Council has voted unanimously in favour of seeking expressions of interest for a Gold Coast ferry trial which should be underway by December.
Council officers recommended an initial two-year trial covering five stops – Seaworld, Marina Mirage, Southport, Surfers Paradise and HOTA at Evandale.
But the trial won’t come cheaply, with Council needing to spend around one million dollars upgrading facilities at the proposed stops.
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Council will pay for the entire cost of the stop at HOTA and will pay 50 per cent of the cost for the stops at Appel Park in Surfers and at Southport Pier with the Gold Coast Waterways Authority to pick up the rest of the tab.
The owners of Seaworld and Marine Mirage will pay for the upgrades at their respective jetties.
Today’s full council meeting heard up to 700 passengers a day are expected to use the ferry service during the initial stages of the trial.
Speed limits on the route won’t be increased but Council has left open the door to applying to the State Government for an increase at a later date.
It’s now expected expressions of interest will be called next month with a contract likely to be awarded by July.
The trial is intended to get underway at the start of December.
While ratepayers will need to dig deep to upgrade stops, the cost of running the service during the trial will be left up to the operator, including the cost of acquiring vessels.
Mayor Tom Tate told the meeting that the Gold Coast is ready for a trial.
Veteran Southport Councillor Dawn Crichlow spoke in favour of taking the trial to the next step, but would have liked to have seen more stops.
“I’m very happy about going to expressions of interest but that’s the only thing that concerns me – I’d like to see it all the way up and down the Gold Coast,” Councillor Chrichlow said.
“This is what the people like about the Gold Coast they like the water and this is a win-win for everybody,this should be unanimously supported.”