It’s time to review the two environments to see what is making people concerned enough to say that Waiheke is in danger of moving towards being a mini Gold Coast. So here we go with a random selection of up-to-date stats:
Aspect Gold Coast Waiheke
Population (latest census) 590,000 8,500
Hospitals 5 (largest Southport 58,000 referrals) Nil
Visitors 10 million tourists a year ½ million?
Airport International, 2.5km r’way, 36K flights Nil, very limited commercial
Urban development 52 km (Coolangatta to Hope Island) Western end
Number of Golf Clubs 36 1 x 9 holes
Number of Bowling Greens 40 (actual clubs 23 but multiple greens) 1 @ Surfdale
Sports Grounds Around 50 2
Stadiums 3 (Carrara, Robina, Seagulls) Nil
Major Event Capability 2018 Commonwealth Games venue Nil
Recreational Parks/Reserves several national parks in hinterland small localised
Theme Parks/Entertainment 6 major, several minor seasonal and small
Shopping Centres 14, largest Robina with 360 outlets none
Cinemas 42 one
Marinas Over 20, plus canal backyard mooring Nil
Water Supply Hinze Dam 311,000 megalitres water resident rainwater supply
Roading M1 Motorway Coolangatta – Comara no logical comparison
Markets 6 large e.g. Carrara, several small one, Ostend
Comment It is clear the two communities have little in common. To match high rise development on the Gold Coast, here on Waiheke, requires a distance of Palm Beach to Great Barrier. Exaggeration does little to achieve a balanced discussion and a balanced solution to situations.
This propensity to exaggerate has become all too common on Waiheke. It is often a characteristic of Green and environmental pronouncements that can create needless concern. An island media supportive of imprecise statements is also being less than helpful.
So perhaps those wishing a more benign development here should turn their attention to Bribie Island north of Brisbane. This island is 70 km from Brisbane, has a land mass similar to Waiheke with a national park, a nautical environment and 16,000 residents. It may well offer a more intelligent model for the future structure of our island population and development. The Gold Coast does not.