New Era For Australia’s Surfing Capital

Surfer riding a wave on the Surf Coast

New horizons will be explored for Torquay's Surf City precinct with work set to commence on the Australian Surf Capital Feasibility Study.

The project has the potential to generate more than $40m in investment and 80 jobs in the Surf Coast, through the creation of a premier surfing and cultural destination – one that will become a community hub and showcase the region’s authentic surf heritage.

The consultant consortium, GHD and Royce, has been appointed to undertake the study which will involve identifying opportunities for improved community, tourism and cultural facilities. The project team will soon begin consultation with relevant stakeholders, with wider community consultation to be conducted early in 2013.

Surf Coast Shire mayor Cr Libby Coker, said today (9 November 2012) the study would identify opportunities that can create a defining asset for the region, one that captures all that is special about the Surf Coast, its culture and its heritage.

“This is an opportunity for transformation. We’re keen to see the Surf City precinct realise its full potential for our community and to ensure the wider Surf Coast can capitalise on Torquay’s reputation as Australia’s surfing capital.

“The project is about building on important community and cultural facilities in the area, creating a home for Australian surfing and making the area a ‘must see’ for visitors to the Great Ocean Road through a new Visitor Information Centre and upgrading Surf World, our internationally recognised Surfing Museum,” Cr Coker said.

“With more than two million visitors coming to the precinct each year, and more than seven million visiting the Great Ocean Road, Surf City is positioned to be  internationally significant through its deep connection with the major surfing companies which started in Torquay, and the world’s oldest surfing event, the Rip Curl Pro. 

“This study is a vital first step in that process to build a real home for Australian surfing and a strong cultural precinct for the Surf Coast community.  I encourage the community to get involved in this exciting project during the public consultation phase in 2013.”

Council has provided $125,000 in funding and in-kind support for the study, while the Victorian Government has provided $100,000 in funding and the Australian Government $25,000.

The study will:
• Identify opportunities for improved community, surfing and cultural facilities within the Surf City Precinct
• Further upgrade public buildings and facilities including the Torquay Visitor Information Centre, Surf World Museum, Torquay Library and Surfing Victoria’s offices
• Seek to maximise community benefits from Torquay and the Surf Coast’s surfing culture including through employment opportunities and opportunities to secure greater community benefits from tourism
• Review all land use planning in the area to ensure it fosters the development of a surfing and cultural precinct and allows the community to benefit from the development of Surf City
• Seek to identify more facilities for tourism including a stop-off point for large coaches that will provide dedicated facilities; taking the pressure off coastal areas including Bells Beach
• Identify opportunities for development in Surf City to tell the story of surfing on the Surf Coast through interpretive displays and upgrades to Surf World Museum.
• Investigate the feasibility of developing the precinct through public/private partnership investment.