Sustainability is a prime feature of the new “Ocean Park” unveiled for the Gold Coast in Queensland on Sunday with blueprints endorsed by environmental groups.
Plans for the 140-hectare park include water recycling systems and green infrastructure that “supports ecological diversity, climate resilience and user comfort.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the park would become a “jewel” of the Gold Coast and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said his council will work hard to install the necessary infrastructure to “supply an almost unlimited amount of recycled water to create and maintain a Central Park style green open space for all Gold Coasters to enjoy.”
The park’s integrated water management cycle will collect and treat surface water to improve water quality and leverage recycled water for natural area plantings.
Although there are no firm commitments to renewables in the masterplan, there are plans to “investigate” renewable energy sources to power infrastructure such as the sand bypass system that deals with sand erosion issues.
All existing features of The Spit will be kept but there will also be a few new additions. New features include a 4000-square metre restored littoral rainforest, an Aboriginal cultural centre, a light rail extension to Sea World, and improved cycle and walkways through the dunes.
There will also be a new super yacht marina, an underwater sculpture garden dive site and a “selfie tower” to take photos of the Gold Coast skyline.
The state government’s draft masterplan includes some commercial development but restricts the height of buildings to three storeys as requested by the Gold Coast City Council.
As well as height restrictions, buildings must take the subtropical climate into account and incorporate water sensitive design treatments.
This includes extended roofs, awnings to shade windows and walls from direct sun during the hottest hours of the day and devices to collect and reuse rainwater and wastewater.
One of three “visions” for the park is to “protect and enhance its natural assets and coastal parkland.”
This includes protecting and “enhancing” terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and the suggested rejuvenation and revegetation of the coastal dunes in the north of the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve to “maintain their stability and resilience to natural events.”
“Dunes are an important part of the beach system and provide a reserve of sand for the beach during storm events. The condition of dunes is therefore important to the resilience of the reserve to natural events,” the plans state.
The construction efforts are expected to create more than 1000 jobs and boost tourism in the region.
The new Ocean Park is the result of 18 months’ consultation with community groups and Gold Coast City Council.
“The process has brought consensus to an iconic part of the Gold Coast that has seen its share of conflict,” State Development Minister Cameron Dick said.
According to SBS news, the plans have the “tick of approval” from environmental groups who have been fighting to preserve the area for years.
“The open space areas on The Spit will be more than eight times the size of Brisbane’s South Bank parklands, 12 times the size of the public spaces in Barangaroo, Sydney, and two-and-a-half times the size of Mt Coot-tha’s Botanic Gardens,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Our plans will make this not just a jewel of the Gold Coast but for the entire state.”
The blueprint has been released for community consultation before the plans are finalised.
The plans are available for download here.