Gold Coast casino canned: What now for the Southport Spit?

Gold Coast casino canned: What now for the Southport Spit?

Gold Coast casino canned: What now for the Southport Spit?

Updated 2 August 2017, 6:45 AEST

The Queensland Government has cancelled a plan to build a casino on the Gold Coast Spit, so what now for the iconic parcel of land?

The Queensland Government has cancelled a plan to build a casino on the Southport Spit, so what now for the iconic parcel of land?

The State Government shocked business groups on Tuesday by terminating a contract with Chinese consortium ASF, which had planned a five-tower development on crown land that included the casino, entertainment venues, theatres, hotels and residential apartments.

A new master plan will be developed instead to set out a vision for the future of the land.

But industry and community groups are likely to continue butting heads as new options emerge.

For example, are cafes, shops and hotels still on the table, or should the area be preserved for parkland space?

More development needed: industry group

Industry groups hope the Government will encourage more development in the area.

Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce president Martin Brady said he would like to see parts of the foreshore developed into an entertainment precinct that would include shops and restaurants.

"You would think it would have to be something along the entertainment lines based on the area it's in," he said.

"There hasn't been too many major projects, apart from the Commonwealth Games, on tourism infrastructure on the Gold Coast in a long time.

"We need to acknowledge we're not the only place in the world that has beaches. We are in a global environment. And so we need to make sure we have a competitive offering."

The Chamber of Commerce estimated the $3 billion project would have created about 13,000 jobs.

"It begs the question now, where will those jobs and those opportunities come from?" Mr Brady said.

"We need opportunities for people on the Gold Coast be trained up in a career, like hospitality."

Protect the parkland: community alliance

Community group Save Our Spit Alliance ran a long campaign fighting against the project, and pressured the Government to protect the area's natural assets.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised height restrictions on The Spit would be capped at a three-storey limit.

Alliance spokesman Steve Gration he would like to see The Spit reserved for parkland community space.

"No other cities in Australia have this sort of 'tom boy' park area," he said.

"When you leave the dunes systems intact and leave it as a natural park, nature looks after itself.

"It's an egalitarian space that's available to everybody, no matter what their socio-economic background — they can find joy down here."

Will the Gold Coast still have a second casino?

Even though the Government knocked back a Casino on The Spit, the licence for an integrated resort development (IRD) is still on the table.

It means the development of another casino somewhere in the Gold Coast region is still possible.

But are there any takers?

The operators of the existing Star Casino on the Gold Coast, Star Entertainment Group, would not comment on whether they would apply for the licence.

But in statement it said the group was focusing "on our existing pipeline of developments".

"The Star Entertainment Group welcomes the decision by the Palaszczuk Government to develop a master plan for The Spit," the statement said.

"As a stakeholder with a significant investment in the area via the Sheraton Grand Mirage, we look forward to participating in those discussions and working to preserve the unique natural environment of The Spit."

The ASF Consortium did not respond to the ABC.

The State Government said in a statement it was conducting "market sounding to determine if there is an appetite for an IRD development in Queensland".

"If Government were to go to market, any new integrated resort development would need to meet our criteria, which includes a focus on expanding international tourism and the jobs and business opportunities that it brings," it said.