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The Coomera River will be dredged for the first time in 15 years, opening up a superyacht ‘highway’ to the city, more jobs in the marine industry and the potential for tens of millions of dollars to be injected into the city’s economy.
The long-awaited dredging is expected to start in the middle of the year with the opening of a $3 million facility at Coomera which will, for the first time, safely treat and dispose of river sediment.
This new infrastructure will be a major economic boost for businesses in the area and the city. More jobs, more money spent on repairs by international super yacht owners, a boost for 65 businesses at the marine precinct and the other support industries that rely on them are just some of the spin offs that could be expected by the proposed dredging.
Hal Morris, chief executive of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA), said once final approvals had been secured, 314,000 cubic metres would be removed from the river over the next 10 years. This would ultimately would create a highway for international super yachts and other larger vessels to the Coomera Marine Precinct. “After 10 to 15 years of uncertainty about what to do with dredging spoils, I am delighted that we finally have an answer,” he said.
The international super yacht market is currently worth $2.8 billion a year and at the moment, the Gold Coast secures only 1 per cent of this. This is expected to increase significantly once these vessels can safely navigate the Coomera River.
The average value of a super yacht is between $6 million and $9 million, and owners spend 10 per cent of the total value of the boat on repairs every year. That’s $600,000 for each $6 million boat. The owners of the 150ft-plus vessels are among the top 5 per cent income earners in the world, and if they visit the Gold Coast, it opens up opportunity for business development and investment by them.
Mr Morris said critical dredging of the river would also have an impact on flood mitigation by increasing river capacity and allowing for easier transfer of stormwater.