Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Australia’s newest, biggest and best Ocean Park is to be built on the Gold Coast.
The state government has released a blueprint to transform The Spit into a showcase and preserve it for future generations.
Almost 140 hectares of The Spit’s 201 hectares is set aside for park activities. This will rival the best parks in the world, including New York’s Central Park (340 hectares) and Hyde Park London (142 hectares).
“The open space areas on The Spit will be more than eight times the size of Brisbane’s South Bank parklands, 12 times the size of the public spaces in Barangaroo, Sydney, and two-and-a-half times the size of Mt Coot-tha’s Botanic Gardens,” the Premier said.
“And the Gold Coast Ocean Park has something none of them have – the Broadwater and the surf.
“Our plans will make this not just a jewel of the Gold Coast but for the entire state.”
The Spit blueprint breathes new life into a well-loved part of the Gold Coast with seven precincts that preserve and enhance the green space north of Sea World.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the rejuvenation of The Spit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“The Spit master plan has been designed by the community for the community,” Mr Dick said.
“The process has brought consensus to an iconic part of the Gold Coast that has seen its share of conflict.
“The draft plan we are releasing today provides a clear pathway to an even brighter future for this much-loved public asset.”
The new Ocean Park fulfils an election commitment and is the result of 18 months’ consultation with community groups and Gold Coast City Council.
Queenslanders provided more than 21,100 pieces of feedback, paid 17,600 visits to the project website, and over 2500 people attended consultation sessions to have their say on the future of The Spit.
The blueprint is being released for further discussion before a final plan is released in the coming months.
It divides The Spit into seven precincts:
Top of the Spit
Wave Break Island
Federation Walk coastal reserve
Muriel Henchman Park
New features include 4000 square metres set aside for a restored littoral rainforest, a light rail extension to Sea World, super yacht marina, improved cycle and walkways through the dunes – even a selfie tower for tourists to capture the best shots of the famous Gold Coast skyline.
All of The Spit’s current features, including the kiosk, marine rescue and boat ramps, will be retained and improved.
“Everyone loves buying prawns from the trawler fleet on The Spit,” the Premier said.
“We want that feature to stay and be enhanced.”
A special curlew habitat will be developed, as well as an underwater sculpture garden for divers to explore.
Mr Dick said a new entry design to the park would lend a sense of arrival, with improvements to pedestrian, cycle and road access.
Parts of the park are earmarked for sensitive commercial development, but a Gold Coast City Council three-story height restriction will be retained as the government promised.
This zone centres on Fisherman’s Wharf and Sea World.
Mayor Tom Tate welcomed the Ocean Park blueprint.
“This is another great example of what can be achieved for the Gold Coast when we work together,” Mr Tate said.
“My council will continue to work with the state government to deliver something really special everyone can be proud of.
“I’ll be urging my council to install the necessary infrastructure in partnership with the local major water users to supply an almost unlimited amount of recycled water to create and maintain a ‘central park’ style green open space for all Gold Coasters to enjoy.”
Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said locals will be thrilled to see everything they love about The Spit retained and new features added.
“You name the improvements on the coast: the light rail, hospitals, schools, the Commonwealth Games, improvements to the M1 – it’s this government that is investing in the Gold Coast’s future,” Ms Scanlon said.
Full plans and flyover footage can be downloaded here.
Consultation is open until the end of March.