Alliances facing the axe
Council may dump overseers of major festivals
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.”