"Any proposal would need to be assessed on robust data analysis not anecdotes.”
Last week, the developer behind the WSL’s billion-dollar pool and residential play near the Queensland town of Coolum said the WSL would move the project to the Gold Coast, two hundred clicks south, unless government red tape was slashed and the project bathed in green light.
Consolidated Properties’ Don O’Rorke, who “donated the land and a half-a-million dollars for the Hurley HPC in Casuarina and was subsequently made a life member of Surfing Australia”, said concerns the joint was on a flood-plain were unfounded, pointing out that recent heavy rains didn’t affect the site.
Now, Sunshine Coast councillor Maria Suarez has fired back at O’Rorke, telling the Courier Mail, “To say that the proposal should be supported because the northern part of the surf ranch site didn’t flood during the latest rain bomb is ridiculous, especially when you consider the recent events weren’t even as significant as the 1992 flood event. Any proposal would need to be assessed on robust data analysis not anecdotes.”
Suarez said the proposed site was some of the lowest lying and most flood-affected land on the Sunshine Coast and “was a natural storage area providing downstream protection during major flood events.”
The council, she said, hadn’t changed its position on the build on the flood plain, not for any anti-development reason just ’cause it seemed foolhardy, and had suggested an alternative site at Beerwah East.
The WSL and O’Rorke hosed down that idea.
“The problem is the Beerwah East plan is not coming online for approximately 15 years, so it’s not an immediate opportunity,” said O’Rorke.
You’ll remember, or not, pro-environment and wildlife advocate Kelly Slater who“urged” the Queensland to approve the development.
“This wave would become somewhat of a mecca and put the Sunshine Coast back on the (surfing) map,” Slater told the Courier-Mail. “iIt will bring a lot of interest to the area and it will be a place that I know a lot of people are going to want to surf and have an ongoing impact on the local area.”
The proposal includes a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.”
The WSL’s Andrew Stark said the local surfing community was “ecstatic and excited.”