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Gold Coast rallies as battle for Kirra turns on again

Kirra © Andrew Shield



Environment Updates

Protest Paddle out called for Sunday 19th January

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 January, 2014 - Save Our Southern Beaches Alliance has called on the public to join a peaceful paddle-out protest to oppose the $2 billion proposed Ocean Terminal Casino development at North Kirra/Bilinga meeting at North Kirra 10am Qld time.

Community groups both surfing and non-surfing will amass on the beach and in the surf in possibly one of the biggest demonstrations yet seen on the Gold Coast since the 2009 Australia Day Paddle Out at Kirra Point when 1500 surfers joined in the map of Australia with as many as 5,000 on the beach to protest the loss of the iconic Kirra Point break.

Consequently the Queensland Government pledged $1.5 million to fix the problem. The campaign continued convincing Gold Coast City Council to replace the rock boulders taken off the Big Groyne which has now been completed.

However the surfing and non-surfing community are convinced that if the latest proposal for North Kirra/Bilinga goes ahead, that its sheer size and impact will wipeout Kirra forever and all the hard fought gains to bring it back will be ruined. Current World Professional Champion and avid campaigner for Kirra, Mick Fanning is totally opposed to the proposed development and has called on the public to support the paddle out protest on the 19th May at the North Kirra site.

“Everyone who is concerned about the cruise ship terminal please show up and have your voice heard. This is a community stand so if you surf or just enjoy the beach as it is, let's make a statement!” said Fanning.

SOSBA back Mick Fanning’s stance and reiterate that the paddle out protest is not restricted to only surfers and that all the community can play a big part in the shape of the development on the beach!

An Engineer from SOSBA says a rough estimate of the Ocean Terminal, Casino and Hi Rise development for North Kirra/Bilinga would necessitate about 30,000 million cubic metres of rock and concrete. It stretches one kilometre out to sea and one kilometre from North Kirra Surf Club north to Bilinga. Local residents would have their ocean views destroyed and property prices plummet. Reclaiming of public property and foreshore due largely to the sand buildup courtesy of the Tweed sand pumping operation would go against the grain of the Qld Premier’s policy who rejected a development application on public foreshore land claim from Clive Palmer at Coolum.

The sheers size and visual impact of the proposed development looms larger than a scene out of the movie, Independence Day!

Fanning is aghast at the magnitude of the proposal saying that its footprint will be approx. 94 hectares.

“This will affect the whole Gold Coast not only just the local area.  One question is how will the sand flow get around this monstrosity to replenish the beaches north?”  Fanning has asked the public to have a good read of the application. and then make up their own mind.

“So many things are totally wrong about this whole idea,” said Mick and listed some of the obvious concerns.

“1. Ruining our beaches by stopping natural sand flow to the northern Gold Coast that is already eroding.

2. Pollution from the ships will be ridiculous and effect wildlife especially around whale migration season.

3. Ruining the world class waves we have that also generate millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses.”

Fanning and his best mate Joel Parkinson 2012 World Professional Champion from Coolangatta have asked the public, “Make your voice heard against this ridiculous idea by turning up at North Kirra on Sunday 19th January meeting at 10am Qld time.”

SOSBA had considered protesting at the Quiksilver Pro and Mayor Tom Tate’s ceremony for the unveiling of Big Groyne on the eve of the World Tours opening event. However in respect for the late Michael “King of Kirra” Peterson whose memorial statue will be unveiled at Big Groyne during the Mayors Big Groyne celebration.  SOSBA has decided to go early on a peaceful paddle out protest.

Chairman of SOSBA Jim Wilson has written to the Qld State Premier asking for the Government to once and for all reject this project. The Qld State Government are expected to make an announcement any day now on the future of the Broadwater proposal which involves a Cruise Ship Terminal and Casino license. Although due to technical difficulties such as the dredging problem for the Broadwater, it appears that State Government will reject a CST and Casino for the Southport Seaway, and replace it with another development for Wave Break Island at the base of the Southport Seaway.

If a Cruise Terminal Casino development backed by the Mayor fails in the Broadwater, the way is then open for the Leda group to press on ahead for their proposed development of Ocean Terminal and Casino license for North Kirra/ Bilinga. This scenario has been put to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate who will not categorically rule out North Kirra if the Broadwater project is dead in the water. The surfing community applaud Tom Tate for carrying out their demands to have the Big Groyne rebuilt and Councils sand replenishment works on the badly eroded Northern beaches but find his stance totally hypocritical if he ultimately back the North Kirra/Bilinga project.

Qld State Minister of Tourism Jann Stuckey and member of Currumbin has voiced her concerns about the North Kirra/Bilinga development saying that it could adversely affect major sporting events on the Southern Gold Coast like the Quiksilver Pro at Coolangatta and the Australian Surf lifesaving titles and National Kite Festival at North Kirra.

The fragile reef at Miles street named one of the best diving reefs close to the beach by acclaimed diving iconic couple Ron and Val Taylor and the SS Coolangatta Shipwreck believed to be buried under the ocean floor of Kirra is within the precinct of the proposed development.

The local indigenous group the Krungal Aboriginal Welfare & Housing Association have endorsed the paddle out asking questions about marine, environmental and cultural impact. The Krungal tribe will perform a traditional welcome to Country ceremony to bless the paddle out.

Ultimately it is the Queensland State Government’s call on these proposals that both carry Casino licenses. Since the Qld Gov have offered three new Casino license in the Sunny state, the competition is on for the developers and the Heat is on both projects.

SOSBA feels that people power will ultimately play the final decision to reject both proposals and has called on the public to be proactive on this issue and ensure our beautiful strip of pristine coastline, waterways and waves will be protected once and for all and for future generations to come.

The program of the Paddle Out will start at 10am with a Welcome to Country Traditional Ceremony.  Paddlers will then perform a ring in the water with non-paddlers joining on the beach.  Afterwards there will be live music and speeches from invited guests.

In breaking news, a committee member of SOSBA who has been hosting their Facebook site and a vocal opponent of the proposed North Kirra/Bilinga development had her Coolangatta office broken into with windows smashed, cabinets turned upside down and files from SOSBSA strewn all over the floor. Police are investigating the break-in siting that it is totally suspicious and called it a personal vendetta aimed the SOSBA spokesperson.

Andrew McKinnon

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