BROADIE AWAY WITH FER­RIES

Coun­cil wants new wa­ter­ways ser­vice to ex­tend to heart of en­ter­tain­ment precinct

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW POTTS

GOLD Coast City coun­cil­lors will to­day vote for the pro­posed ferry sys­tem to be ex­tended to the heart of Broad­beach and to make parts of the trial free for res­i­dents.

Coun­cil now wants the twoyear trial to in­clude 14 stops, not 12, and to cover an ex­tra 3km to take more cars off the roads, open up South Strad­broke Is­land to non­boat­ies and help bring more work­ers and tourists into the in­ner city.

GOLD Coast City coun­cil­lors will to­day vote for the pro­posed ferry sys­tem to be ex­tended to the heart of Broad­beach and to make parts of the trial free for res­i­dents.

Coun­cil now wants the twoyear trial to in­clude 14 stops, not 12, and to cover an ex­tra 3km to take more cars off the roads, open up South Strad­broke Is­land to non-boat­ies and help bring more work­ers and tourists into the in­ner city.

Un­der plans to be un­veiled to city lead­ers at coun­cil this morn­ing:

• The pro­posed route will start at Tip­plers on South Strad­broke Is­land and run to the Gold Coast Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre at Broad­beach. It will also travel west to Met­ri­con Sta­dium at Car­rara for ma­jor events. The other stops are: Couran Cove, Labrador, Wave­break Is­land, Doug Jen­nings Park, SeaWorld, South­port Pier, Mariner's Cove, Main Beach, Cav­ill Ave and the Home of the Arts at Evan­dale.

• The sys­tem will go to ten­der in March fol­low­ing a vote by coun­cil­lors. Fer­ries are ex­pected to carry pas­sen­gers from De­cem­ber next year.

• A grand launch will be held sim­i­lar to last De­cem­ber’s open day for the Gold Coast light rail’s sec­ond stage where res­i­dents will be of­fered a free trip. These trips are ex­pected to of­fered over a num­ber of week­ends through the hol­i­day pe­riod.

• The coun­cil has en­gaged a spe­cial­ist mar­itime con­sul­tant to con­duct a wash study on sec­tions of the Nerang River and canals where faster speeds will be re­quired.

If the new 14-stop route is ap­proved to­day, coun­cil will then con­sider hy­dro­log­i­cal re­ports and await the State Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion on how the fer­ries will in­te­grate with the city's ex­ist­ing pub­lic trans­port net­work.

Mayor Tom Tate said he was con­fi­dent fer­ries would be on the wa­ter this time next year.

“I am con­fi­dent more than ever that this will fi­nally be de­liv­ered af­ter 20 years of con­ver­sa­tion,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one knows I have met with the Min­is­ter and the pub­lic un­der­stand we are work­ing hand in glove on this.

“It will help in de­con­gest­ing traf­fic from South­port, Main Beach and The Spit and in do­ing that it will be the best way of util­is­ing our world-renowned wa­ter­ways.

“Ev­ery­one knows that tourism needs fur­ther of­fer­ings and though this is pub­lic trans­port, I be­lieve tourists will spend the day trav­el­ling on the ferry to dif­fer­ent stops and go up to The Spit for a bar­be­cue.”

If ap­proved at to­day’s meet­ing, a re­port will go be­fore coun­cil­lors in March as the fi­nal step be­fore ten­ders are called the same month.

The sys­tem has been pro­jected to take more than 3500 cars off the road.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands sev­eral com­pa­nies from NSW and Vic­to­ria have in­for­mally ex­pressed an in­ter­est in ten­der­ing for the project.

The coun­cil is hop­ing to se­cure cut­ting-edge so­lar cata­ma­rans that will be able to make the 16km jour­ney in about 40 min­utes while trav­el­ling at speeds of up to 12 knots.

Un­like Bris­bane’s 22-year-old Ci­tyCat de­signs, newer fer­ries have the po­ten­tial to travel faster but cre­ate sig­nif­i­cantly less wash, less­en­ing the po­ten­tial for caus­ing dam­age to revet­ment walls along the Nerang River.

The Gold Coast Bul­letin re­vealed the re­vived ferry pro­posal in July. Weeks later it was backed by the Gold Coast Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity.

Un­der the plan, the coun­cil would pro­vide dock in­fra­struc­ture, the De­part­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads would in­te­grate its timeta­bles into the city’s pub­lic trans­port net­work and the wa­ter­ways au­thor­ity would over­see the ten­der and con­tract.

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