Gold Coast fires up over Chinese casino resort

The Gold Coast will welcome a new Swissotel hotel.

A $3 billion mega-casino resort planned to be built on the Gold Coast, backed by the Chinese government, is under fire for failing to provide specific details of the development during the crucial public consultation period.

Veteran developer Norm Rix, who was last year inducted into the Gold Coast Business Hall of Fame, says the Queensland government is providing “piecemeal, filtered” and “inadequate” information to the public about the project to “mitigate any ­realistic assessment of the proposal”.

“The current consultation process … provides nothing more than marketing material from (developer) ASF to ‘sell’ the project,” Rix says.

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“There is no ability for the public to adequately appraise its impacts upon the city and its residents.”

Earlier this month the Queensland ALP government completed a “public consultation” canvassing opinions from residents about the project — proposed for the Southport Spit between Sea World and ­Palazzo Versace — despite failing to provide basic information about the plans.

Neither the government nor developer ASF Consortium has stated the number of apartments to be built or the height of the high-rise towers, beyond simplistic “artist impression” drawings.

Developer Norm Rix Gold Coast

Developer Norm Rix says there is inadequate information about the proposal.

Further fuelling claims of ­deliberate poor transparency, the two-page questionnaire respondents were asked to fill out about the casino project made no reference to the word “casino”.

Rix, who is also a former Gold Coast city councillor, is joined by a string of other Gold Coast businesspeople who are opposed to the project, which they argue is ill-conceived and being improperly facilitated by the state government.

Save Our Broadwater chairman Alan Rickard, also a former Gold Coast councillor, who served as council chairman of economic development for 10 years, says the Gold Coast City Plan signed last year after extensive consultation set a maximum building height of three storeys on The Spit, while ASF is seeking to build towers “50 storeys high”.

“When I was on council, Sea World wanted to put in a rollercoaster which went a little above three storeys and there was a huge outcry. Now someone comes in and 50 storeys seems to be OK,” Rickard says.

Gold Coast businessman David Hutley, president of the Main Beach Association, says he and many of his associates who were “of business pedigree and not a bunch of greenies” are also angered by what they see as extremely poor community consultation.

“I haven’t seen too many proposals which are as flimsy as this,” Hutley says.

When asked to provide The Weekend Australian with specific details of the proposal, the office of Queensland Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham was unable to do so. Dr Lynham declined to be interviewed.

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