Big moves are happening at the Big Pineapple with the State Government chipping in millions of dollars to accelerate plans for a redevelopment of the tourist icon.
The 169-hectare site is currently a mix of tourism and rural zones and Big Pineapple Renewal’s project director Jim Costello released a whole-of-site plan late last year, the result of three years’ worth of planning and consultation.
Mr Costello says the plan will ensure a sustainable future by leveraging the Big Pineapple’s strong brand and history to focus on a combination of eco-tourism, agribusiness and supporting local producers, as well as providing entertainment opportunities, outdoor educational facilities and accommodation.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones has announced $6.8 million will be invested in the precinct to refurbish the internal structure of the Big Pineapple and reception area as well as repurposing the old Macadamia Nut Factory to host COYO, an award-winning, Sunshine Coast based coconut yogurt producer.
The funding will also pay for the installation of wifi, online and kiosk ticketing, extensive landscaping work and the construction of playground equipment as well as improving access to Wildlife HQ Zoo and the TreeTop Challenge.
Ms Jones says this work will provide 35 construction jobs and 39 operational jobs.
“As a result of the upgrade, we’ll attract an extra 160,000 annual visitors and pump another $4.5 million a year into the local economy,” she says.
Mr Costello says the funding adds to the momentum of the renewal program.
“These works are just a part of our extensive master plan to ensure the iconic Big Pineapple returns to the glory days as a must-visit tourist attraction,” he says.
“Our vision is gradually coming together, with visitors again able to climb the Big Pineapple from next year, enjoy time in our zoo and TreeTop Challenge, and tackling a parfait and other foods and beverages afterwards inside the Sunshine Planation Building.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford says while the Sunshine Coast has some of Australia’s most appealing natural attractions, “a new era of tourism products is vital if we are to fulfil the region’s tourism potential, grow the economy and provide a significant flow of new jobs for the area’s growing population”.