or both of these initiatives will compliment, rather than denigrate, SGC’s ‘green’ tourism image and encourage more visitations to SGC on an environmentally-friendly basis.
8. SGC should stick to and develop its point of difference….and this does not include a Cruise Terminal in any shape or form.
When do we have our first community meeting??………….I’ll be first in the door….and will accept the community verdict, whatever it is. If we don’t get in early we’ll get another desalination plant!
Jim Wilson Mobile: 0415 645 121 Email: email@example.com
May 22, 2013 6:30 pm –
May 22, 2013 11:00 pm
May 24, 2013 –
May 26, 2013 (All Day)
May 24, 2013 7:30 pm –
May 24, 2013 11:00 pm