Kelly Slater Wave Company has been evaluating a number of sites across Australia for the development of its first Kelly Slater Wave Systems® project outside the United States. We think the Sunshine Coast is a natural home for this project, given its laid-back culture, surfing community as well as its pristine beaches and commitment to environmental sustainability. We believe our values and beliefs very much align with those of the Sunshine Coast region.
Following an exhaustive search, a 510 hectare site at Yandina Coolum Road, Coolum has been selected as the preferred location for the Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast development. Kelly Slater Wave Company, Consolidated Properites Group and Hutchinson Builders are attracted to this site based on their shared commitment to unlocking this site’s benefits for the community, such as significantly increasing accessible public open space through the dedication of untouched riparian wetlands, regenerated green open space and public waterways, restoration activities including improved wildlife habitat, flood management and water quality, and an environmental experience centre.
Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast is focussed on creating local benefits for the Sunshine Coast. The proposed development is expected to bring an economic benefit of $1.24 billion dollars to the local community and create approximately 10,000 jobs over the life of the project.
With the Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast development, we want to ensure we strike the right balance between economically viable development and sustainable growth for the Sunshine Coast. It is underpinned by a range of economic and community features that will attract more tourists to the region which in turn diversifies and strengthens the Sunshine Coast and Queensland economy.
It also means converting a degraded cane farm into a more accessible green environment for the community, delivering high-value eco-tourism and attracting more visitors to the region. We pride ourselves on delivering sustainable and ecologically sound projects and we look forward to supporting the local community.
Consolidated Properties Group (CPG) is the developer and Hutchinson Builders will look after construction. Both companies are Queensland based.
CPG is a world-class developer with deep local ties, having been in Queensland for over 40 years. CPG shares our vision, promotes sustainable development, and is focused on community engagement and delivering value to the community.
Hutchinson Builders, Australia’s largest family owned construction company, has been a stalwart of the industry in Queensland for over 100 years. Hutchinson Builder’s commitment to sustainability and to supporting jobs in the local communities where they are undertaking projects is well documented.
A Kelly Slater Wave Systems would anchor a broader tourism development precinct that will provide significant economic stimulus and local job creation. The project is proposed to include the development of a 6-star eco-lodge, event and training facilities, tourism accommodation, indigenous cultural experiences, a school, farm-to-plate cuisine and other food and beverage experiences, a micro-brewery, residential development, vast green public spaces, public waterways, beaches and an environmental experience centre. The level of investment for a project of this size, including the tourism precinct and a Kelly Slater Wave Systems, requires a complimentary development mix to ensure long-term viability.
We have said from the beginning that the project will require a residential component to make the overall project commercially feasible and deliver the broader economic, environmental and social benefits being proposed. We are working with the Local Council and State Government to determine what this could entail and how a completely integrated tourism development can be achieved.
The site covers over 500 hectares. The proposed development will cover approximately 25% of the site with 75% of the site being transferred back for public use through green open space, waterways, wetlands, and a community sports precinct. Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast is committed to sustainable development that protects and improves the natural environment. With the current wetland area being vastly improved, we believe returning this land to local communities will support a number of initiatives including Sunshine Coast’s Blue Heart initiative.
Given the scope of the proposal, the project requires certainty and effective planning decisions. We are currently working with the Local Council and the State Government to work out the most effective planning process to deliver certainty to the region, our investors, and facilitate the delivery of the project in a timely and effective way.
The Kelly Slater Wave Systems® technology makes surfing and spectating experiences available on demand. The wave, coupled with purpose built coaching and safety, provide the ultimate environment for surfing progression, competition and pure enjoyment. The Kelly Slater Wave Systems produce wave forms and sizes for all levels of ability and preferences and will complement the world class waves of the region.
Modelled upon the attributes of legendary ocean waves, the Kelly Slater Wave Systems creates a two-metre barrelling wave that travels over 600 metres yielding up to 40-second rides, which is rarely found in nature or other systems. Delivering both left and right hand waves for every style of surfer and every manoeuvre imaginable, the wave is, as Kelly Slater says, a marvel of modern technology, creating a personalised surfing experience that’s customisable for every skill level.
The demand for experiences at Kelly Slater Wave Company’s Surf Ranch facility in Lemoore, California currently outstrips supply with the facility sold out in 2019 and a large waiting list already for 2020. We are confident that our success in Lemoore can be appropriately replicated in Australia, however, we are conscious that the business model adopted in Australia may differ due to cultural differences and different spending patterns.
Whilst the exact business model is still being worked through, Kelly Slater Wave Company’s wave basin is designed to be a premium experience that provides world-class technology for both recreational and professional users alike. We are committed to creating a multi-user experience with a mix of professional events televised to a global audience, local board rider club events, community days, with a focus on short-term and day access.
Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast is committed to listening to the local community and relevant stakeholders. Once we have satisfied Government’s requirements, we believe we could be shovel ready and commence construction by October 2020 with the Kelly Slater Wave Company’s wave basin open from April 2022.
The Kelly Slater Wave Systems technology complements, not competes with the natural surf breaks of the Sunshine Coast. It also can provide the required infrastructure to ensure reliable waves as part of the 2032 Olympic Games, if they proceed in Queensland. The Olympic Games will be a unique and unprecedented opportunity to showcase surfing and its athletes to the world. We believe that using a predictable wave system for training would create an ideal environment to prepare for competition and maximise exposure for our sport.
KPMG conducted consultation with the community and stakeholders from September to November 2019. During the engagement period, all stakeholders were provided with information regarding the Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast, including the associated development required to make it commercially sustainable. Activities included:
- Approximately 50 1-1 meetings with key stakeholders
- A community forum with over 25 representatives from the local surfing community
- A meeting with SCEC and other interested organisations
- Presentation at the Future Tourism event with over 300 business / industry representatives
- Online survey sent to a random sample of the Sunshine Coast residents
- Online feedback tool that requested people to name their organisation and whether they supported or opposed the project – 173 responses received by 57 organisations
- Over a dozen letters of support and one letter of opposition
- An online poll run by the Sunshine Coast Daily with 52% of people believing Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast would be approved
- Media releases, tv, radio and interviews
Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast has received very positive feedback and support for the proposed development from the Sunshine Coast community. Reasons to support the project included:
- Tourism benefits – promoting the Sunshine Coast to the world
- Economic investment and employment – $1B and 10,000 jobs
- A solution to regenerating former (but now degraded) cane farm land
- Creating public open space and rejuvenated wetlands
- Supportive infrastructure for the Olympics bid 2032
- Low rise development
From the randomly selected 500 person survey:
- 31% of respondents that had heard of major tourism projects, could spontaneously recall the project
- 73% of respondents somewhat or strongly support the project (once a description was provided)
- Only 4% somewhat or strongly opposed the project
- 86% of people felt the project would be very or somewhat beneficial to the Sunshine Coast region
- Benefits to tourism was the biggest reason to support the project (88%)
Yes. However, only 4% of participants in the randomly selected 500 person survey somewhat or strongly opposed the development. Their concerns included:
- affordability for locals;
- a proposed inconsistency with the current planning scheme of the State Government;
- flood impacts;
- acid sulphate soils and environmental impacts; and
- potential traffic congestion in the Coolum region.
We investigated numerous potential sites across Australia and Coolum is the only parcel of land that has the features to provide a commercially viable opportunity supported by the necessary tourism and residential development. Analysis by demographer Bernard Salt has also identified the need for viable development opportunities north of the Maroochy River given there is currently very limited housing supply. Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast will support the Sunshine Coast Council’s objective to create a city centre at Maroochydore and mitigate the growing trend of a high proportion of the Sunshine Coast’s development being concentrated in the south, creating dormitory suburbs for Brisbane workers to commute from.
To mitigate any flood impacts, the proponent has engaged Dr Trevor Johnson, one of Australia’s leading hydraulic civil engineers, to provide expertise and advice to alleviate potential flood issues arising out of the development and how acid sulphate soils are treated. The proponent has agreed to comply with all of his recommendations.
The proponents have outlined that the project will anchor a broader tourism development that can provide significant economic stimulus and job creation. In order to deliver the public benefits of green open space and rejuvenated wetlands, the surf facility must be underpinned by broader commercial drivers such as an eco-lodge, training facilities, residential and tourist accommodation.
We acknowledge that should the development proceed, potential upgrades to the Sunshine Motorway off-ramps will need to be explored. We remain committed to working with the Council and State Government to contribute to a coordinated and holistic traffic management response. These upgrades have already been publicly notified by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
KPMG’s community consultation has been shared with the State Government and their feedback to date has been positive. We are currently working with the State Government to satisfy their requirements around the most appropriate planning process. We expect a decision to be made in the near future and remain committed to the Sunshine Coast and working alongside local businesses and communities to deliver this world class facility.