‘Save Surfers Paradise’ plans public rally to help save Bruce Bishop Car Park

GOLD COAST residents and business owners will converge on the Bruce Bishop Car Park next week to protest against Council’s highly controversial decision to sell the city asset.

The newly formed Save Surfers Paradise group – chaired by retired District Court Judge Clive Wall RFD QC – will head the rally in the park above the car park from 1pm on Tuesday.

Local groups and business owners will be represented on the day, including the Surfers Paradise Surf CLub, Surfers Paradise RSL, Licenced Venues Association and Gold Coast Residents & Ratepayers Association and more.

Council voted in May to sell the Surfers Paradise Transit Centre and adjoining 1600-space car park to help pay for future city projects, including the cultural precinct and a new bridge to the Isle Of Capris.

The land on which the car park sits was gifted to the Gold Coast in 1938 by Charles Hicks on the condition that it be retained as a park. The park was relocated onto the roof of the multi-level car park once it was built.

Save Surfers Paradise formally contested the decision last week under section 268 of the Local Government Act.

Committee Coordinator and local lawyer Deborah Kelly said the sale would see 1640 car spaces taken out of Surfers Paradise, or up to 40 per cent of the 4073 spaces that are currently available between Cypress Ave and the Q1.

She said the plan didn’t leave many options for locals, tourists, and business owners.

“The Bruce Bishop Carpark represents 40 per cent of all available car parking between Cyprus Avenue, and the Q1 building,” Ms. Kelly told MyGC.

“So if you take all that away, where do people park?”

Ms. Kelly said the issue affected not only local businesses but also residents living on the Isle Of Capris, Paradise Island and Buds Beach.

“Once this car parking is taken away there’ll be more pressure on parking in their streets,” she said.

“There’s only 4,000 car parks in the whole of Surfers and taking away this car park means taking away 1640 places, that’s 40 per cent.

“We get eight million day-trippers into the Gold Coast each year, and almost all of them come by car.

“They need parking. Staff who work in Surfers Paradise need parking. Hundreds of them a day.”

Division 7 Councillor Gary Baildon will move a motion Council meets on Tuesday to defer any further action on the sale of the car park until of a review of the decision has been finalized.

Court

Police whistleblower Rick Flori back in court today

Alleged Queensland police whistleblower Rick Flori is due back in court today for a pre-trial hearing over his misconduct charge.

Flori has been charged with two counts of misconduct in public office for allegedly leaking CCTV footage of a violent arrest to the media.

The police sergeant has been committed to stand trial on the charge but will face the Southport District Court today for the hearing.

The hearing is expected to be in relation to an application for a stay on the indictment “based on pre-trial publicity”.

Flori is accused of leaking footage showing the bashing of handcuffed 22-year-old Noa Begic, in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station in 2012.

Flori has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In June, a Gold Coast court heard Flori was unrepresented after the legal firm representing him – Anderson Fredericks Turner – had withdrawn.

When asked by Judge Katherine McGuinness whether he would be engaging another firm, Flori replied “no, probably not.”

Flori’s trial is set for two weeks beginning 4th September.