The original, and the best (maybe cause it's the only one). Photo by Lyon Herron
More Details On Queensland's $1 Billion Surf Ranch Proposal
A six-star eco resort, restaurants, bars and an environmental education centre all alongside the pool.
It was around a fortnight ago when the media release regarding a Sunshine Coast surf ranch was made public, the first surf ranch proposed outside of North America. We're all very familiar with the Lemoorian pool, and a few of us are familiar with other proposals – such as that in Florida – which fell by the wayside. So let's focus on some of the details about KS Wave Co's latest endeavour near Coolum on Queenland's, Sunshine Coast.
Firstly, according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald Article, its no wave park; It's a $1.1 billion surf stadium and resort. Gone are the days of the Flowrider at Dreamworld been a place to spend an hour of your day, the modern day wavepool plans to suck you in for the entire weekend.
The WSL, who owns the majority of the Kelly Slater Wave Co, has partnered with the developer Don O’Rorke's who runs Consolidated Properties to work on the project. So, while the 'development' will be based around the body of water and inland waves propelled by a 700-ish metre hydrofoil, that won't be the most expensive nor only attraction at the facility.
The park will accomodate a six star 'eco resort', 200 rooms for accomodation, bars, food, a retail village and an "environmental education centre based on the site's wetlands and nearby waterways." according to the SMH article. The pool will also hold up to 20,000 people in the stands, significantly more than the seating available at Lemoore.
While bringing local surfers to the pool is of course one of the planned park's main aims, the 20,000-plus seating plan isn't just for the wife and kids to watch from. As hinted at by Andrew Stark, the GM of Oceania's WSL department, the pool is being built in the hope of holding events, in particular the Olympics — according to Stark, the facility would be "primed" for the 2032 Olympics. The only issue with that is that the Olympics was last held in Australia less than 20 years ago – Sydney 2000 – and building a wavepool still has us a long shot from a successful bid at having the once glorious games return to the shores of our relatively small nation.
At this stage the surf ranch hasn't moved past the proposal stage. If it is approved by the state government, the earliest any part aspect would be open is 2021. A spokesperson from the Sunshine Coast council however told the SMH that they only heard about the proposal earlier his year, and that no formal application has been lodged for the 510-hectare site near Coolum. Regardless, the council has no authority over the proposed development as it is ""on land situated outside the urban footprint on a site that is highly constrained" according to a statement. A detail which has many locals and environmentalists concerned about the potential damage the development might have on the local environment, in particular the adjacent wetland.
Despite the many hurdles still needing to be hopped before the proposal is seriously considered let alone approved, the namesake of the company, Kelly Slater threw in a handful of words behind the project. "I can't wait. The Sunshine Coast seems like a perfect place to start. There is a very healthy and deep surf community and I’m sure there will be no shortage of people ready to surf it." Kelly said.
"I don’t really know what impact it could have but surfing is a big sport in Australia and any advancements in the sporting side could potentially help the 2032 Olympics bid."
I'm sure we'll have more to tell you over the coming months, years, whatever, about whether this project will be get off the ground or not. In the meantime just look forward to Melbourne's pool which has been filled (where is my invite Rupe?) and should be open to the public very soon.
Alternatively you could just go and surf in the ocean, you know, for free.