The Gold Coast Bulletin
Arcade facade splits council
CITY councillors are divided over a new 14-level tower development at Burleigh Heads that will save the facade of the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade.
The planning committee on Thursday voted 4-3 to endorse an officer’s recommendation to approve the project in Goodwin Terrace.
Councillors in support were planning chair Cameron Caldwell, Deputy Mayor Donna Gates, Hermann Vorster and Gail O’Neill.
Councillors against were William Owen-Jones, Peter Young and Mark Hammel.
Daphne McDonald, Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden and Brooke Patterson attended, but are not on the committee and cannot vote.
The fate of the project will be decided at a vote of full council on Tuesday.
Cr McDonald raised concerns about carparking.
She was supported by Cr Owen-Jones who has sought minor modifications to the planning document.
Cr Young was critical of the design saying “it looks disjointed and two completely different buildings”.
Many councillors have concerns about the impact of a future light rail station on the neighbouring site, and how it would affect the views of the historic building.
Cr Caldwell reminded councillors that the heritage building could have been lost had they not intervened and sought protection of its facade.
“I think this will be in years to come seen as an iconic addition to our skyline,” he said.
Cr Vorster spoke passionately in favour of the outcome and urged colleagues to support the development.
“Principally, if we don’t
back this application I don’t believe we are backing process,” he said. “And I think future decisions by this council or future councils might err on the side of not pursuing heritage protection. I think that would be disappointing.
“Because it’s an incredibly good process that led to a good outcome, and if we falter at the finish line I don’t think we will be protecting much more in the city.”
Before the committee meeting, a leader of a residents’ group sent a stinging email to councillors about the recommended approval of a 14-level development on the 1667sq m site fronting Goodwin Terrace and the Gold Coast Highway.
Community activist Nicolle Archer had put forward an alternative design she says would create a “cultural hub”.
In correspondence to councillors, Ms Archer wrote: “Simply, this proposal does not meet community expectations.
“It’s an insult to the city for the applicant to spruik it sought community consultation on this project. It didn’t.
Media responses are testament to this.”
Ms Archer asked whether this was a “box-ticking exercise; councillors lack fortitude or knowledge of challenging without further training of legislative requirements”.