The Sunshine Coast’s most iconic tourism attraction – the Big Pineapple – will soon return to its glory days following Sunshine Coast Council’s approval of a multi-million-dollar renewal project.
The approved master plan will ensure a sustainable future for the 169-hectare site by leveraging the Big Pineapple’s strong brand and history, focusing on a combination of eco-tourism, agribusiness, supporting local producers, as well as providing entertainment opportunities, outdoor educational facilities and accommodation.
Divisional Councillor Jenny McKay said today’s approval was a major milestone for the project and would help elevate the Sunshine Coast tourism industry.
“I know there have been many people keenly awaiting this approval, which will diversify our region’s tourism offering,” Cr McKay said.
“The $115 million project will be a welcome injection for our Sunshine Coast hinterland tourism industry.
“Once complete, the Big Pineapple will attract new visitors to our region, visitors who would most likely extend their length of stay, generating a substantial economic boost.
“In fact, this project has the potential to increase visitation to one million visitors per year with more than 500,000 additional overnight local stays – returning tourist levels to the Big Pineapple’s heyday when it was the most visited attraction in Australia.
“At the end of the day, our community is the real winner when we attract investment opportunities like this to our region.”
Planning and Development Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said preserving the amenity, especially the views to the famous pineapple structure and long range views from Nambour Connection Road to surrounding rural land, had been a critical part of assessment.
“A combination of building heights, building exclusion and design measures, landscape buffering and screening will protect those views,” Cr Dickson said.
“The Master Plan provisions will also protect the site’s heritage values. Many of us have fond childhood memories of visiting the Big Pineapple and it’s great that our littlest residents and visitors can do the same.”
Big Pineapple Renewal Project Director Jim Costello said this approval will help facilitate new tourism attractions and food based industry at one of the Sunshine Coast’s most famous tourism icons.
“Planning approval adds further momentum to our renewal program, following opening of TreeTop Challenge, construction of COYO’s new production facility, hosting regional food and sport events, and the Big Pineapple Music Festival again winning the best music festival in Queensland,” Mr Costello said.
“The approval has been years in the making and we appreciate the support of many Sunshine Coast residents who have long wanted to see the iconic Big Pineapple return to the glory days as a must-visit tourist attraction.
“This approval allows us to open up the site to many other uses, such as food production, tourist accommodation and recreational uses, which will drive strong jobs growth in the hinterland, with over 800 jobs created through construction and an estimated 700 ongoing positions.
“Our vision as illustrated in our master plan is gradually coming together. Visitors will be able to climb the Big Pineapple from next year, they can currently enjoy time in our zoo and TreeTop Challenge, and will be able to tackle a parfait and other food and beverage afterwards inside our refurbished Sunshine Planation Building.
“With the confidence of council and the Queensland Government we now look forward to many more announcements to build and realise a world class integrated tourism attraction at the Big Pineapple which the Sunshine Coast community can again be proud of.”
Council approval also included the support of many Queensland Government departments as facilitated by the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development. The approval follows the Big Pineapple securing a capital grant from the Queensland Government under the Growing Tourism Infrastructure program to refurbish buildings and enhance the visitor experience. The capital grant was announced by Hon Kate Jones MP, Minister for Tourism Industry Development earlier in 2019.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said more than 800 jobs would be created during construction with the project set to deliver 700 ongoing jobs once it’s complete.
“Tourists want to experience something they can’t get anywhere else,” she said.
“Today’s approval allows the Big Pineapple to open up the site for many other uses like food production, accommodation and recreational uses, which will drive strong jobs growth in the hinterland.
“The Palaszczuk Government supports projects that we know will bring thousands of extra tourists and generate millions of dollars for local businesses. The major upgrade to the Big Pineapple supported by the government will be a great boon for the Sunshine Coast economy.”