“INVESTMENT and development is vital if the city wants to grow and establish itself as a world-class destination.

The Spit, which is an iconic piece of real estate on the Gold Coast, is gearing up for massive transformation, with high-profile companies recognising our wonderful city as a place to lay down roots.

Sunland Group has taken a leap back into the Gold Coast high-rise market with plans for a $600 million redevelopment of Mariner’s Cove.

The vision for the tired site incorporates a major aquarium compromising three separate tanks with species from three oceans, a 1000-seat convention centre, a five-star hotel, a retail and dining precinct, a floating park and a science and arts museum which is located under a sculptured roof.

Dubbed The Mariner, it is expected to bring in an additional 500,000 tourists to the city each year and the company says it will lay the groundwork for the city’s evolution as a world city.

Although it is yet to receive council approval, these are the sorts of projects that make the Gold Coast stand out on a world map.

Meanwhile, Chinese billionaire-backed empire Aquis has snapped up properties across the city and launched bold plans for major developments, including an integrated resort at The Sheraton Mirage.

Labor has also given ASF its blessing to develop an integrated tourism resort and casino on a vacant 5ha site south of Sea World and north of the fisherman’s co-operative. Details of the development are yet to be finalised with ASF expected to present its initial proposal in the first quarter of 2016.

If the city wants to grow and prosper, it must embrace projects like this and invest in developments and assets that move the city forward. If it doesn’t do this, the Gold Coast will remain at a standstill.

While there is still opposition surrounding the development of The Spit, these sort of projects and commitments only assist in forging the Gold Coast ahead as the Australian tourism capital and ideal residential destination.

The Spit is wasted land in its current state and has so much more potential. If we want to be taken seriously as a city then we need to give these developments the tick of approval and support them. We need to embrace development and new concepts.”