A GOLD Coast cableway would travel from Mudgeeraba to Springbrook and could cover a route that does not require an expensive buy-up of private land, according to a report to council.

But the city's next biggest mooted tourist attraction, above a heritage-listed rainforest, is guaranteed to be divisive, and will create debate about funding models with no new proponent on the horizon.

The cableway — flying again as a Gold Coast tourist project.
The cableway — flying again as a Gold Coast tourist project.

A prefeasibility report to council by a private consultant will consider the social and environmental costs of a cableway compared to the economic benefit.

The Bulletin understands there is no doubt a positive economic impact was "achievable" for the project from a tourism viewpoint.

The cost is likely to be as much as $130 million but a super majority of councillors are unlikely to have the appetite for ratepayer money to be used in a joint private-public ownership model.

Council sources suggest there are no new proponents other than the previous consortiums - Naturelink's proposal for Springbrook that sparked green protests two decades ago and a rival group's plan for Tamborine Mountain.

Opponents of the cableway stage a protest in 2015 — the project will be divisive. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS
Opponents of the cableway stage a protest in 2015 — the project will be divisive. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

Some councillors are being backgrounded on the report, which should be debated on return to the cycle of committee meetings next month.

"A consultant was engaged and has completed their work," Mudgeeraba-based councillor Glenn Tozer said. "Officers will compile a report based on the consultant's report. It is a pre-feasibility report and intended to be provided to possible proponents."

The consultants had considered potential routes for the cableway and specifically looked at Mudgeeraba to Springbrook.

Cr Tozer acknowledged it was possible for a cableway to be built across terrain that was not privately owned preventing the need for a costly buy-up of land.

The hinterland attraction was "indeed possible with government support".

The magnificent views from Springbrook.
The magnificent views from Springbrook.

Cr Tozer suggested that, like with most major projects, it could be made economically feasible with the right compromises.

"Important questions remain regarding the impact of a cableway on the existing Springbrook economy and its small businesses, the environmental and disaster preparedness impact should remain front of mind, and there is a social impact reality that must be considered as we count the cost of advancing the project," he said.

"I remain focused on other achievable and deliverable projects at this time but I have no doubt 2021 will see the cableway issue openly, and hotly, debated. Are the necessary compromises too much? We will see."

Glenn Tozer — the Gold Coast is supportive of “big ideas”. Picture: Jerad Williams.
Glenn Tozer — the Gold Coast is supportive of “big ideas”. Picture: Jerad Williams.

Early community feedback to council refloating the project suggests strong opposition remains to the cableway in Springbrook but support builds further away from the mountain.

"I think the Gold Coast community is generally supportive of 'big' ideas - that's part of our culture as a city," Cr Tozer said.

"But as more information becomes available regarding the financial, social and environmental cost of a project, Gold Coasters are intelligent enough to scrutinise those ideas that are most suitable for our city."

 

Purlingbrook Falls at Springbrook. Picture Glenn Hampson.
Purlingbrook Falls at Springbrook. Picture Glenn Hampson.

 

A council source said the biggest challenge would be dealing with extra waste issues on the mountain, making the project's feasibility much different to the Kuranda skyrail.

"There's the toilets. You have to bring all that stuff down from the mountain," the source said.

"It's an extremely fragile ecosystem. It's world-heritage listed. World-heritage listed is more valuable than a cablecar."

 

 

 

paul.weston@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

Originally published as What Gold Coast cableway would cost


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