Second water park option 'shelved'

Village Roadshow have pulled out of plans to develop Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast into a world-class water theme park.
Village Roadshow have pulled out of plans to develop Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast into a world-class water theme park.
ALL plans to develop a theme park on the Sunshine Coast have been shelved.

Less than one day after Village Roadshow Limited withdrew its bid to develop a water park at Aussie World, Adventura, who had floated building a similar facility at Caloundra, said it did not have the funds to go ahead with its $110 million development.

Adventura project director Tony Long was hopeful Village might consider investing in the alternative. 

Mr Long said the development, which has been in planning for more than five years, required "a key partner”.

“We are more than happy to sit around the table with major stakeholders like the state and local governments and Village Roadshow to work out a way to get a major facility like this up-and-running as there is no doubt the Sunshine Coast needs it,” Mr Long said.

Adventura had been in discussion with Village to invest in the site prior to its announcement it would spend around $70 million transforming Aussie World into a major Wet‘n'Wild style theme park.

Village has still not given reasons for its shock withdrawal from the major development which would have employed more than 300 people, but there has been widespread speculation it was because of problems with Main Roads.

Mr Long said while he was not privy to the decision, he made them aware “four years ago of problems with the (Aussie World) site”.

He was adamant the Adventura site was the “best site” for a theme park on the Sunshine Coast.
Adventura lodged its application for the water park on disused cane land along Caloundra Road in December 2007, but withdrew it earlier this year after changes to the South East Queensland Regional Plan.

“When we lodged the application the state government was still reviewing the regional plan,” Mr Long said.

“In December 2008 the regulations (regarding the zoning of the land) changed which essentially improved our situation (for obtaining approval).

“We were buoyed with this news at the time as it showed support for what we were proposing to do. But because we lodged the application prior to the regulation changing the law applied retrospectively and we were forced to withdraw the application."

Mr Long said VRL wasn’t the only player able to invest in a site of this nature.

“Macquarie Bank also has a very large theme park operation – there is more than one player," he said.

“The two experienced players are Dreamworld (Macquarie) and Wet and Wild (VRL)”

It would cost Adventura “several hundreds of thousands of dollars” simply to lodge another application with the council.

Tourism Sunshine Coast CEO Russell Mason expressed his “bitter disappointment” over VRL’s decision.

He said he was aware Adventura was not going ahead, but he was certain there was a market for a theme park on the Sunshine Coast.

“It is something the region could really do with,” he said.

Deputy mayor Tim Dwyer also said he was disappointed with Village’s decision. 

He said it was a good site as it was zoned for a theme park where as the Adventura site was “outside the urban footprint and not zoned for this”.

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