Legendary architect, Desmond Brooks has a plan for the Gold Coast Broadwater that could satisfy hard-line Spit protesters and the boating fraternity and tourism industry, eager for a 'shot in the arm' for the region’s most prized waterway.
His concept relocated the marina, yacht club, entertainment precinct, apartment complexes, superyacht berths and cruise ship terminal to a new island planned for the back of Wavebreak Island, rather than taking up the contentious land along The Spit.
'Why should we give 40 acres of prime public land to developers when we can use the sand that’s causing the problem in the Broadwater and create new land for that purpose?' says Brooks.
'We can reclaim the sand and turn it into useful area. It’s a win-win situation.'
The Broadwater is silted with as many as three million cubic metres of sand. His concept involves dredging this sand and creating a new island to the back of Wavebreak Island.
'For people with ecological interests who are worried about Wavebreak Island – they have to remember that it didn’t even exist 15 years ago! There’s more to the Broadwater than that area – it’s many, many kilometers of waterway and bringing people here would encourage more use of this great asset.'
It was environmental concerns and the very vocal 'Save Our Spit' coalition that dissuaded the Labor government from approving the cruise ship terminal in the lead up to the 2006 election.
So far, Brooks has presented his concept, originally submitted 15 years ago to Queensland’s then premier, Rob Borbidge and modified for today’s challenges and market, to the Southport Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Queensland.
His renewed interest in the development coincides with premier, Anna Bligh’s admission that she will consider other locations for the Gold Coast’s cruise ship concept, all of which would have to 'stack up environmentally and financially'.
Broadwater needs re-dredging -
Brooks’ grand plan would be financed by the sale of apartments and yacht berths, as well as private investors and developers keen to get involved in the entertainment, accommodation and training complex.
Brooks is determined that by the time he arranges a meeting with Anna Bligh and the Minister for Tourism, Desley Boyle, he will have the support of the main stakeholders in the project.
Brooks’ plan for the Broadwater would include a cruise ship terminal for one vessel, which he explains 'could be extended if two cruise ships were in port', a new yacht club with 300 berths, apartments, 25 superyacht berths with luxury apartments, a hotel in the shape of a cruise liner accommodating 400 rooms, a training college for cruise ship staff and three villages that Vegas-style take visitors to the realms of Venice, Marrakesh and London.
'Tourism is all about entertainment,' Brooks says, adding that the Gold Coast now competes with destinations all over the world and needs some pizzazz. 'People need a reason to come here and residents would use the facilities too. The bottom line is that we have to have this, we need to clean up the Broadwater and there would be no better cruise ship terminal in the world.
'Imagine how dramatic it would be to arrive into the Broadwater with people surfing and boating on the waters around you, the spectacular beaches and the backdrop of the Gold Coast skyline. It would be magic.'
During his illustrious career, Brooks was responsible for the plans and designs for the three Sheraton Mirage hotels, the Gold Coast, Port Douglas and Hawaii, Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast, Royal Pines, the Marriott at Surfers Paradise, South Bank in Brisbane, the Westin in Melbourne and three hotels in Las Vegas, as well as projects in China, Greece and Indonesia.