Burleigh Pavilion to revive ocean pool amid opposition to hotel plans

The group behind the iconic Burleigh Pavilion has announced plans to revive the downstairs ocean pool, just months after ruling it out.

The downstairs ocean pool wasn’t initially part of the development plans, though following intense pressure from locals, Owner Ben May has decided to add it in.

“There’s always been a pool there but they paid very little rent, for a pretty extraordinary space.


“I’m a businessman and I want to maximise the return I get on this building.

“The previous tenant down there couldn’t afford as a swim school, to pay commercial rent, I might call it.

“So I think I’ve come up with a concept running it myself that will give me the returns I want to get out of 1000 square metre sitting on the ocean front, Mr May said.

The basic plan of the ground floor of the Burleigh Pavilion

The announcement comes as Mr May pushes forward with negotiations on a hotel lease, that could mean later trading hours and the option for pokie machines.

This idea has also copped extreme pressure from the community, with 36 individuals and six body corporates putting in submissions to stop the lease upgrade.

State MP Michael Hart is convinced Mr May is trying to sweeten up locals with the announcement of a pool, so that they’re more receptive to the lease changes, but Mr May says that’s not the case.

“I’m not doing a pool to get a hotel, I’m doing a pool because I think it’ll be a great asset to the building and clearly the community wants it.

“I’m not trying to win over locals, I’m trying to provide something that I think will be popular and profitable,” Mr May said.

Burleigh Pavilion Owner Ben May overlooking the old pool

Burleigh Pavilion Owner Ben May overlooking the old pool

State MP Michael Hart told myGC the concern over a hotel licence isn’t directly related to Mr May’s operating plans.

“I understand where he’s coming from, he wants to secure his position there.

“But quite frankly the moment he is given a hotel licence, a liquor licence, that allows that site to be a hotel, then a future owner could alter those conditions.

“You just don’t know what a future owner might do.

“Once it’s granted, it’s granted for good,” Mr Hart said.

There’s still no definite timeline for the roll out of the new plans, which will also see a fitness and yoga centre, a cafe, and a renovated Rickshaws Restaurant.

Mr May says the timeline is now mostly out of his hands.

“It’s up to when the residents want to keep giving me a hard time or not, or Michael Hart wants to maybe compromise and be a little bit more pleasant,” Ben May said.

Mr Hart said he wasn’t even aware of the pool announcement, and that Mr May should have run it by him first.

“As a local member, he should have brought his plans to me, as a starting point, to make sure as a community representative, I’m happy with it.

“And he hasn’t done that.

“This is the problem that he faced before, that he didn’t bother to talk to local representatives about what his plans were.

“He went too far,” Mr Hart said.