The Sunshine Coast has two thrilling wave park proposals in play with one emerging the frontrunner to become the region’s first major new tourist attraction in more than three decades.
For almost five years now, Sanad Capital has gained approvals and been quietly shaping and refining its vision for an integrated family resort, water park and wave pool along Steve Irwin Way at Glenview.
The 160-villa resort will be called Invigorate, the water park Actventure and wave pool Endless Surf.
Elements include “multi-generational’’ villas and glamping, a host of free fall, raft and tube slides up to 14m high, food and retail “bringing some new big Australian players’’, a microbrewery, open air cinema and array of water-based activities, including stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
Proponents say Endless Surf, while always part of the long-range plan, is now drawing closer to reality after securing the expertise of international surf pool specialists WhiteWater.
They say the timing is perfect for their $65 million-plus attraction due to the staycation trend supercharged by the pandemic.
Just 20km away, Surf Parks Australia wants to create a wave park on the western side of prominent Bruce Highway stop, Moby Vic’s, at Glass House Mountains.
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As revealed by sunshinecoastnews.com.au, Surf Parks Australia lodged its application in late December last year.
Its application is for a material change of use that would allow two rural-zoned parcels to be developed as a Tourist Attraction (Surf Park).
“The proposal will deliver a holistic surfing experience, including a wave pool and associated amenities, a wellness centre featuring yoga and meditation, paddock to plate food and beverage, ocean and marine protection education, learn to surf classes and surf coaching,’’ the application says.
The application states that the site is perfectly suited to the proposal, which represents “a regionally significant tourism development that will enhance the Sunshine Coast’s tourism brand and reputation’’.
Sunshinecoastnews.com.au understands the first artificial wave at this attraction could be ridden around mid 2023 if everything goes to plan.
A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said this application was impact accessible and would require public notification as part of the assessment process.
The spokesman said Sanad’s proposal on Steve Irwin Way had a number of land use approvals already in place and two current applications under consideration.
“In April 2015, council approved the first application to create the Sunshine Coast Water Park Master Plan over the site,’’ he said.
“This was intended to guide future development applications for a major tourist attraction/s and short-term accommodation on the site.
“Bulk earthworks and a number of land use applications have since been approved, including a resort complex and tourist attraction.’’
Council is also currently assessing an application to alter an existing approved resort complex and tourist attraction, which requests to modify the resort complex layout and staging.
“Council also received an application on 25 May 2021 for a tourist attraction (Water Park/Wave Pool) over the balance of the site, which is currently under assessment. This application is code assessable and does not require public notification.’’
Sanad managing director Bradley Sutherland said there were only a few minor alterations to work through with council and stage one of his development would soon be underway, possibly by the end of the year.
Mr Sutherland said the funding had been cemented and work could begin on Invigorate Resort and Actventure in late 2021 and it could open by Christmas 2023.
“We now want to start Endless Surf earlier than first expected and this could be completed late 2023 or early 2024,’’ Mr Sutherland said.
“We believe the combination of our resort, water park and wave pool will be a winner – and the timing is perfect for such a major attraction,’’ he said.
Mr Sutherland said stage one would cost about $65 million and the wave pool alone in stage two would cost about $15m.
He said a new economic benefit analysis, completed June 1, showed that Invigorate Resort would support some 50,000 room nights annually, attract 85,000 overnight guests and generate $16.5m in expenditure.
“Actventure waterpark, Invigorate Resort and Endless Surf would generate direct and indirect flow-on or benefits in the order of $65m per annum to the Sunshine Coast economy,” the report stated.
“They would form a Major Attraction, further increasing the relative appeal of the Sunshine Coast for overnight visitors and day trippers alike.
“Invigorate will bring a level of hotel and investment in tourist accommodation that (previously) has been directed to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and other areas of South East Queensland.’’
It looks set to become the Sunshine Coast’s first new major themed attraction in 32 years, with the history of Aussie World and SEA LIFE dating back to 1989, the Big Kart Track to 1983 and Australia Zoo to 1970, when it was the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park.