Could the future of The Spit be settled at last?

A Gold Coast landmark and political hot potato for decades, are we finally nearing consensus on the future of The Spit?

Feb 19, 2020, updated Feb 19, 2020
An artist's impression of possible future development at The Spit. (Photo: State Government)

An artist's impression of possible future development at The Spit. (Photo: State Government)

For a sandy peninsula, moulded by waves after Stradbroke Island was cleaved in two over a century ago, The Spit certainly attracts a lot of attention.

The surrounding Gold Coast swampland has been transformed into canal estates, covered by glittering high-rises, but this land between Main Beach and the Broadwater has never been fully urbanised – despite the efforts of developers.

After boating facilities were established, The Spit in the 1960s became home to Marineland, now Sea World. Some hotels and shops followed, however other projects were met with protests as locals sought to protect the environment and their way of life. These contentious projects included an “amusement oasis” to house 8000 people with their own golf course, a cruise ship terminal and, more recently, a $3 billion integrated casino and resort development extending onto nearby islands.

Now, more than a century after The Spit was formed, there seems to be a consensus, at least among the major political parties, over its future. Community petitions continue to trickle into parliament but taking politics out of the debate has provided some certainty for those with an interest in the area.

The Palaszczuk government has a masterplan that it says will protect certain areas, such as Wave Break and Curlew Islands, while also allowing for three mixed-use developments forming a Village Centre. The nature of that development remains to be seen.

“The Spit is a jewel in the crown of the Gold Coast,” State Development Minister Cameron Dick told parliament.

“The Palaszczuk Labor government is determined to make it shine for all Queenslanders. It is a part of Queensland that truly has something for everyone.”

The government called tenders for early works on The Spit before a parliamentary committee had considered the special legislation to facilitate the masterplan. Fortunately, the committee had a positive view, and the government this week supported its few recommendations.

“Our government is committed to an efficient planning process and to working with peak bodies and the community to anticipate needs, maximise our strengths and manage the challenges we face,” Dick said.

“The bill not only supports Queensland landowners; it delivers important operational amendments required to implement the Spit Master Plan, preserving this very special and unique part of Queensland for future generations to enjoy.”

The Liberal National Party, and local member John-Paul Langbroek, have no major objections, and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate sees a great opportunity for the city.

“I’m focussed on our contribution – the upgrades to Sundale bridge and Waterways Drive are well under way,” Tate said.

“We are partnering with the State and the yacht club on the superyacht facility and our long-term recycled water release project is also under construction. The city (council) is well on track to delivering for the Gold Coast when it comes to our contribution at The Spit.”

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