Jewel becomes beacon of hope for the Gold Coast
THE expected approval within weeks of the $1 billion Jewel resort in Surfers Paradise is being hailed as a turning point for the battling Gold Coast.
With the city skyline between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta devoid of cranes for the first time in 30 years, developers scared off by the previous obstructionist council are reportedly now dusting off sidelined projects.
As revealed by the Bulletin yesterday, Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has “called in” the Jewel project, which had been stalled by litigation, and will decide by next month whether it will go ahead.
Mr Seeney said the project was just too important to the local and state economy to let it become bogged down in legal action.
Although approved by the Gold Coast City Council, the development of three highrise buildings, including a resort hotel, apartments, office and retail space, had been dragged into the Planning Court by two Brisbane-based families who did not want it built near their holiday homes.
City planning boss Cameron Caldwell said the development was expected to create 2500 jobs during construction and 700 ongoing.
“We have been told there are no cranes between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta for the first time in 30 years,” Cr Caldwell said.
“There is a strong signal from this one development that it will get things going.
“It may well prove to be a turning point.
“This will mean we can cut through the red tape and stop being bogged down in litigation and get it started.”
Veteran developer Norm Rix, who staged some spectacular battles with the previous council over impediments to his developments, said the State Government’s intervention would get things started on the Gold Coast again.
One of Mr Rix’s more notorious feuds erupted when the previous council demanded he give up six lots of land worth about $1.2 million to protect “five dead trees” in Coomera.
He said the new council was now moving to address the problems and his development was “shovel-ready”.
“The Gold Coast is in a lot of trouble,” Mr Rix said. “We have never had it so bad.
“The new council and the new State Government are moving in the right direction . . . the future looks much brighter now than it did 12 months ago.”
Mr Seeney will now be the sole decision-maker on the project and has 20 business days to make a decision.