I have been on the Sunshine Coast for 30 years. Over that time I have seen a lot of change – and have, in fact, been responsible for some of it.
An icon famous to this region is the Big Pineapple. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Big Pineapple was Australia’s most famous tourist attraction – and who could forget the Royal visit in 1982 when Princess Diana and Prince Charles toured the site?
But as time went on and tourists found more enticing places to visit, the Big Pineapple, to be frank, lost her gloss. As you drove past what was once a shining icon of prosperity in the region, you could not help but be saddened by her demise. With the paint starting to fade and peel, we all wondered what the future held for this gorgeous old girl, sitting neglected on top of the hill, not far from revitalisation and polishing that is happening just across the other side of the Bruce Highway from her.
Well, we can wonder no more! We all knew there was something afoot when almost overnight the faded yellow and green exterior of the Big Pineapple was freshly painted and she started to shine again – it’s almost as if she started to smile, knowing that plans to reinvent her were well underway.
And the plans are indeed exciting for the 170ha landholding the Big Pineapple occupies.
Known as the Big Pineapple Renewal Project, plans have now been lodged with council to turn this site into a vibrant hub that acknowledges the sites history but embraces the future of the region.
The 170ha site provides the scale to create distinct, yet complementary precincts, taking advantage of the site’s topography, environmental values, heritage, existing built footprint and external road interface.
The master plan is divided into six (6) complementary precincts, with three (3) precincts on both the north and south sections separated by the Nambour Connection Road.
The six (6) precincts include:
Across these precincts a range of new and existing uses are proposed to attract tourism visitation and provide a base for food businesses. In addition to the existing built form and Big Pineapple structure, the most significant uses across the 170ha site include:
The Big Pineapple is also set to become the Sunshine Coast’s food hub. The Food and Agribusiness Network are now based there and others like COYO are soon to also call the Big Pineapple home.
With so many outstanding food and agribusiness businesses on the coast this could become the place to go for all your local produce and flowers and I have no doubt the fit out will be one that complements the character of the Big Pineapple while still stimulating the senses in a modern, appealing way.
I am beyond delighted that someone is throwing both their money and passion behind this project and creating a space that will once again attract locals and tourists alike. I am also glad that we had the foresight as a region to ensure she would never be knocked down – this grand old lady has a lot of life left in her yet!
Image credit: Big Pineapple Website