AGM 2020

  • Jun 26, 2020

The Save Our Spit Alliance Committee and Team hope that you and your family and friends have managed to stay safe and healthy throughout this current Covid-19 pandemic.

The tough but necessary stance the Qld Premier has taken, in addition to the Labor States and Territories of WA, NT and ACT and the Liberal States of SA and Tasmania (especially in relation to border restrictions with the Covid super-spreader States of Victoria and NSW) means that Qld is potentially in a better position to avoid a second wave of infections and another full lockdown, unlike the States directly south of us.

Stop Press: Covid-19 infections spike in Victoria with the possibility of a second wave of infections and deaths in that State.

Gold Coast Council Elections

Since we last wrote, the Queensland Local Government elections have been held and the City of Gold Coast Council has seen the return of the incumbent mayor and several current Councillors with 4 new Councillors joining their ranks.

We wish the mayor and all Councillors a productive term in office and hopefully a return to the basics of Council activities that primarily focus on the decisions and public expenditure that protect public assets such as beaches, parks and waterways; preserves liveable neighbourhoods; and benefits the health, wellbeing and lifestyles of Gold Coast residents, ratepayers as the top priority.

Gold Coast Bulletin Cartoon Cartoon: Craig Mann - Gold Coast Bulletin

The "Bug Boat" Cruise Ship Terminal

Video the Bug Boat

With this in mind SOSA and the majority of the Gold Coast Community were pleased that the Gold Coast City Council's (GCCC) proposal to the State Government for construction of a cruise ship terminal on Philip Park and an ocean-side jetty and rock-wall one kilometre into the ocean east of The Spit has been put indefinitely "On Hold".

This position is due to the devastation caused by the inept (and perhaps criminally negligent) handling of the corona virus onboard cruise ships around the world but in particular, the NSW Government's mishandling of the passengers disembarking from Carnival's Ruby Princess on 19th March in Sydney. This cruise ship was the biggest single source of Covid-19 infections and deaths throughout Australia.

Yellow Lines Spit

Removal of "No Parking" at The Spit

More recently, the newly elected Councillor for Division 10 which encompasses The Spit, Darren Taylor, has already moved very swiftly to ensure the "No Parking - Yellow Lines" along Sea World Drive have been removed. "No Parking" signs and yellow lines were initially placed along a substantial length of Sea World Drive during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown when The Spit beaches and parks were closed to the public.

When lockdown was relaxed and The Spit beaches and Federation Walk Coastal Reserve were again open to the public, the "No Parking" signs were removed but not the yellow lines along the road surface. Spit lovers and supporters reported that parking fines were being handed out to cars parked along that section of Sea World Drive even though the beaches and parks were open. After SOSA posted photographs and an editorial about the issue on our Facebook page, the GCB even ran a story on it.

Friends of Federation Walk and the Save Our Spit Alliance also wrote directly to the newly elected Cllr Taylor and he moved swiftly to put in a Councillor Request (CR) to have the yellow lines investigated and removed if they were no longer relevant. Thanks to Cllr Taylor listening to our plight and responding quickly to ameliorate the situation, within 5 days the lines were painted over.

This is a very positive beginning to Cllr Darren Taylor's first weeks in Council and we thank him very much for the swift and effective action he took on this issue.

Implementation of the Spit Master Plan

The implementation of the Spit Master Plan by the Palaszczuk Government has begun in

earnest through the Gold Coast Waterways Authority.

A shared cycle/pedestrian path is being created along the western side of Sea World Drive from Muriel Henchman Park to the northern end of Doug Jennings Park at the Seaway wall and around to the Moondarewa Spit at the Marine Stadium.

The Southern Seaway Wall 'Promenade' is being enhanced for pedestrian, cycle and all-abilities access to enable wonderful views south from the eastern end of the Seaway Wall down The Spit to the heavily built-up Surfers Paradise and north to the natural coastal landscapes of the Stradbroke Islands chain.

New safety steps and a dive-platform will be established along the Seaway wall as a part of this stage of the Spit Master Plan implementation

The Spit Public Realm

The preserving, maintaining and improving the public parks, open space, reserves, foreshores and beaches on The Spit are important components of The Spit Master Plan.

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) conducted a community consultation process to assist in drafting and establishing The Spit Public Realm Guidelines to ensure the intent of The Spit Master Plan is met with the planning and outcomes in public areas on The Spit.

SOSA Committee produced a major written submission to the GCWA as our contribution to the community consultation process towards the protection and sensitive enhancement of the public realms on The Spit.

SOSA also participated in a community consultation conducted by the Southport Yacht Club at the direction of the State Government regarding their plans for 2 superyacht berths in the Broadwater next to Jack Gordon Park (Marine Parade). Our submission opposed the current net loss of land in Jack Gordon Park to accommodate the proposed SYC superyacht berths.

Friends of Federation Walk have received funding to help establish an irrigation system to plant and create a substantial littoral rainforest on 35 hectares at the northern end of The Spit in Federation Walk Coastal Reserve. This 'public realm' has suffered deliberately-lit fires in the past and currently looks a bit barren compared to the community planted areas south of the future rainforest zone.

In addition to the intrinsic value of community volunteers planting a rainforest on The Spit, the establishment of the rainforest will provide wildlife habitat and act as a buffer against future attempts to deliberately light fires and will finally put to rest the development industry's constant pressure over past decades to build hotels, artificial 'harbours' and private apartments on that location.

Amendments to Gold Coast City Plan to Align with Spit Master Plan

At the request of the Honourable Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, who is also the Minister responsible for The Spit Master Plan, the Gold Coast Council was required to amend their current City Plan to align with the legislated directives of the Spit Master Plan in relation to building heights and land uses in the zones marked for tourism and commercial activities south of Sea World on the Spit east of Sea World Drive on State crown land leases. Council was directed to open up their 'draft City Plan Amendments' to Community comments and submissions.

The SOSA Committee is very experienced in writing submissions to government authorities; however, the obfuscated presentation of Council documents meant it took the equivalent of a week of fulltime analyses, cross referencing, collating, writing and directing questions to Council Planning officers to produce a suitable submission by the closing date on 19th June 2020. The SOSA submission to the GCCC CEO pointed out the following in our Introduction.

The City of Gold Coast's submission 'framework' for The Spit Master Plan Implementation (key development sites) draft amendments to the Gold Coast City Plan has been a confusing and convoluted 'consultation' and 'public submission' process. Council documents and links are scattered throughout the Council's submission website on a variety of links, with no explanations as to how they relate to one another, making it difficult to effectively collate and cross-reference the information into a cogent submission.

The SOSA submission was eventually lodged on behalf of all our members and supporters because the process was inadvertently or deliberately set up in a manner that would put community members off submitting anything, especially those who had not previously been involved in community submissions to government entities.

Our submission supported many aspects of the proposed City Plan amendments in relation to the Spit Master Plan; however, we also pointed out several major inconsistencies in the City Plan. The least of these incompatible activities being the location of the current heliport in the Sea World carpark with its prohibited areas and constant noise and aviation fuel odours that will have severe negative impacts on the Spit Master Plan outcomes of a continuous public boardwalk along the eastern shore of the Broadwater; disturbance to health and tranquillity for local residents and visitors to The Spit; and the sabotaging of an outdoor event space for Aboriginal "traditional ceremony and dance performances" next to the proposed Aboriginal Cultural Centre on The Spit.

Border Closure

Gold Coast Tourism in the Time of Covid-19

In lieu of any proper analyses by the local media, SOSA commissioned detailed research resulting in a Three Part report, Tourism Gold Coast. Part 3 specifically looks at strategies that could be implemented by local businesses and tourism entities and operators to tap into the Queensland Domestic Tourism market while State boundaries remain closed to interstate and international visitors.

The SOSA reports took particular aim at the ratepayer 'subsidised' ($15.5 million 2019 - 2020) and member-based industry entity, Destination Gold Coast (DGC) who appeared to be sitting on their hands while also throwing party-political hand-grenades at the Queensland Government for refusing to open Queensland's borders to the Covid-19 super-spreader States of Victoria and NSW.

It was satisfying for SOSA to not only have local State politicians respond to our GC Tourism reports and the local paper's rejoinder with an online and print article, but also to see the newly announced Council Budget for 2020-2021 reflect SOSA's position that the DGC marketing of the Gold Coast during the pandemic has been very 'underwhelming' at best and incompetent at worst.

Hence, the GCCC refused to give Destination Gold Coast their requested increase of $4.1 million on top of their existing $15.5 million of ratepayer funds for 2020-2021. It appears the days of the 'Overseas Junket' at ratepayers' expense may be disappearing for the DGC Chair and Board members. Also the refusal of their request for $4.1 million more from ratepayers is a reflection of DGC's reluctance to respond effectively to the obvious need to have a soft opening to Gold Coast tourism by firstly harnessing the lucrative Queensland Domestic Tourism market with discount offers, vouchers and packages to loyal Brisbane visitors and Regional Queenslanders who are permitted to travel freely throughout Queensland under current State directions during the pandemic.

Stop Press: 46% of regional Queenslanders are planning an intrastate holiday over the Winter period, with the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Southern Queensland country and the state’s far north as the top five destinations.

1 Tourism Gold Coast - part 1

2 Tourism Gold Coast - part 2

3 Tourism Gold Coast - part 3

Courier Mail Tourism

World Oceans Day - Global Online Rally

SOSA President, Dr Steve Gration, was invited by the USA-based Stand-earth organisation, in conjunction with Friends of the Earth USA, to be one of 7 speakers at the World Oceans Day online Global Rally to "Clean Up Cruising - Communities Against Cruise Pollution" on 8th June 2020.

Facebook Video - Cruise companies can't return to pollution as usual

Speakers and attendees were from Venice, Southampton UK, Alaska, Bahamas, Bergen  Norway, Miami and West Coast USA, Hawaii, Canada, Europe, Australia and many other parts of the world that host cruise ships or are fighting the pollution and environmental, cultural and social destruction caused by the cruise industry.

Dr Gration was asked to speak about the history of our Community opposition to the construction of cruise ship terminals and ports on the Gold Coast since at least 1986. Dr Gration then spoke about the successful Save Our Spit campaign since the group first formed in 2003, finishing with the words:

You have more power than you know. And if you organize, if you strategize, if you empower your community by arming them with well-researched facts and telling your story about the place that you love, calmly and clearly from the heart, you will win.

Save Our Spit Alliance - AGM 2020

The Annual General Meeting of the Save Our Spit Alliance is 'on hold' at the moment owing to the Queensland Government restrictions on the numbers of people permitted to gather indoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOSA will monitor the restrictions to ensure the AGM is held if possible before the end of 2020, or if unforeseen circumstances arise regarding Covid-19 infection spikes and increased restrictions, we reserve the option to hold a Zoom-style online AGM.

As it is the end of the SOSA Financial Year all Save Our Spit memberships are now due. Please consider renewing or becoming a SOSA member so our volunteer Committee can continue the excellent work they have been conducting over the past years.

SOSA Memberships

Save Our Spit Alliance Inc. membership fees are used to defray the costs of hosting our website domain; meeting room hire and insurances (as required); lodging of official documents; membership of the Gold Coast Community Alliance (ACE); submissions to government entities e.g. Dept of Fair Trade; postage costs and annual rental of our post office box etc.

Membership fees have not risen since 2005 when SOSA first became incorporated in Queensland in 2005.

Single: $5     Family: $10     Group: $20     Business: $25

Please fill in the membership form and make your payments and/or donations by:

1 Download Membership Form pdf document

2 Bank details for payment
Account Name: Save Our Spit Alliance Inc
Bank: Suncorp
BSB: 484799 Acct No: 201431005

3 Send to address on form - PO Box 7098, Southport Park Qld 4215

And of course any Donations that can be spared in these tough times are also much appreciated.

The Spit is Open!

The Spit parks, foreshores, boat ramps, waterways and beaches are open again for public access and use, so please be mindful of social distancing and the restrictions to numbers gathering, and also be respectful of the natural environment, wildlife and other Spit users as you once again enjoy the Gold Coast treasures of The Spit and Broadwater.

Warm regards

The Save Our Spit Team

Why Cruise Ships will never Dock on Gold Coast

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