by Jeni Bone
Under dazzling azure skies at the Southport Yacht Club, the newly formed Regional Leaders Group introduced concepts for a massive development plan for the Gold Coast Broadwater, including offshore cruise ship terminal, hotel, marina and entertainment precinct, and a state-of-the-art theatre complex that will eclipse anything that currently exists in Australia.
Keith Douglas announces the launch of the Regional Leaders Group and projects
Announcing the grand scheme for the Gold Coast’s most significant asset – the Broadwater – former Mayoral candidate and business man, Keith Douglas said Regional Leaders would be non-political and welcome 'all people from public and private sectors, with good ideas for the good of the Gold Coast'.
'It will be run online, because people’s time is precious and we will workshop all the ideas that are currently in play for the Gold Coast, in collaboration not competition, before passing them on to the three levels of government.'
The Group is also behind an overarching Broadwater Masterplan, taking in sustainable development of Wavebreak Island, which is the Gold Coast’s major tourism asset, to ensure its appeal for boaties and non-boaties.
Crucial to the project is a cruise ship terminal proposal positioned as not causing 'negative impacts on the environment, surfing, diving or boating'. Architect Bryn Lummus from BXL Design, whose experience was gleaned in the UK, Italy and 15 years on major projects in Dubai, was present to lead media through his vision and the components.
Lummus, who said he drafted the designs to begin 'sensible, serious, strong debate about the cruise ship terminal to allow people to shoot at something specific', said his ideas take in the feedback of the media, experts and community.
'The feedback from earlier designs was the design needed to take in to consideration the two aspects of getting people onshore, and something for them to do offshore – making that a destination as well. These designs create a hotel and entertainment precinct, marina and green space.'
The larger Broadwater and Southport masterplanning concepts take in a six-star hotel and superyacht complex that designers say 'offers a better balance between development and environment than previous proposals', and several 'Lifestyle enhancing proposals for important public open space, as well as recreational areas with a new gateway for tourism and business'.
'The Gold Coast attracts 11.6 million people per year, attracted by the lifestyle, leisure options and recreation,' explained Douglas. 'There will be a myriad of benefits to the Gold Coast once these plans get off the ground – construction, employment, tourism, business and sustainable management of this wonderful asset.'
Part of the grand scheme is the Pacific Theatre Complex, which Douglas says 'requires no government funding at all'.
'This will be a sophisticated venue, which we believe will surpass anything available in Australia at the moment, even the Opera House. It will be an international standard showroom for Las Vegas style shows. It will be a major boost for tourism and will benefit the region by an estimated $350m per annum in spending.'
There is already $161m in private consortium funding ready and awaiting approval by the Queensland Auditor General, plus more once the project gets the green light.
'No public or government money is required,' reiterated the man at the helm of the management company for the Pacific Theatre Complex, Leonard Lee, director of West End Theatre Management who with architect, Stefan Galamaga designed the complex.
Lee estimates the first sod could be turned within six months of approval, on state government-owned land between Sea World and Marina Mirage at The Spit, Main Beach.
'After that, the construction would take 18 months to two years, creating as many as 350 jobs.'
As well as 250 permanent jobs within the complex, which will house a 1600 seat auditorium and two smaller 500-seat theatres, restaurants, a School of Music Theatre to international standard, and venue for various Queensland creative and performing arts entities such as Queenland Youth Orchestra, Opera Queensland, Queensland Ballet, indigenous performers and touring international shows. Lee estimates an 18% return based on 60% box office.
'This is a business venture. We have 18 consultants working on it and the figures add up. Currently, there is a three to five year waiting list for theatrical productions coming to Brisbane. We believe this project will fill a need for large theatre venues for the corporate, convention and theatrical production markets.'
The concept has the endorsement of industry proponents, such as Michael Edgley MBE, Chris Mangin, GM of Opera Queensland, Media Arts Alliance, Director of Queesland Conservatorium, Prof Peter Roennfeldt and many others.
More at regionalleaders.com