Save Our Spit

Last week before departing for Saigon I attended the Save Our Spit rally. If you’re not from the Gold Coast you probably think that’s a fundraiser for a new Dune-inspired re-hydration technology. That’d be great and if the technology becomes available you can definitely count me in. Sadly it was actually a rally to save The Spit, our local beach spit, from being handed over to anyone with enough money to develop it into a cruise ship terminal.

(Sting in Dune spit suit. Sadly not connected with this blog in any way.)

No one can explain to me in simple terms why this proposal remains so attractive to every halfwit with an overcooked sense of  mandate but for some reason big ships in our little waterway is an idea that won’t let go. The new mayor of Lazy Town, Tom Tate, came to office opposed to the terminal but such is the lure of the mandate that he has now succumbed and wants nothing better for us than that we should become a harbour for seniors on boat.

(Lazy Town mayor.)

(Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate. It’s the same guy right?)

The Mojo was used as transportation of choice to said rally and when I arrived I said sarcastically to myself (because even my inner voice is satirical), “Save or spit…but we wouldn’t mind a little more parking please.” Turns out though that attendance of bicycles was quite high, higher perhaps than any event I’ve seen on the Gold Coast (if you discount events where everyone wears lycra). In my soccer club of over 500 members only three ride, and you’d think that soccer players were more than usually interested in health and fitness. (You’d be wrong of course. They’re more than usually interested in beer and cigarettes.)  There were more bikes in one place than I’d seen since I last had my collection all fully mobile (read: only in my imagination).

A good start but it didn’t prevent me from standing at the back of the rally making cynical and supposedly funny remarks at the expense of the speakers present. I’m a firm believer that no cause is made more important by being earnest about it and you can in fact support a cause while still having some fun. Besides, the piss-take is my default setting. Problem was the speakers were so well informed, so well spoken and so interesting that I found I lost my audience (read: myself) to the attention of the speakers. First up was a guy whose side of government actually supports this nonsense and he spoke to the topic with force and conviction and great clarity. Sadly it got better from there, with hardly a stray thought or befuddling logical leap for my satirical wit to jump on. It was inspiring stuff. Pretty soon I was ready to man the barricades and storm parliament. Or at the very least send someone a stroppy email. Or write a little blog piece.

(“We shall have terminals here, here and here. Or there. I dunno. It’s not like we’ve tested these ideas.”)

What was apparent from the crowd and the others present at the Spit was that the parking was only partially consumed by protesters and the rest was used by the people who normally use the Spit, the divers both recreational and tour based, the surfers, the fishermen, the weekend beer and beach bogans, the dog walkers and families, the tour groups of bemused Chinese, the boaties and jet skiers, the cyclists and the Mr Whippy vans. This is after all a spot so popular that on sunny days in summer there is a three kilometer traffic snarl daily.

Thankfully there were authorities there to police it. An announcement warned anyone parked over the bike lanes to move their car because a somewhat literal interpretation of the local bylaws was being rigorously enforced. As cyclists are so often overlooked, and indeed I have never been to the Spit when the bike lane wasn’t blocked somewhere,  I can only be grateful that our kind leaders chose this day to enforce my rights. I’ve no doubt it’ll be a turning point for us and if the terminal goes ahead then cyclists will be the first to benefit (you know, after all the vested interests have had their share…). Lord knows cycles are currently the only way off the Spit during peak times and with extra cruise ship traffic they’ll have to widen the lanes and ferry people via Cyclo. As a guide, I stopped at the shops on the way home and still beat my wife and her friend home, who were in a car, even though the last 8kms of the journey was in normal Sunday morning traffic running against the beach-going traffic.

As I rode home I reflected on the activity on the  Broadwater and wondered how a cruise ship might impact on existing tourism. As someone who has been working with a local tourism operator as their website guy I wondered how they and their clients could operate without the dive tours, kayak tours, fishing tours jet boat and jet ski tours, learn to surf companies and other sundry tourism ventures that rely on access to the Spit and its waters without a dirty great big boat being in the way. Truth is they probably couldn’t.

Oh well, at least we’ll have a birth for Lazy Town mayor and his pirates. Har har fiddley-dee.

Save Our Spit Website.
Save Our Spit Facebook.

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