Residents mobilise to save Southport Spit
THE community-owned Southport Spit on the Gold Coast is a battleground at the start of 2017.
Protest groups, which have already seen off plans for a cruise terminal, are working together to protect The Spit from intensive high-rise development.
Save Our Spit, Save Our Broadwater and The Main Beach Association (MBA) are among the groups whose members - many of them retired - have been busy handing out information flyers during the school holiday period.
In their sights is the Chinese-owned ASF Consortium proposal to build on a five-hectare site between Seaworld and the Fishermen's Co-op.
The $3 billion proposal includes five high-rise towers - a residential tower between 20 and 45 storeys, a casino, three hotels, conference facilities, a waterfront plaza and retail precinct. MBA supports the hotel, tourism and recreational components of the concept.
Association secretary Sue Donovan says the Gold Coast City Council town plan imposes a three-storey limit on The Spit.
"From the Reachtel survey commissioned by MBA and Save Our Broadwater, we know that 59% (of respondents) are opposed to high-rise on The Spit," she said.
"We're not against development. We'd love to see another fabulous hotel like the Sheraton or Palazzo Versace. They are labour-intensive and provide jobs.
"ASF is claiming to create 10,000 new jobs - these claims are totally far-fetched. The sad part is, people read that figure and believe it."
Sue says the protest groups are preparing for "a big fight", with the campaign seeking donations and aiming to target electorates of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham.
She said traffic issues, the loss of valuable public recreational space at The Spit and the lack of demand for a second casino on the Gold Coast were also factors that led her to oppose the ASF plan.
When the plan was released in September last year, ASF proposed to link The Spit to Southport with a bridge to ease traffic congestion.
The consortium was earlier forced to scrap a plan to build a cruise ship terminal and casino/resort on the Southport Broadwater when environmentalists and the State Government opposed the concept.
Ms Palaszczuk and Dr Lynham promised in December that The Spit's beach and parkland would be "protected forever and given a family friendly make-over".
Dr Lynham said the stretch of beaches and green space along the sandy Spit was a natural playground for families.