No Casino for Southport Spit

JACOB IRVINE

The Queensland government rejected plans to build a $3 billion casino and resort precinct on the Southport Spit.

Business groups were stunned as Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that the contract with the Chinese-backed company ASF had been terminated and any development over three storeys would commence.

The controversial project has divided Gold Coast residents, with arguments both for and against building a casino.

While some residents have been for the economic benefits that would supposedly be generated for the region, the vast majority of people have insisted that the development would destroy one of the few untouched beach areas on the coast.

Ms. Palaszczuk confirming that despite the resort precinct for the spit being scrapped, a masterplan for the Gold Coast would be devised over the coming 18 months. Reassuring locals that future developments on the Spit would be confined to three stories, to both protect the environment, but also ensure that commercial developments could take place.

The future surrounding the Southport Spit has been hotly debated for nearly two decades, with various cruise ship terminals being proposed and shut down over the years, and now the ASF resort precinct is the latest project to have been terminated. Which begs the question, what now for the future of the Spit?

Save our Spit community member Toby Jeffrey, believes that the land could be developed if it were done in a controlled way.

“It’s pretty much the last natural piece of untouched land that we have here on the coast. I don’t think that developing it for some commercial purposes is a bad idea, however it has to be done in a controlled manner,” Mr Jeffrey said.

Mr Jeffrey went on to say that development was inevitable for the coast which is a good thing, particularly after the Commonwealth Games has wrapped up.

“There will be an influx of tourists after the Commonwealth Games, and we do want to show off everything that the coast has to offer, so perhaps transforming the Southport Spit into a family friendly area with cafés and restaurants that surround the open spaces is the way to go,” Mr Jeffrey said.

Despite the scrapping of the resort precinct, the future of the space is still up in the air, so Gold Coast locals will be waiting anxiously for what will happen next.

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Development on the Southport Spit has been hotly debated for the last 20 years. Photo: Jacob Irvine

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