Starting at the Tweed River and heading North, you'll find one of the most perfect, history-drenched and thrilling stretches of surf spots in the world. From Duranbah, and wrapping around the point at Snapper, down through Greenmount and then hitting the Groyne at Kirra, millions of life-changing waves have been ridden, unforgettable contest performances have been laid down, and careers have been made on the back of this coastal resource. But, right now, commercial interests are probing part of that stretch, posing a very real threat that may jeapordize the existence of this wave rich coastline.
Bob Ell is proposing a cruise ship terminal at Kirra. A ridiculous, unnecessary extravagance that will absolutely destroy one of surfing's holiest places. The 94-hectare monstrosity will be dumped right on the shore, which poses three areas of major concern: 1) Will the sand flow be able to head north and replenish the beaches cowering in the shadow of this proposed tourist trap? 2) Will the sea life in the area be unaffected and continue to survive at their current levels? Will the the surf spots, that attract hundreds of thousands of people annually, endure?
Now, this is quite like the film "Avatar", if Kirra was Pandora, Bob Ell was Parker Selfridge, and Mick Fanning was Jake Sully. Bob Ell, sees in this stretch of coast unfulfilled potential, and like any good capitalist, wants to make a buck where a buck can be made -- in this case, by destryoying the natural beauty of the coastline for the sake of a port. Mick Fanning, however, along with the majority of locals who reap the benefits of this coastal region, wants to preserve the land he so loves.
Mick is deeply connected to this part of the world, so you can imagine the passion, anger and frustration that the proposal of such a change would stir in the current world champ.
"A $2 billion cruise ship terminal idea was floated again at Kirra," he said. "So many things that are totally wrong about this whole idea. One, ruining our beaches by stopping natural sand flow to the northern Gold Coast that's already eroding. Two, pollution from the ships will be ridiculous and effect wildlife especially around whale migration season.Three, ruining the world class waves we have that also generate millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses. This will effect the whole Gold Coast, not just the local area."
Here is some factual information that'll make you cringe. The below excerpts were sourced from Oceana.org's U.S. Laws and Regulations, and illustrate just how loose environmental regulations on cruise ships are:
"The average cruise ship with 3000 passengers and crew generates about 30,000 gallons of human waste and 255,000 gallons of non-sewage gray water every day.
"Cruise ships are allowed to release treated sewage almost anywhere they sail. They are also permitted to release untreated gray water - non-sewage wastewater from galleys, dishwashers, baths, sinks, showers, and laundries - anywhere they sail, except Alaska.
"Cruise ships can also lawfully release untreated sewage, or black water, anywhere beyond three miles from the shore (except in vervain areas of Alaska).
"Cruise ships are required to have onboard waste treatment systems, known as marine sanitation devices (MSDs), the industry is required to keep logbooks of their discharges, but are not required to monitor the quality of the waters into which they routinely dump their waste."
If you've ever been to the Gold Coast, you'll understand how important the need to preserve it is. Go check out the Save Our Southern Beaches Alliance Facebook and follow @mfanno of Instagram for updates.