by Bob Wonders
If government does not admit to its responsibilites and take charge, boating on the Gold Coast will only diminish. Authorities accused of 'turning a blind eye' to Gold Coast waterway problems.
Joe Goddard, general manager of the Southport Yacht Club, believes the Queensland Government 'simply doesn’t understand' the problems on Gold Coast waterways, particularly the Southport Broadwater.
'Either that or they suffer from poor communication,' he added.
'Let’s face it, the Gold Coast has always had this problem and the government really needs to take a firm hold and acknowledge what is a serious situation.
'It is absolutely critical and the authorities must set aside money to maintain the entire Gold Coast waterfront,' he declared.
Goddard is one man who should know.
A widely experienced marina manager with stints at Sydney’s famous Cruising Yacht Club and in Dubai, Goddard said that in his travels he had often ‘painted a picture’ of the Gold Coast as being the ideal boating community.
'Sadly, these days it’s just embarrassment,' he said.
'At the Southport Yacht Club we can’t even get the big Sydney-Hobart maxis into the Broadwater because of its lack of depth.
'I mean, what’s going on, is the State Government just turning a blind eye to things here?
'Is it only concerned with what happens in Brisbane?
'It must be said that it’s not only the boating community that bears the brunt of the problem, it’s Gold Coast tourism as well and that rates as one of the areas biggest money earners.'
Southport Yacht Club general manager, Joe Goddard, fears boating will diminish on the Gold Coast without government intervention. - Click Here to view large photo
Goddard said the tourism side was ‘already hurting’ with the inability of many of the world’s superyachts to gain access to the Gold Coast.
'To bring a vessel in above 35.0-metres, a Queensland Transport pilot has to be on board,' Goddard explained.
'If the pilot takes a look at the access and decides it’s too hard, we’ve got no chance.
'That has happened three times since November,' he said.
Goddard also said 'gossip' was hurting the Gold Coast.
'By gossip I mean the gossip among superyacht captains worldwide that the Gold Coast is a great place, but access is in the too hard basket,' he said.
Goddard said that somehow the Gold Coast needed to take a look at Cairns.
'They’re doing a great job up there,' he said, 'they’re targeting the superyacht market and the authorities, including local government, are giving their full support,' he said.
'Here, all we do is beg on our hands and knees and get no where.
'If the State Government does not eventually accept the responsibility boating on the Gold Coast can only diminish,' he added.
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6:52 AM Sun 20 Apr 2008 GMT
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