New plans for Ocean Park, a 140-hectare greenspace slated for development on the Gold Coast, feature a host of green infrastructure systems designed to support “ecological diversity” in this public open space.
Endorsed by environmental groups, Ocean Park’s sustainability features include water recycling systems and green infrastructure that will “supply an almost unlimited amount of recycled water to create and maintain a Central Park-style green open space for all Gold Coasters to enjoy,” according to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
Part of a multi-million-dollar plan to revitalise The Spit, at the northern end of Main Beach on the Gold Coast, Ocean Park will transform 140 hectares of the region and include a 4000sqm restored littoral rainforest, a light rail extension to Sea World, an Aboriginal cultural centre, a super-yacht marina, and improved cycle and walkways through the dunes, as well as an underwater sculpture garden for divers and a “selfie tower” that allows tourists and local to get the best shots of the Gold Coast skyline.
According to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the planned open space will be eight times the size of Brisbane’s South Bank parklands, 12 times the size of the public spaces in Barangaroo, Sydney, and two-and-a-half times the size of Mt Coot-tha’s Botanic Gardens. “Our plans will make this not just a jewel of the Gold Coast but for the entire state,” said the Premier.
Fundamental to the integrity of Ocean Park is the aim to “protect and enhance its natural assets and coastal parkland.” An integrated water recycling system will collect and treat surface water to improve water quality and leverage recycled water for natural area plantings. Other features include plans to protect and enhance terrestrial and marine biodiversity and rejuvenate and revegetate the coastal dunes in the north of the Federation Walk Coast Reserve to “maintain their stability and resilience to natural events”.
The park’s plans state, “Dunes are an important part of the beach system and provide a reserve of sand for the beach during storm events. The condition of dunes is therefore important to the resilience of the reserve to natural events.”
The state government’s draft masterplan also makes provisions for limited commercial development, but restricts the height of buildings to three storeys at the request of the Gold Coast City Council. As well as height restrictions, buildings must also cater to the subtropical climate and incorporate water sensitive design elements; such as extended roofs, window awnings and devices to collect and reuse rainwater and wastewater.
The current draft plan is the result of 18 months of consultation with community groups and Gold Coast City Council, and will remain open for further discussion until the end of March before plans are finalised.
If plans proceed, the development is expected to create more than 1000 jobs and boost tourism in the region.