Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
Precinct will be music to the ears of young
THE Southport CBD is about to undergo its biggest makeover, transforming into the grunge live music capital of the Gold Coast with open air bars and craft breweries.
New council planning laws, to be signed off by the state government, allow for a live entertainment zone to be built on the template of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and James Street precinct.
By September bands will be performing on vacant blocks, and by mid-next year land owners will be able to create venues in a new expanded western section from Davenport to Railway streets.
The CBD’s largely daytime economy, based on legal, health and education services, will be alive at night until midnight with licensed venues and food vendors hosting young professionals leaving work.
Despite being home to
Chinatown, the Broadwater Parklands and aquatic centre, the CBD has never had a hub for crowds since the Southport Mall was built in 1988 and removed in the late 1990s.
“We have modelled 100 per cent on what they have done in Fortitude Valley,” area councillor Brooke Patterson said.
“It has a special entertainment precinct, the only one in Brisbane. This will be the only one on the Gold Coast.”
The council would oversee the operations and complaints, and working with owners should strengthen relations, Cr Patterson said.
“If there’s an issue, our guys deal with it. It’s only to midnight, it’s designed not to take away from the nightclubs in Surfers,” she said.
“I’m really, really excited about it. There are land owners in Davenport and Railway streets now who already see the vision of James Street, Fortitude Valley – food emporiums and cafes as well as the live venues, they feed off each other.”
The Southport Priority Development Plan will be amended to include microbreweries. Apartments can be built in the new zone but will need structural changes to reduce noise.
Council officers had received “100 per cent support” from traders. A planner involved in the Fortitude Valley makeover helped guide the CBD future vision.
“The city is normally shiny, new and happy family. The team is excited about doing something different as well,” Cr Patterson said.
“I was thinking jazz bands, they said we need grunge and something slightly edgy. We are targeting that 20 to 30year-old, after-work professionals and their mates who they bring into the CBD.
“The CBD is really cool, architecturally. It has more of
that Melbourne alleyway feel than any other part of the city. It’s just that it’s not used yet. We will use different spaces. It won’t be one block.”
Council planning committee chair Cameron Caldwell said the Special Entertainment Precinct would provide the framework for the growth of a live music hub for the Coast.
“We want to cut red tape for
businesses that support live music, look at their trading hours and noise restrictions but also protect those spaces we want for live music from other uses,” Mr Caldwell said.
“The creation of a SEP in Southport will require amendments to the Southport PDA Development Scheme, Gold Coast City Plan and new and amended local laws.
“We will now seek community feedback about this proposal during consultation later this year.’’
“It’s important that the proposed SEP balances the needs of the community and stakeholders. Few industries have been hit as hard as the live music industry and we want to help however we can.’’