World champion surfer Mick Fanning will join a paddle-out protestagainst a major cruise ship terminal and casino development that campaigners say would threaten a renowned surfing spot on the Gold Coast.
Fanning has called on other surfers and beachgoers to oppose the development on Sunday, January 19, at North Kirra. The demonstration has been organised by the Save our Southern Beaches Alliance.
The move comes after a $2bn proposal from developer Bob Ell’s Leda Holdings to build a seaport and resort. The project is expected to span a kilometre of beachfront at Bilinga.
Fanning, a three-time world surfing champion, has asked Gold Coast residents to support the protest.
“Everyone who is concerned about the cruise ship terminal please show up and have your voice heard. This is a community stand, so if you surf or just enjoy the beach as it is, let’s make a statement,” he said.
Fanning says the development could pose risks to the pristine coastline at Kirra.
“This will affect the whole Gold Coast, not only just the local area,” he said. “One question is: how will the sand flow get around this monstrosity to replenish the beaches north?”
Jim Wilson, chairman of the alliance, has written an open letter to theQueensland premier, Campbell Newman, condemning the proposal.
“These public foreshores, beaches, waterways and ocean are areas that belong to all Australians,” he said. ”It is an important feature of our culture and lifestyle … that they remain accessible to all.”
Kirra beachgoers have successfully resisted developments in the past. In 2009 more than 1,500 surfers paddled out to protest against damage caused to the break after boulders were removed from part of the coastline. The campaign led to $1.5m in compensation to fix the break.
Comment has been sought from Leda Holdings.