Plans For A Wavepark On The Central Coast
The land of bodyboarders, RSL’s and three World Tour surfers is potentially getting a new ‘tourist attraction’.
I never would’ve thought my sweet hometown of the Cenny Coast would be home to such innovation and progression like a wavepool! Wouldn’t it sit pretty next to Ploddy the dinosaur, while acting as a great acquaintance to other coastal icons such as Wambie Whoppers, Bluetounge stadium, and the Beachcomber hotel.
Sitting just under two hours north of Sydney, the Central Coast isn’t exactly a hotspot of activities outside of surfing, sinking beers, and other mostly illicit hobbies. Despite this, the coastal area thrives during holiday periods and relies heavily on tourism dollars which “brought $867 million in the economy for 2016”. A wavepool would undoubtedly add to this revenue, while also providing a number of jobs for the dole dependent surfers.
Additionally, the coast is home to three current World Tour surfers – Matt Wilkinson, Ace Buchan, and Wade Carmichael – and also produced surfing supercoach, Glen ‘Micro’ Hall. Whilst also being home to an abundance of bodyboarders who now spend their time regretting their formative years (myself included).
Kelly’s tech would be a perfect fit for the stagnant waters of Toukley’s Canton Beach!
Previously, in 2016 when ‘wavepools’ were a hotter topic than aerial-based events, the recently amalgamated Central Coast Council was in talks with URBNSURF about developing a pool in the region.
These plans unfortunately dissipated.
Just last night however, hopes and prospective plans for the development of a wavepark have being reignited. The subject was debated last night in council, and despite the proposal being “watered down” according to one councillor, the council has agreed to pursue the project as part of their Tourism Opportunity Plan.
According to The Daily Telegraph, councillors Bruce McLachlan and Jenny Pilon spearheaded the proposal and have the support of Tony Denny – a millionaire property investor within the region.
“The technology and industry is moving rapidly worldwide, and unless the Central Coast becomes an early mover in engaging the industry, the opportunity will be lost at another region,” Bruce told The Tele, and went on to name the urgency in beating the Hunter region to the idea.
“We do have land we can look at. Old Sydney Town has new Chinese owners, Darkinjung has major landholdings, plus council and Crown land sites can all be canvassed for possible locations.” Bruce continued. “I am asking council to identify a site not spend money. If we do this properly you will attract the private money and flush people out.”
Tony Denny had previously expressed interest in re-developing the Old Sydney Town and building a wavepark next to it, promising up to $10 million if the council were on board with the idea. Unfortunately for proponents, the council was uninterested. Despite this, Denny is still willing to invest if the potential for a park re-arises in the future.
“I certainly believe building an adventure/sports precinct on the Central Coast is a great idea,” Denny told the Express Advocate.
Stab High 2019 set for the home of Usain Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners.
At this stage the council is merely looking at potential land sites for the development of a park, with ambitions that an approved site will lend itself to sufficient private interest and subsequent investment. Bruce McLachlan rattled off names such URBNSURF and Kelly Slater’s Wave Co, although these are longshots. The council is also withholding any commitments to investing in the wavepool themselves.
The preliminary plan is scheduled to be presented to the council at the end of November.
“The Plan will include a shortlist of potential sites considered suitable for a wave park. A workshop will be conducted for Councillors to develop a policy for Council when considering unsolicited proposals for development on the Coast,” reads the Central Coast ‘s Council meeting highlights. “Mayor Jane Smith said Council needed to consider all opportunities to increase tourism on the Central Coast and that is what the Plan would deliver.”
Over the next month the council will seek appropriate land to build the park, while also seeking interest from potential investors. Although based on the Coast’s previous development history – a failed Chinese Theme Park, the world’s worst breakwater at The Entrance, and the M1’s never ending roadworks – it’s most likely the plans will peter out like the brain cells of regular Beery attendants.
In the meantime, locals will have to pray that the rains open up Avoca lagoon – the closest thing the coast has to an amusement park.
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