The $90 million wave park and tourist development proposed for the Sunshine Coast has today been given the green light from the local Sunshine Coast council, with the developers (Waterplay Pty Ltd) now hoping to commence construction within the next twelve months.
The Sunshine Coast Council has approved the project site’s Material Change of Use (MCU) application today, a major hurdle passed, but the proposal still has to pass several other approval processes including environmental approvals. It is reported that only one single councillor opposed today’s ruling.
The site is looking to be the first installation of Australian developed linear surf wave pool technology. Last year, Sydney-based developer Greg Webber signed a Memorandum of Understanding with David Baird, spokesperson for developers Waterplay Pty Ltd, to build the first of his Webber Wave Pools.
While static wave simulators are installed at attractions and waterparks around the world, a number of developers, including multiple surfing world champion Kelly Slater, have sought to develop an authentic surfable wave in a wave pool environment. Using a hull, or ‘foil’ that displaces water and sends a wake that forms a sustained wave breaking down the inner edge of the pool, Webber has been developing this technology for over a decade.
The Sunshine Park installation will be a significant move forward for his technology, coming at a time when overcrowding of popular natural surf breaks is highlighting that surfing potentially needs artificial attractions for both the recreational and sport-based aspects of surfing to expand and develop without the impacts associated with overcrowding and the dreaded mainstream media beat-ups over what they call ‘surf rage’. The proposed pool was last reported to be planned to be 160 metres long by 80 metres wide, which will make 1.6 metre waves with clean barreling rides of around 15 seconds.
The development has already received high level support from within Council, local tourism authorities, from Surfing Australia as well as other local tourist attractions and residents who are all keen to see the park realised. The developers will now commence detailed masterplanning for the project which will include finalising the configuration of all elements within the park, technical specifications and the proposed staged construction timetable. Sunshine Park will provide a welcome economic and employment boost for the region. The project’s independent economic report states that there could be up to 430 jobs created in the construction period with approximately 250 jobs during operation. The value-added economic benefit to the Sunshine Coast region during the construction and operational period has been estimated at over $50 million. Sunshine Park will offer a world-class tourism, recreation, retail, event and accommodation experience for the enjoyment of locals and visitors and complement the existing tourism offer on the Sunshine Coast.