A few weeks ago, it was announced that Australia’s Gold Coast was to become the eighth World Surfing Reserve. Not the whole thing, though. Just the southern end, an area that extends from Burleigh to Snapper. Still, it’s a good thing. But the northern end is is looking like it’s going to become a massive cruise ship terminal, just like what almost happened around Kirra.
For anyone that doesn’t remember, the bid for the Gold Coast to become a WSR really hit a flashpoint when the public found out that Kirra was on the list of places that might become a cruise ship terminal. Of course, the surfing public wasn’t haven’t any of it. They organized a massive protest and the bid was squashed, saving one of the best waves on the planet. The initial WSR proposal wasn’t just for the southern end of the Goldie–it was the entire thing. Initially, that idea was supported, but for some reason, it was chopped in half, leaving only the southern end up for protection from development. According to Luke Sorensen, who is involved with Save Our Spit, it was pressure from developers.
“Behind Mayor Tate is a great number of international developers, consortiums, a Chinese Port company, many of the chamber of commerce people along the coast, and many people who believe success and progress is defined by cranes in the sky and concrete on the ground,” he told Jed Smith for Stab.
The proposed terminal would destroy both the Spit and South Straddie, two waves that are shining jewels on a coast full of amazing waves.
“I was told in no uncertain terms from state government, local government and the Gold Coast Waterways Authority that they would not support a World Surf Reserve proposal with South Straddie in it,” Andy Mckinnon, Chairman of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve, told Stab.
While development can be important, creating jobs, boosting the local economy, and bringing in tourist dollars, for a community as dedicated to surfing as the Gold Coast, it is a difficult pill to swallow. But the World Surfing Reserve designation has shown them just what is possible. “The community is now seeing what they can accomplish to protect their waves,” said Mckinnon. “There is no doubt that’s what they want.”