‘Surfers nightclubs must relocate’
CITY leaders say the Gold Coast must properly address relocating its party precinct away from the midst of family friendly tourism-hub Surfers Paradise.
The radical plan was first floated by real estate identity Andrew Bell five years ago - and the Ray White Surfers Paradise CEO still believes nightclubs should be moved to Southport.
Coast-based Federal Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo is also calling for a rethink, saying the city's main party zone and its family friendly centre cannot coexist and thrive.
"You cannot successfully have a family, fine-dining up-market area and then also expect that to flip at 9pm into a nightclub and strip club zone," Mr Ciobo said.
"The city has a rich tradition of both. But the problem is these two are trying to coexist in one location and council should consult with community and develop a long-term plan that gets a better balance.
"The easier we can make it for families to come enjoy themselves, have a holiday, feel safe and secure the more successful the Gold Coast will be.
"What we need is to have a clear delineation between party zone and family zone. Anytime you try and combine the two together it's going to be a mess."
Mr Bell said every great city had a decent party precinct and he was supportive of the Coast's night-life economy but it wasn't compatible with being family friendly.
"I want that part of our economy to prosper," he said, but suggested venues down party strip Orchid Avenue be incentivised to move to Southport near China Town, light rail and hospital.
"The State Government needs to come on board and relax the stricter aspects of licensing in Southport to incentivise clubs to move.
"Venues have spent large amounts of money and are not just going to voluntarily move."
The comments from Mr Ciobo and Mr Bell come after architect Desmond Brooks - behind the design of landmark buildings including Palazzo Versace and Soul tower - called for Surfers' "trashy, sleaze joints" to be punted to Bundall.
Mr Brooks, inducted at the weekend into the Gold Coast Business Hall of Fame, said the party precinct was a necessary attraction for visitors but "I don't know any city in the world that gives the heart to the lowest common denominator".
LNP Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek said relocation was a massive undertaking. "Moving is a nice concept. But I don't really know what the answer is because it's too late - this was decided decades ago.
"The Government doesn't really have the money to subsidise landlords to get the clubs out of where they are," Mr Langbroek said.
Mr Langbroek said Waikiki in Honolulu was the perfect example where its clubbing precinct was about three blocks back from its beachfront dining and shopping zone.
Hollywood Showgirls strip club owner Craig Duffy, who started it 13 years ago on Orchid Avenue, said he agreed aspects of the nightclub precinct were "disgraceful" such as public urination but it was because of a lack of public toilets.
"The answer isn't moving businesses that serve alcohol. The answer is fix it with toilets, ban pub crawls etc. This is the problem. (Desmond) is right. But his solutions are wrong."