The Gold Coast is a step closer to delivering a unique floating artificial reef that will attract tourists from all over the world. Last March, contractors handed in their visions for the new underwater wonderland. Everyone waited excitedly to see the ideas from the potential builders. Mayor Tate’s priority was nature. “The material has to attract marine life so that when we go down, we can say hello to all of the critters that live there.”
The Coast Dive Precinct is projected to bring $32.8 million into the region’s economy in the first 10 years of operation.
New Reef Attraction
The new tourist draw card is 3.5 km south-east of the seaway and 2.5 km offshore from Main Beach, at a depth of 30 m. Said Mayor Tate, “With 220 diveable days per year, this will be a unique attraction luring divers from across the world. It will offer something for all certification levels. From those who can descend to 8 m, right down to 30 m. A dive precinct will generate 166,543 new overnight visitors. It will inject an estimated $32.8 million into the region’s economy during the first 10 years of operation. We’re ready. The dive industry is ready. And the tourism and business sectors are waiting.
“The Gold Coast has delivered many world firsts. And this floating reef will take its place as an iconic eco-tourism experience unrivalled on a global scale.The floating reef will establish itself instantly as a must-do or bucket list experience when you are on the Gold Coast. Divers will be able to swim around and through the floating reefs. Over time, it will become covered in marine growth, attracting schools of fish and other species.”
Last month, Mayor Tom Tate and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon awarded the contract to Australian company Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd to deliver the City’s dive attraction.
What a Concept
The concept design is made up of nine buoyant ‘sculptural reef flutes’. These flutes are individually tethered to the seafloor by reinforced concrete and steel pyramids. They will create living sculptures, standing 16-20 m above the ocean floor.
Furthermore, Ms Scanlon said the artificial dive site would create 18 jobs during construction and 82 jobs once operational. “Today is a huge milestone. To see this project come to life will be a dream come true for many tourism operators on the Coast.” Renowned Queensland artist Daniel Templeman worked on the reef sculptures. He has brought his creative interpretation to the marine engineering capabilities offered by Subcon Technologies. It will undergo further design development in consultation with the dive industry reference group.
A Project by Subcon
Subcon Technologies have delivered more than 20 industrial-scale engineered reefs in Australia and abroad. Primarily for habitat restoration, diving, and recreational fishing. This will be their largest artistic reef. It will combine innovative technology and engineering methods to create a thriving ecosystem in a harsh marine environment. Other artificial reefs delivered by Subcon Technologies include Simpson and Hardy reefs in Hervey Bay and Turner reef off Scarborough. They are also responsible for the multiple installations off New South Wales, Darwin, Perth, Exmouth, and Mauritius.
Subcon Technologies CEO Matthew Allen said, “We’ve carefully incorporated features we know will rapidly recruit marine life, including fish, flora and reef invertebrates. It will be no time before the reefs are teeming with a diversity of marine life. This will create a living artwork of ecological ocean habitats.” Mr Templeman describes the dive attraction as “sculpture gardens, where simple geometric forms support the generation of marine life. The opportunity to create floating art for a floating audience is an exciting one.”
We just need to wait a little while longer for this project to be completed. Watch this space for more updates about this Gold Coast floating artificial reef! ■