The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cr Tate’s inspiration.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cr Tate’s inspiration.

Why a pyramid dive site could work

MAYOR Tom Tate is powering ahead with his ambitious plan to create a pyramid dive site off the Gold Coast and is already setting up a panel of experts to nut out the design details.

The project has been welcomed by the State Government with Tourism Minister Kate Jones offering to tip in half the estimated cost of $5 million and last night, Ian Banks, one of the city's leading dive figures, threw his weight behind the project.

Cr Tate said a working committee was being set up with the State Government's Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, council's Infrastructure Directorate, key representatives of the city's dive and marine industries, as well as marine engineers.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cr Tate’s inspiration.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cr Tate’s inspiration.

He confirmed the City would pursue a design-construct project for the artificial dive attraction in response to the Gold Coast losing the HMAS Darwin to Tasmania.

"The initial structure will be a pyramid design, first mooted by council in 2014, and council will need to vote on the final design and funding model," he said.

"In the lead up, the City will consult with the dive industry to finalise which features a pyramid structure would require to attract marine life and the interest of divers."

Cr Tate said the pyramid would be the first installation in a broader, artificial dive precinct.

"We will develop and expand the artificial dive site over the years, starting with the pyramid structure as the signature piece," he said.

HMAS Darwin leaves her namesake port for the last time before being decommissioned. Pic Glenn Campbell
HMAS Darwin leaves her namesake port for the last time before being decommissioned. Pic Glenn Campbell

Other structures to be added to the site could include 20m-high, concrete trees in an underwater garden and the aim was for each precinct to attract its own marine life.

"The site we are looking at is two nautical miles off Narrowneck, east of the existing wreck known as the Scottish Prince," Cr Tate said.

"It will take divers about 25 minutes to access the site from the Broadwater - less than half the travel time it takes to access HMAS Brisbane, off the Sunshine Coast. I am confident divers will flock to the Gold Coast for this."

The Mayor of Gold Coast, Tom Tate (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
The Mayor of Gold Coast, Tom Tate (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The mayor said the skeleton-type, pyramid would allow divers to swim through it.

"Beginners will be able to go down 10m-18m on the pyramid, while advanced divers will be able to dive down to the bottom of the structure, which will be more than 30m deep.

"This will be an evolving project and divers will be able to dive on one precinct and then return another day to dive on another, if they want to," he said.

Cr Tate said the dive precinct would not just be about attracting marine life, but also about offering opportunities for memorable photography.

Site of a proposed dive wreck for the Gold Coast.
Site of a proposed dive wreck for the Gold Coast.

"We wanted a warship but they are expensive. Some divers are saying there are already so many of them. This pyramid and its precincts would be unique," he said.

Meanwhile, leading dive expert Mr Banks has welcomed the proposed underwater pyramid and precinct.

"It's a really good idea. The extra habitat and marine life would be great," he said.

A range of species would pop around the dive site. Picture: iStock
A range of species would pop around the dive site. Picture: iStock

"A pyramid structure would attract all sorts of marine life to the area, including a range of fish species, and I think the precincts are also a great idea."

Mr Banks, who has 40 years' experience in the dive industry, said he was part of the planning group for sinking a warship off the Gold Coast.

"I surveyed the proposed site for a warship and I agree this would be the easiest location for this pyramid structure. We had to go a long way out to get clear water," he said.

He was confident coral could also grow on the structure at certain depths.

"It's not ideal for coral because there is a lot of turbidity but soft coral and sponges could grow at the bottom of the pyramid. Other coral would have to be within the top 10m of the structure to thrive," he said.



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