Bruce Bishop Car Park Rally
The Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce thinks the council decision to sell the Bruce Bishop Car Park is, to put it bluntly, stupid.
One, it will cut the available car parking in Surfers Paradise and cut traders' livelihoods.
Two, the money the council will collect from the sale will be spent on the Green Bridge, which the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce thinks will be a white elephant.
The Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce does not take this stance lightly. The Chamber believes that development is an essential part of growth that creates investment and employment.
However, we feel the Bruce Bishop Car Park is a vital piece of city infrastructure. It provides ample car parking for the present and the future. It also provides valuable green space in Surfer Paradise.
There is no doubt that the Transit Centre in its current form is not the most appealing building on the Gold Coast but it does have a major purpose in supporting those in business in the Surfers Paradise precinct.
Over the past 10 years on street parking has been stripped from the precinct. Street parking was slashed when the Esplanade was upgraded and again when the light rail was installed.
The traders in Surfers Paradise, which is the tourism heart of our city, have had to battle through while these changes took place and now the council wants to put traders through three more years of pain by taking away 40 percent of the remaining car parks.
In central Surfers, between Cypress Ave and Q1 there are only 4,073 parking spaces.
In the council's best case scenario, selling the car park means Surfers Paradise will lose 1,640 car parks at Bruce Bishop Car Park for at least three years while the site is redeveloped and it will gain 700 space when it is complete. So in the best scenario, Surfers Paradise will have 40 per cent fewer car parking spaces in the medium term, and nearly 20 per cent fewer car parking spaces in the longer term. During major events in surfers Paradise there as many as 50,000 extra people visiting the precinct with many of them traveling by car. And yet, the council is not planning more car parks. It doesn't make sense.
This is a growing city and we are experiencing some growing pains. In other parts of the city car parking is emerging as a major problem. And now our elected officials have voted to increase the pain for residents and tourists in Surfers Paradise. It's madness.
Which brings me to my second point. where the council intends spending the money. The Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the creation of a cultural precinct and believes Evandale is a terrific site. However, part of the proceeds of the sale of this car park will be used to build a "Green Bridge", connecting Evandale to Chevron Island. This will be an enormous waste of money. The number of people who would use it every day will not justify its cost. So the council is selling an important infrastructure asset of the city to build the Green Bridge. In effect they are selling an important asset to build a monument to wastefulness.
In the Chamber's view, selling the car park appears to have been a quick-fire, haphazard, poorly thought-out decisions. This is not what we want from a council Instead we need to be looking ahead at the infrastructure needs of the city for the next 50 years.