Traders and landlords in the Gold Coast's most popular beachside shopping and dining hub are furious at a council plan to remove almost 50 carparks as part of streetscaping, saying it will destroy business already hit hard by COVID-19.

Burleigh Heads business and property owners are fighting a proposal to rip up the sought-after parking spots along James St.

They have held crisis meetings after the concept was floated recently as part of a new master plan for the Burleigh CBD ahead of the light-rail extension to the suburb.

The traders and business owners say parking is already at a premium in Burleigh and removing spots on the northern side of James St would deter people from coming.

Long-time local real estate agent Scott Boniwell, of Burleigh Property Sales, said removing scarce carparks would 'destroy the village feel and character' of the suburb.

"The locals don't want it and the holiday-makers don't want it," he said.

"It's a ridiculous proposal. The council claims it is engaging in public consultation but they haven't asked one person in town."


Burleigh Heads traders fear the James St precinct would lose its ‘village feel’. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Burleigh Heads traders fear the James St precinct would lose its ‘village feel’. Picture: Glenn Hampson


Burleigh landlord David Robertson said every property owner had reduced rent to help tenants during the pandemic.

"We've lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent," he said.

"We'll all be in recovery mode for the next two or three years, if not longer."

Another property owner, Brian Hickey, said removing carparks on James St risked turning the area into 'a gridlocked nightmare'.

Veteran Burleigh Heads solicitor Phillip Baxter wrote to local councillor Daphne McDonald recently objecting to the proposed carpark removal 'in the strongest possible terms'.

Mr Baxter said other parts of the Coast including Southport, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Chevron Island had suffered long-term damage after streetscaping works.

"The Burleigh community has no desire to have visited upon them the same fate as those once vibrant areas," he wrote.

"The evidence is clear that when parking in local areas such as Burleigh is interfered with, customers desert those areas for nearby shopping malls that have carparking available."

In a letter to traders and landlords, a council officer accused them of being 'alarmed by rumour and fearmongering by individuals with an unnamed agenda'.

The officer said light rail would 'significantly change how people get to and from Burleigh Heads in the future' and 'it makes sense to consider how the additional pedestrians will be catered for in the long term'.

A council spokeswoman said feedback was being sought from local stakeholders regarding 'early design concepts' for the Burleigh Business Centre master plan.

"It is important to note that draft design concepts are for discussion only at this point," she said.







Originally published as 'Ridiculous' plan to rip up car parks at beachside hub