Al­liances fac­ing the axe

Coun­cil may dump over­seers of ma­jor fes­ti­vals

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - PAUL WE­STON

GOLD Coast City Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing dump­ing the peak tourism bod­ies that run the city’s ma­jor fes­ti­vals.

A re­port this month is likely to de­ter­mine whether to scrap the Surfers Par­adise Al­liance, Broad­beach Al­liance and Con­nect­ing South­ern Gold Coast.

They are re­spon­si­ble for head­line gigs such as Blues on Broad­beach, Surfers Par­adise Live, Sand Sa­fari Arts Fes­ti­val, Seafire, French Fes­ti­val, Cooly Rocks On, Viva Surfers Para- dise and Ground­wa­ter Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

The al­liances are funded by the coun­cil through a spe­cial $3.5 mil­lion levy from traders.

Events tourism and gov­er­nance com­mit­tee chair Bob La Cas­tra said he ex­pected a re­port by the end of the month to de­cide the fate of the al­liances.

“It’s about whether we keep on go­ing down the track we’re go­ing or chang­ing the model on how we do things,” he said.

In a pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil­lors this week, the al­liances gave glow­ing re­ports of their roles. Surfers Par­adise re­ported it had de­liv­ered $33 mil­lion gross into the econ­omy, more than 20 times its spe­cial levy.

Broad­beach Al­liance said it achieved 20 per cent growth with its Gold Coast Su­per­hero week­end, Blues On Broad­beach was up 6 per cent and Ground­wa­ter up 13 per cent.

But all are head­ing into un­known wa­ters with the coun­cil re­cently sack­ing the Heart of City com­mit­tee and a strong push from the may­oral of­fice to amal­ga­mate the al­liances.

Out­side the meet­ing, Surfers Par­adise Al­liance board mem­ber Michael Roe ad­mit­ted the pre­sen­ta­tions were about stat­ing the case for the sep­a­rate al­liances to re­main.

“With­out proof that there’s a bet­ter model, yes, we as an in­dus­try would want the al­liance to re­main. That’s not to say there’s a bet­ter way of do­ing it,” Mr Roe said.

But he said the man­age­ment and pro­mo­tion model that Surfers Par­adise pro­vided was the best, giv­ing “an ex­tra story to take away” for visi­tors.

Mr Roe said traders would not buy into a new model un­less they could be con­vinced it would bring visi­tors to the heart of the Glit­ter Strip.

“It’s about at­tract­ing eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the precinct. That’s our char­ter. The num­bers speak for them­selves. If that was to be di­luted, clearly our traders would be very con­cerned,” he said.

Broad­beach Al­liance CEO Jan McCor­mack and chair­man Dar­ryl Kelly were both guarded af­ter be­ing coun­cil­lors.

“We’re wait­ing for coun­cil to make a de­ci­sion,” Mr Kelly said. “We’re a coun­cil en­tity. They’re our share­hold­ers. What­ever they de­cide, we ei­ther agree with that or we re­sign.”

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