A POWERFUL Gold Coast lobby group has warned of “gridlock in paradise” if the Mayor’s plan to sell a 1640-space carpark in the bustling beachside suburb goes ahead.
Save Surfers Paradise secretary Deborah Kelly says council’s plans to sell the Bruce Bishop Carpark so it can fund the construction of a second bridge into Surfers Paradise was a recipe for disaster.
Councillors last year backed plans to widen the bridge across the Nerang River to Isle of Capri in order to ease current congestion and allow more cars to travel into Surfers.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
At the time, Mayor Tom Tate said council would sell the carpark and Surfers Paradise Transit Centre to pay for the bridge upgrade and help fund stage one of the cultural precinct at Bundall.
As part of the sale, the new owner of the site would also be required to set aside land for a park, retain at least 740 car parks and provide enough space for buses to set down passengers.
But the controversial sale has been on hold ever since, after Save Surfers Paradise challenged the Mayor and launched Supreme Court action to try and stop it.
Ms Kelly today again warned if the Bruce Bishop Carpark was to close and the Isle of Capri bridge into Surfers widened to fit more traffic, than there would be nowhere for the extra cars to park.
“On the one hand, the Mayor is pushing to widen the Isle of Capri Bridge to facilitate better traffic flow into Surfers Paradise,” Ms Kelly said.
“On the other, he wants to remove 40 per cent of all parking in Surfers Paradise, so where will all the extra cars whose journeys are being facilitated park?”
Ms Kelly says 1260 vehicles use the carpark on average every day, while figures provided by council show that, at peak times, just 640 car parks are in use leaving about 1000 free.
“Residents use it as a park and ride to take the light rail to GC Hospital,” Ms Kelly said.
“Close the car park and you have 1,260 cars at least driving around the streets looking for somewhere to park.
“That will add enormous extra congestion in central Surfers Paradise.”
Ms Kelly said Councillors who were concerned there wouldn’t be enough cash set aside in today’s budget to bust the city’s crippling congestion “must surely be rethinking the plan to sell any public car parks”.
“Do they really want to see another 1,260 cars circling the block, congesting the streets every single day?,” she questioned.
“If parking isn’t needed, why are so many vacant development blocks now being opened around Surfers Paradise up as parking stations? Presumably, the Council is approving this activity.”
Ms Kelly said the lack of packing was not only an issue in Surfers Paradise, but several other bustling suburbs, including Broadbeach and Burleigh were also feeling the pressure.
“There should be more parking provided for future needs and to support the light rail, not less,” she said.
“If the Council doesn’t want to provide it, they should be incentivising developers to provide more public parking at reasonable rates.
“It will be interesting to see the outcome of the Mayor’s recently and hastily convened parking summit.
“If it is a serious initiative, there should be some constructive outcomes that address the traffic congestion and parking problems for the benefit of everyone in the City.”