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AN overwhelming majority of residents, businesses and tourists support taller buildings on The Spit but they fear further traffic congestion and the area becoming a concrete jungle like Surfers Paradise.
Independent research by consultants Colmar Brunton for the State Development found nearly 80 per cent of people support one or more taller buildings for the area south of Sea World, Main Beach.
Half the respondents also believe seven or more storeys is acceptable for development in the Broadwater.
But only if traffic issues can be addressed and the development creates jobs.
After interviews with 1500 residents, 400 businesses and more than 400 holiday-makers, the consultants found:
● An initial divide in opinion about development of The Spit and Broadwater with 36 per cent of people not favourable.
● About 27 per cent of people were extremely favourable to development and another 37 per cent “not as strong in their opinion”.
● Employment opportunities were regarded the biggest benefits from development with 41 per cent support.
● About one in five regard 21 or more levels as acceptable for The Spit and Broadwater area.
Key findings also include The Spit needs a clean-up and another bridge from Southport would help solve traffic gridlock.
The Coast received a massive livability tick in the survey results, the northern end was favoured compared to the south and more than a quarter of businesses supported a cruise ship terminal.
Respondents to the survey advised consultants that they had to “move with the times” and agree to development, adding that “we just have to be smart about it”.
A respondent in a group feedback session said: “You worry. You tend to consider the worst outcome, which in this case would be for the whole Spit to become a concrete jungle and another Surfers Paradise.
“We don’t need that or want that specifically. We have that just up the road anyway.”
However, the support for development occurred against a backdrop of concerns about the future impact on traffic and parking and the natural environment.
In a surprise finding, residents (37 per cent), businesses (26 per cent) and tourists (50 per cent) voted that the natural environment was what they loved about the Glitter Strip and walking to the beach.
The Palaszczuk Government is opposed to development on the northern end of The Spit and the City Plan allows for only three-level buildings in the south.
The ASF consortium is about 18 months away from its $3 billion integrated resort on a 5ha site south of Sea World being fully assessed by the Government.
While ASF is negotiating for towers of up to 45 storeys, council officers in September last year recommended against Sunland’s proposed two 44-level towers at Mariner’s Cove.
The survey found there is acceptance for building levels to go beyond the current heights standards for The Spit.
In terms of buildings up to six levels, 43 per cent of tourists gave their support, followed by 30 per cent of residents and 38 per cent of businesses.
If the number of structures was kept within reason — 65 per cent of the community agreed to buildings between one and 10 levels — then much clearer support emerged for taller buildings.
“The introduction of a few very smartly designed towers with usable lifestyle precincts for all visitors would be great,” a survey respondent said.
By Paul Weston
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