Townsville-based coral reef experts Reef Ecologic, in collaboration with Subcon Blue Solutions and Sea World, planted the coral to give Wonder Reef a head-start before its opening slated for March next year.
The coral is anticipated to grow between up to 25 centimetres a year, depending on the species.
Wonder Reef, containing nine artistic sculptures tethered up to 20m above the ocean floor, has been installed 2.5 kilometres offshore from The Spit at Main Beach.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the coral was transferred from Palm Beach Reef by the coral reef experts over two days last week and was a significant milestone in preparing the site for opening next year.
“The coral will attract even more marine life to the site and as it grows will become a prominent feature for divers,” Tate said.
“One thing about the Gold Coast is we have a crack, and it’s worked. It will come naturally anyway, but we are giving Mother Nature a helping hand.”
The reef is expected to attract more than 16,000 diving enthusiasts a year to the Gold Coast and inject $32.8 million into the Gold Coast economy within 10 years.
To withstand the strong swells and cyclones, the sculptural reef flutes that range in size up to 8 metres are attached to 75 tonne pyramid-shaped foundations made of concrete and reinforced steel.
“When you go down to have a look, you want to see all the marine life there,” Tate said.
“This is an important milestone as we prepare to open the site to divers from all over Australia and the world next year.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the $5 million Wonder Reef would play an important role in the region’s tourism industry.
“The Gold Coast is world renowned for its idyllic beaches and soon we’ll be able to showcase a unique diving experience under the waves with Wonder Reef joining other nearby dive sites in the region,” Hinchliffe said.
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