Broadwater Submission - BXL Design

All Gold Coast City Councillors and State MP's have been provided with this submission by BXL Design outlining a concept Broadwater Masterplan.

Click here to download the printable pdf file

Essential elements: 

  • This masterplan achieves a balance between development opportunity and preserving plus enhancing the aesthetic values of marine areas

  • Identifies prime public open spaces

  • Enhances Wavebreak Island, a popular boating destination and provides public access to boat owners and the public.

  • Integrates development around the Southern Part of the Broadwater and identifies a Southport Waterfront Precinct

  • Provides opportunities and stimulus for economic growth and job creation to Southport CBD

  • Includes design for a destination deep water Offshore Cruise Ship Terminal formed by a permanent and fixed concrete caisson breakwater giving a fixed wharf platform

  • Reaffirms a balance between the city and a recreational conservation area providing both a lifestyle and tourism benefit

Wavebreak Island, the Broadwater itself and the Spit

These areas to be retained and enhanced for recreation and nature parks. 

Tourists travel from around the world to have the quintessential Australian experience and to enjoy our lifestyle. Our interaction with the natural environment brings awe, joy, wonder as well as a lifetime of memories and a sense of wellbeing. 

This vision for the Broadwater sees it become a one of its kind Australian attraction

and experience that is impossible to achieve in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra nor in any other city worldwide that we compete with for tourists. This will therefore be unique to the Gold Coast and to the tourism world.

A New Island Opportunity For 5/6 Star Hotels

Located at the end of Smith Street and offering exciting and diverse resort holiday experiences for development, the island - together with the Broadwater Parklands - forms part of a continuous and themed Southport Waterfront.

Southport - Catalyst for Growth

A consolidated and connected waterfront precinct and holistic city building strategies can transform Southport into the CBD of a true international city and provide a gateway for tourism and business.

New ideas on transport and city planning offer dramatic opportunities and far better outcomes than what has been considered to date. However, unless there is an active and informed collaboration with the private sector, and all levels of government, the potential will not be realised.

Groundwork has already been carried out to attract the top end hotel chains and their backers but again, collaboration is critical to get the right outcomes. These companies have particular requirements and to attract them, you must work with them as well as explore how to combine them with tourist attractions. I would have thought the last thing we need is just more high-rise apartments along the Ocean front and around the Broadwater.

Strategic Planning

Developers are not planners. They focus on the maximum return on investment for the benefit of their shareholders - that is not the residents of the Gold Coast. By drawing a line around an area on a map and expecting developers to provide optimum outcomes is simply wishful thinking.

If we want themed tourist amenities such as Australian botanic gardens and biospheres or nature experiences such as aquariums or treetop walkways - together with Resorts and Hotels - we need to state these as criteria.

Without a well thought out strategic plan that defines the objectives and provides the parameters, the best outcomes will never be realised. It is the responsibility of Council, State and Federal Members to look after the best interests of the City and the haste in which proceedings are currently being conducted results in the exclusion of ideas and concepts that merit a more considered approach.

For example, SDGCI (Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc) have offered in writing (and during discussions with the Mayor) to assist with the development of a strategic plan for the city.

The invitation for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Broadwater, the new Town Plan and the Gold Coast City Transport Strategy 2031 are all opportunities to seek best outcomes. However, they appear to be done without consultation or coordination between them.

Offshore Cruise Terminal

The studies carried out for the State in 2003 included an Offshore Terminal in its analysis and it is to be noted that this only studied ‘boutique’ cruise ships. An ocean terminal is the only solution that does not cause negative impacts on the environment, surfing, diving or boating safety while still maintaining the right of passage through the Seaway for all boat owners.

In addition, the flood risks associated with changing the Broadwater hydrology are avoided. An ocean terminal also delivers more - it can accommodate two super liners (not just 1 boutique ship) with a greatly reduced risk of marine accident or adverse environmental or flood impacts. It can also become the biggest artificial reef as part of an offshore diving experience and could even be designed to produce the best surf breaks. It can be a destination itself with marine education centre, underwater observatory etc. The construction of an offshore cruise ship terminal can also be integrated with the work needed to the waste water discharge pipes and upgrading of the sand pumping station. Why isn’t this being included within the EOI, which is meant to allow the market to determine what development options it would favour? As with all options, economics, engineering and environmental issues deserve study.

Just considering the ongoing dredging costs of 6 to 12-million dollars per year will make a Broadwater terminal a more costly option - after 10 years the dredging cost to be carried will therefore be between 60 to 150 million dollars. Now consider the costs over ‘the lifetime of the project versus the capital cost differences of the two projects. It is therefore well worth considering the relative costs of constructing and operating an offshore terminal.

It also reinforces the need to look at the costs and economic benefits from a Cruise Terminal and question if the funds for construction and lifetime dredging for this terminal wouldn’t be best allocated elsewhere.

If previous studies and decisions not to develop the Spit and Wavebreak Island, as well as bring Cruise Ships into the Broadwater are believed wrong or that circumstances have changed; why wouldn’t we be looking anew at the pros and cons of the Cruise Terminal before committing to a lengthy and expensive process? Even just to establish in which way things have changed from previous conclusions.


If the EOI and PPP projects can create funds for investment by the city and ongoing funds, then how do we want to spend them?  

The first step must be deciding what we want to achieve and then look at how we will achieve it. It seems we are being precipitous and giving up many possibilities in exchange for a cruise terminal, which may or may not be what we need.

Couldn’t the available funds be used to create a better draw card than the Cruise Terminal?

Why not an attraction that all tourists can use, that all locals can use, that is an advert for our city and one that attracts longer stays and higher spend visitors than the 3% increase in tourists aimed for by the Cruise Ship Terminal?  

For example, look at what has been achieved at The Gardens on the Bay in Singapore with developer input.

If we want extra casinos as a means to create attraction and generate city funds, then we can find sites for them without affecting Wavebreak Island or The Spit. A casino does not need ocean front views.

As a final note, and we do welcome outside investment on the Gold Coast, please remember that a developer will not plan the city for us nor will they concern themselves with what is good for our city. 

That is the job of Council, State and Federal Members and Gold Coast residents and must be done to give guidance to the EOI process.

We should not give planning of our city away to suit the wishes of a developer.

Bryn Lummus AIA

Architect – Director

BXL Design Architect

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