Full disclosure: I reckon our Mayor, Tom Tate, is a decent bloke and I think he’s done a lot of good for the Gold Coast, whilst leading our city in the right direction.
However the council’s recent decision, under his leadership, to sell the Bruce Bishop Car Park is, in my humble view, one of the stupidest things he’s done in his time at the top of the totem pole.
For so, so, so many reasons.
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Chief amongst them is the obvious loss of car parks. It currently provides over 1,600 parking spaces to visitors to Surfers Paradise – a hefty amount, when you consider there are only around 4,000 parking spaces between Cypress Ave and Q1.
The best-case scenario is that the building will be redeveloped – a process that will take around three years – and deliver 700 car spaces upon completion. Overall, that’s a loss of almost 1,000 car spaces.
I have to wonder: do our councillors really think people are going to schlep into the centre of town via bus and train once these car parks are gone?
I’m based in Varsity Lakes. I can tell you with 100 per cent confidence that I’m not lugging my three kids on a tapestry of public transport for over an hour so we can go and watch the fireworks in Surfers on a Saturday night. When too many logistics interfere with a good time, our family defaults to “movie night on the sofa” back-up plans.
We’re not the only family that operates like this – and if plans for this sale go ahead, I think Surfers Paradise retailers and going to experience a decline in business. Local business operators are certainly worried; Timezone, Infinity, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and the Wax Museum even released a joint statement, warning that the “naïve and short sighted” decision would “lead to the decimation of Surfers Paradise”.
And the worst thing about the potential sale is where the profits are headed.
An open letter from the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce President Martin Hall explains that the council intends to spend the money on a cultural precinct at Evandale, with a Green Bridge connecting Evandale to Chevron Island.
Hall is happy to support Evandale’s growth, but believes the bridge is “an enormous waste of money” and represents “quick-fire, haphazard, poorly thought-out decisions”.
“The number of people who would use it every day will not justify its cost. So the council is selling… an important asset to build a monument to wastefulness,” he says.
What do you think? Should Bruce Bishop car park be saved, or is it time to accept change?