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City plan prevents casino in Southport CBD

Thu, Feb 7, 12:43pm by Staff Writer

If the proposed second Gold Coast casino is to land in Southport, it will require a change to the City Plan, which ruled out “adult entertainment” for the CBD.

Councillors will be forced to backflip on parts of the Southport Priority Development Area (PDA) should they continue to back the State Government’s desired location for the new casino and integrated resort.

The PDA was designed to ensure Southport would be the base for health and knowledge services and medical and legal businesses, while accommodating a wave of residential growth.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that the council’s land-use vision for the Southport PDA positions the Gold Coast CBD as a world-class centre for employment, community services, commerce and retail.

The council would consider developments that included tourist attractions, but not adult stores, brothels and a nightclub entertainment facility.

“It specifically precluded adult entertainment when public consultation was conducted before the PDA was declared,” Southport MP Rob Mollhoek said.

He went on to add that, “I think that was the overwhelming view of most people. They didn’t want Southport to become another Surfers Paradise.”

Mr Mollhoek supports a vision that Southport is an “urban village”, with the latest growth forecasting the city to accommodate 79,000 people.

“I think we’ve already got enough social destinations on the Gold Coast without putting a big shiny ball in Southport to suck money out of people who can least afford it.”

Cabinet is expected to decide this month on whether to call for expression of interest for the global tourism hub.

Plenty of sites on offer but Carey Park is top of the list

It is aware of at least 11 sites, including the highly favoured Carey Park on public land in front of the Broadwater Parklands that supporters say will be perfect for a tourism facility.

The proposal to use public land at Southport for the casino has been met with strong opposition this week.

Former city councillor Eddy Sarroff recently wrote to the Premier, asking her to remove Carey Park as one of the 11 sites identified for the global tourism hub.

Mr Sarroff said the council withdrew its support for a planned integrated resort development on State-owned land at Carey Park after a public backlash in October 2017.

In recent times that stance has changed, with the majority of councillors now supporting the Government in reviving the tourism resort proposal and supported public land being considered.

“We feel council has no other choice but to reject the rezoning of the land which we believe is heritage listed,” Mr Sarroff wrote.

“We are calling on your government to withdraw its support to the Carey Park site. A public rally is planned for this coming Thursday and we hope for a positive response … cancellation of the planned rally.”

Developer Norm Rix has joined the residents’ protest, arguing a casino should be built on its own economic merit on private land.

Mr Rix is concerned the council will offer “Carey Park free of charge for a second casino,” according to The Bulletin.

“I am neither for nor against a second casino, but this is a matter of principle,” Mr Rix said.

“The suggestion public space could be given up for a second casino should be a worry for every Gold Coaster,” he said.

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