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Broadwater Parklands Stage 3 Development

Broadwater Parklands Stage 3 Development

With the Gold Coast city preparing for more visitors and investors, major developments are continuing to be realised. Patrick Molnar and Roselle Tenefrancia take a closer look at another city project, the Broadwater Parklands Stage 3 development, and its significant impacts and benefits for the Gold Coast community.

The Broadwater Parklands is located on Marine Parade in Southport and has been serving locals and visitors for various purposes since 2009.

The first stage of the development ran from February 2008 to August 2009 through joint funding from Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Government celebrating Queensland as an independent state for 150 years. This stage included the construction of a 105-metre pier, Pandanus Point and Cove area for ceremonies, a landscaped 200-vehicle car park, two new event lawns, reclamation work to widen the parkland and refurbishment of the Queensland heritage-listed Southport bathing Pavilion. It stretches from the Short Street alignment to the Southport Pool that is known as the Southport Aquatic Centre today.

Following the opening of the Parklands in 2009, Stage 2 construction was undertaken immediately as the City Council endorsed a further $16.8 million for the redevelopment that was completed in December 2010. This was part of the city council’s $90 million economic stimulus. Stage 2 included new features such as the rock pools, ANZAC Memorial, a viewing platform, operation hub, and picnic space, among many others.

stage 3 parklands plan


On to the third

The Stage 3 development is a significant Commonwealth Games legacy joint project between the Gold Coast Waterways Authority and the City of Gold Coast. The construction has started on 18 January 2015 and it is expected to be completed in late June this year.

“The Broadwater Parklands master plan always envisaged additional stages. However, the Commonwealth Games has provided the catalyst to advance the stage 3 project. The redevelopment of Gold Coast Aquatic Centre required the closure of the existing boat ramp behind it and the loss of some parklands space. Bringing forward stage 3 will ensure a world-class new parklands space will be ready when the Gold Coast opens its doors to the world in 2018. The project budget is $10.5 million, jointly funded by the City of Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Waterways Authority,” declares Gold Coast mayor, Tom Tate.

For the boaties

The recreational boating community has been one of the focus of the project. A much-needed new regional four-lane boat ramp facility, pontoons and floating jetty, and a 90-car and trailer parking bays, are the main facilities to be built that will improve the experience of the boaties in launching their boats to the Broadwater.

In a Gold Coast City Council statement, Gary Baildon, chairman of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority says, “The project will provide significant benefits for commercial and recreational boating in the Broadwater, and the new four-lane public boat ramp will help meet the demand across the city, replacing the smaller ramp that was closed for redevelopment of the Aquatic Centre.”

The dredging work conducted by Neumann Dredging Contractors will take out sand to be used for the reclamation. The reclaimed 3.5 hectares of land will use 110,000 cubic metres of sand dredged from the western channel of the Broadwater, with the objective of significantly improving navigation for boaties.

“The Gold Coast needs more public marine infrastructure and this project will provide brand new regional public boating facilities for the single largest recreational boating community in Queensland,” emphasises Mayor Tate.

Social media has created a lively forum among boaties and those who regularly use the Broadwater, with regard to the Broadwater Parklands Stage 3 Development. Some comments have indicated that that this project is going to be beneficial for all and will boost the boating lifestyle on the Gold Coast. However, others are concerned about the limited parking spaces, and the increased number of users of the ramp that will eventually cause heavy traffic.

Environmental impact

To ensure the protection and promotion of the marine environment in the work area, sea grass had been taken out from the work zones. Mayor Tate explains, “Prior to dredging, more than 3000 square metres of sea grass was relocated from the works zone and replanted. This is a great initiative aimed at maintaining a healthy habitat in the Broadwater for fish and other marine life.” During the Stage 1 development, 500 square metres of sea grass had been transplanted, and has since grown to cover an area of more than 5,000 square metres.

Despite the efforts to ensure environmental protection, there may still be room to improve how reclamation projects are conducted on the Broadwater. In a study entitled, Sustainability of Reclaimed Foreshore – Case Study: Southport Broadwater Parklands, published by the Griffith University in 2008, the proponents suggested that the protection of the reclaimed foreshore in the Parklands Stage 1 project should have taken a proactive approach and integrated techniques to respond to already identified threats to the sustainability of the reclamation. A reactive approach, which is generally a cheaper and efficient approach, means that a threat to the sustainability of the project will only be addressed as it comes, which may eventually lead to rehabilitation and repairs that also require a new set of project costs.

With the Broadwater having been subjected to various land reclamations and coastal reshaping, it is worth noting that developments in the area should also focus on environmental sustainability that complements the promotion of public aspirations.

Public amenities

“The Stage 3 project will have enormous long-term benefits for our residents and visitors to the Gold Coast. New recreational space, parklands, foreshore pathways, and community facilities will also be established on 3.5 hectares of land,” says Mayor Tate.

The creation of 3.5 hectares of extra recreational space to the north of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre will also include shared facilities for the Southport Amateur Fishing Club and the community.

The improved amenities and access to the beach will be advantageous to the general public. However, some of the visitors who have been staying at the Broadwater Tourist Park have expressed their concerns. One guest who regularly stays at the tourist park says that he always loved the waterfront site, and how the waters are shallow enough for young children to swim. He was concerned that the new development will not provide the same shallow waters as the beach will be too far into the Broadwater, and will be more dangerous for swimming.

This project has also boosted local job opportunities. In a council press statement, Martin Brady from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, says the project reflects how well the city’s Local Procurement Policy is working. “As a result of the city’s initiative, this project will deliver 30 local full time jobs, which otherwise may have gone outside our area,” he said.

As the project rolls on, the Council is certain that the Broadwater Parklands will be a place where Gold Coast locals and visitors can find their favourite leisure activities at any age. In June, the Parklands will provide residents and visitors another outdoor public facility. It is meant to be ready to welcome people from all over the world, at the time of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Gold Coast is one of the most rapidly developing cities in Australia, so further stages may be expected in the future. “The City is committed to ensuring we have the best possible parks and open spaces for our community and visitors to the Gold Coast – so we’re always looking at what can be done to improve our parklands spaces. Further stages of the Broadwater Parklands are planned for the future as funding allows,” shares Mayor Tate.


Gold Coast Waterfront Development Projects Story Series

The Gold Coast is currently a stage for several major developments, all of them leading up to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and beyond: the Cultural Precinct in Bundall, the Surfers Paradise Riverside, Broadwater Parklands Stage 3, and the Commonwealth Games Village in Southport. Boat Gold Coast features one project in every issue, as part of our waterfront development story series.


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