A cruise ship terminal located on the eastern side of Wave Break Island could be open in 2018 as part of the proposal to be submitted to the Queensland Government under the Gold Coast Integrated Resort and Cruise Ship Terminal process currently underway.
ASF Consortium yesterday released updated navigational studies conducted earlier this month at the Smartship Australia facility located in Brisbane and recognized by the industry as the best simulation center in Australia.
Local Project Director Tim Poole said the good news is that the Wave Break Island location is absolutely feasible for cruise ships.
“The Seaway can be safely navigated by modern ships in all tidal situations and in almost all weather conditions meaning the cruise ship terminal is feasible to build and operate,” said Tim Poole.
The Gold Coast Cruise Ship Terminal will be a purpose built, open access terminal providing a stop over location for cruise ships and an embarkation facility for passengers including Gold Coast residents.
It will not be a homeport and ships will not be fuelled on the Gold Coast.
“Stop over ports bring people to the city to visit theme parks and other tourist attractions, normally booked in advance in collaboration with cruise ship operators and local businesses,” said Tim Poole.
John Shepherd, former Brisbane Cruise Ship Terminal Board Member and Regional Director of Construction and Development at Brookfield Mulitplex says the Gold Coast terminal will have strong support.
“In Brisbane we were turning away ships every year that wished to visit, so the demand for the terminal is definitely there,” said John Shepherd.
The Project is targeting 75 ships or 150 movements per annum, which will bring 175,000 passengers to the Gold Coast annually.
Based on the navigation simulations undertaken, a cruise ship arriving at the Gold Coast terminal will require between 30 and 45 minutes for entering the seaway and berthing at the terminal, and a similar period when leaving the terminal. This is a significantly shorter period than most other ports in Australia.
The Project team also said that initial hydrodynamic investigations have indicated that impacts to water levels during ambient tidal conditions and one in one hundred year flooding events will be barely measurable.
“The initial hydrodynamic results indicate there will be no impacts to flood levels in the Broadwater,” said Tim Poole.
“The City of Gold Coast validated flood models for the Biggera, Nerang and Loders waterways and catchments were used to undertake this assessment,” he said.
The Project Team has confirmed that dredging of the Seaway will be required to create a safe shipping channel and swing basin for the cruise ships.
“Dredging to create an average depth of 12 to 13 meters will be undertaken as part of the construction of the Cruise Ship Terminal,” said Mr. Poole.
ASF Consortium will deliver this project at no cost and no risk to the Queensland Government, City of Gold Coast and the community. This means, all project associated dredging costs.
Dredged sand will be used to raise the elevation of the sand banks on the western side of Wave Break Island and the proposed Eco-Marine Park with any surplus volumes provided to the replenishment program for Gold Coast beaches.
“The good news is that the sand dredged on an on-going basis can be used to keep Gold Coast Beaches healthy which is a great benefit to the city,” said Tim Poole.
“This Project will provide this sand at no cost to the City as part of a Sand Management Plan, meaning ratepayers will be spared some of the ongoing costs of managing Gold Coast beaches,” he said.
And while the current shoal in the Seaway enhances the surf quality at ‘The Other Side’, the Project Team said it was working on a solution that seeks to ensure that dredging of sand for the navigation channel can be harvested with minimal impact on the surf quality.
“We will be taking the proposal to the peak surfing bodies for their input in the coming weeks,” said Tim Poole.
The opportunity also exists to create new man-made dive sites that are better protected than existing sites. The Project Team plans to work with local diving bodies on this.