Surfing wave pool idea floated for Mackay region

Council is dipping its toe into the water to test if there is any commercial interest in developing a surfing wave pool in the Mackay region.

An ordinary meeting today resolved to call expressions of interest for the construction and operation of a surfing wave pool facility.

The expression of interest (EOI) process will help council identify any options that may be suitable for the Mackay region.

Tenders could then be invited from shortlisted EOI respondents. However, this EOI process does not commit council to a tender process.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the possibility of a wave pool had been raised by councillors during the current term of council.

He said an initial business and feasibility case prepared in 2017-2018 provided some information around the benefits and costs of a surfing wave pool for Mackay.

“Wave pool developments are still relatively new in Australia,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“Therefore, information about usage, effective business models and construction and ongoing operational costs is very limited,’’ he said.

“This lack of information makes financial modelling difficult and that is compounded by the variety of wave pool designs available.

“This EOI process will give council a clearer understanding of any options which might be suitable for our region.”

Cr Ross Gee, a proponent of a surfing wave pool for Mackay, said the vision was for a world-class facility offering a new recreation and sporting experience for residents and tourists.

“Such a complex would offer surfing and other water-based activities in a safe and family-friendly environment,’’ he said.

“This EOI process could identify any sites which might be suitable. At the end of the day, any business model would need to be financially sustainable and not a burden on ratepayers.”