Chorus of support for Surf Lakes going public
IT must have felt like Christmas had come early for many locals when news emerged that Surf Lakes had begun the process of making their Capricorn Coast wave-generating prototype open to the public.
Opening the research and development facility to the public promises to be a windfall for the community and attract a massive influx of tourists into the region.
Some of the key stakeholders, including Capricorn Enterprise's Chief Executive Mary Carroll and local politicians, have had an active role in supporting the project to become a reality, and are greatly encouraged by the vast tourist-attracting potential of the venture opening its doors to the public.
Ms Carroll said her organisation had supported the Surf Lakes proposal since its inception, brokering the first meeting between founder Aaron Trevis and (now Acting CEO) Brett Bacon of Livingstone Shire Council, to secure permission for the current site to be used as a prototype.
"Past and present Councillors have also been very supportive of the project both in its prototype phase as well as a future commercial site for public use," Ms Carroll said.
"Obviously Surf Lakes needs to undertake the necessary Material Change of Use requirements of any commercial development which can be costly, particularly when a state agency such as the Department of Main Roads is involved, so I would hope that the regulatory processes and fees do not prevent a potentially brand new major tourist attraction coming to our destination."
She was very excited about the prospect of attracting an entirely new audience.
"Wavepools around the world have proven to be major drawcards for locals and visitors," she said.
"Already, the Surf Lakes prototype has attracted many famous faces and investors to our destination to witness its ability - these people would not otherwise have visited this area.
"I recall the first visit by 'Occy' (Mark Occhilupo) and his family to the Capricorn Coast about three years ago when we helped Aaron Trevis host over 40 potential investors from Hawaii, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne - we held a lunch at the Waterline Restaurant KBM, followed by a beefing at Beaches, Rosslyn Bay Resort and the visitors were blown away with the destination in the short time they were here."
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said Surf Lakes was a great example of a world class project able to be built with local construction partners on the Capricorn Coast, with the co-operation of all levels of government.
"I'd be happy to have a meeting with (Surf Lakes media and marketing director Wayne Dart) and provide him with information on any potential upcoming or current grant programs that could assist him and the Surf Lakes project," Ms Landry said.
"I'd also be happy to refer Wayne to representatives from the NAIF."
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga was greatly encouraged by Surf Lakes' potential as a tourism drawcard.
"It's always exciting to see new holiday experiences in our region that stack up financially, environmentally and that are ready to go with all of their approvals in place," Ms Lauga said.
"Our strong health response has kept Queenslanders safe from COVID and that means we can fast-track our economic recovery.
"With the international borders closed, were expecting to so see a lot Queenslanders and southern visitors - who may have travelled overseas - instead coming to CQ to find their own special slice of Keppel.
"I am always happy to work with local businesses to connect them with staff from Tourism and Events Queensland to help them maximise their economic contribution to the region and create local jobs."
Livingstone Shire Council mayor Mayor Andy Ireland said Council had enjoyed some high level discussions with the Surf Lakes Team relating to concepts and what-ifs.
"Council would be delighted to receive a Development Application from Surf Lakes, however this is ultimately a decision for the company," Cr Ireland said.