Mayor Tom Tate remains committed to a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast, despite the cost and the uncertain future facing the cruise ship industry.
But he’s left the door ajar for the plan to be halted if it doesn’t tick all the boxes.
There are increasing calls for the proposal to be scrapped amid the COVID-19 crisis, with opponents calling for the money to be spent elsewhere to help the city recover.
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Concerns are also growing that a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast would not be viable with the virus having a detrimental effect on the industry.
The terminal proposed for the Spit, is estimated to have a price tag of about $450 million, but its feasability has been questioned after a report last year found it would have to be bigger than first planned
Mayor Tate has said fast-tracking infrastructure projects is one way to help the city recover from the coronavirus crisis and he still believes a cruise ship terminal should be a part of that.
He insists if it doesn’t stack up, he’ll pull the pin, but for now, the plan remains on the table.
“We’re going to make sure the Environmental Impact Study ticks all the boxes. Once that’s done then we can move to the next phase on the type of projects and the viability,” Mayor Tate said on Tuesday.
“We’ve got some work done there but we’ve got to crystallise the vision and harden up the numbers, then we can go to the funding model.
“Without doing that we won’t move forward. Even moving forward, if the Environmental Impact Study goes ‘no you can’t do that’, then that rules a line there and we’ll focus more on super yachts.”
The reputation of the cruise ship industry has taken a battering during the crisis, with ships accounting for hundreds of coronavirus cases in Australia and at least 18 deaths so far.
There’s also been serious questions raised about health and safety practices with some experts claiming the international industry may never fully recover.
But the Mayor says it’s too early to know what long term impacts the virus will have on cruise ships.
“As far as the cruise ship industry is concerned, for us to be at the table and to watch and see what direction the cruise ship industry is going to go, we have to be ready to go ‘well we’re in’. To sit and do nothing when the industry, should it move ahead and do well, we will be left behind.
“There’s no way I would do the project if it was detrimental to our city and I’ve said that if it doesn’t tick the boxes then I’d be the first to say no.
“I’m still of the view that we should not walk off the crease and keep batting until it’s shovel-ready and if the mood of everyone in 12 to 18 months is ‘let’s pause’ or ‘don’t do it’, then I’ll respect that.”