What Division 14 residents really want

A NEED for parking and infrastructure are among the key issues in the Gold Coast's southernmost regions in the lead up to Saturday's election.

Division 14, made up of the Tallebudgera and Currumbin Valleys, Tallebudgera, Elanora, Currumbin Waters, Currumbin, Tugun, Bilinga and Coolangatta, is also one of the city's largest divisions.

Residents will decide between just two candidates after retiree Gloria Baker stepped up to run against current councillor Gail O'Neill.

Greater Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce Vice President Chris Ward said while the motorway and light rail remained hot topics, many residents were concerned about infrastructure moving forward.

Coolangatta beach. Picture: Istock
Coolangatta beach. Picture: Istock

"Parking is an issue, people are concerned about with the light rail moving south," he said.

"Coolangatta has escaped (paid parking) so far. It's a concern for locals and for our visitors, the restrictions that might apply.

"I understand the reasoning behind it but there's not much point putting signage up if it's not going to be enforced."


He said he believed most businesses would welcome the light rail extension.

"We understand there will be some disruption, but the old saying is sometimes you've got to have the pain before you can get the gain," he said.

"From the information I've been provided they've learnt from their past experiences with the light rail through Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

"I think they're very aware and will work to minimise disruption wherever they can.

"I think (heavy rail and light rail) need to be connected, there's no point having two services that don't link up. But heavy rail to the airport would make the transition better between the Gold Coast and Brisbane."

Anti-light rail groups have previously pushed for heavy rail or an improved bus system over the tram line moving through to the airport.

A previous petition aiming to stop the line moving through Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach gained more than 10,000 signatures.

"We demand the GCCC work with State and Federal Governments to extend the heavy rail from Varsity Station to the Coolangatta Airport and beyond," it reads.

"The alternative to the light rail coming down the Gold Coast Hwy (…) is for it to head west inland to meet Robina Heavy Rail Station."

Current plans are for the light rail to be extended to the airport.
Current plans are for the light rail to be extended to the airport.

Tourism and drawing in visitors is also a key concern for residents, according to Connecting Southern Gold Coast CEO Josh Martin.

The tourism body is set to be disbanded, along with Surfers Paradise Alliance and Broadbeach Alliance, with the formation of Major Events Gold Coast in June.

"In terms of having representation on the southern Gold Coast for tourism and economic development, and advocating for local business, there is concern," Mr Martin said. "The face of southern Gold Coast is at a point where there's a lot of major projects coming up, discussion around light rail, heavy rail, the airport expansion and the master plan redevelopment.

"We'd love to see the southern Gold Coast continue to be a focus because businesses down here need the economic growth and visitation to survive."

The Gold Coast election will be held on March 28.



Gail O'Neill

Gail O'Neill. Picture: Jerad Williams
Gail O'Neill. Picture: Jerad Williams

Who am I? As well as being the Divisional Councillor I am a Councillor for the whole of the City.

I am currently Deputy Chair of Council's 'Community & Lifestyle Committee', and a committee member on the 'Economy, Planning & Environment' Committee, and the 'Events, Tourism & Governance' Committee.

Previous to becoming Division 14 Councillor I was Manager of Beach House Seaside Resort and Shopping Plaza in Coolangatta and President of Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce. I was also a founding committee member and previous Chair of Cooly Rocks On Nostalgia Festival.

Why am I running? I believe I am a strong, experienced and knowledgeable representative who has already made a positive impact in Division 14.

My goal for Division 14 is, and always will be, to strike as balance between the preservation of our beaches and hinterland; good, sustainable development; and economic stability for local business.

I will be campaigning for further amendments to the City Plan that will protect our Southern Gold Coast lifestyle.

I am an independent candidate who will continue to support Division 14 residents and strengthen relationships that I have already have with those residents, community & sporting organisations and local schools.


Gloria Baker


Gloria Baker. Picture: Facebook
Gloria Baker. Picture: Facebook

Who am I? A retiree and volunteer community advocate.

I have lived in Bilinga for the past 12 years after moving up from Sydney. I studied

Economics at UNSW and worked at the State Bank for 5 years and then managed our successful small business for 30 years.

In 2013, I joined the Friends of Currumbin where I was inspired by their tireless and selfless work for the betterment of the Community and became Secretary in 2014.

As Secretary of the Friends of Currumbin and a key member of the T2B Oceanway team, I

was instrumental in delivering the Tugun to Bilinga Oceanway world class asset to our


My active involvement in Community also includes the Save Greenmount campaign against

the now refused Komune development, Save Currumbin Valley, Return Kirra Pavilion to

Kirra Surf Club, facilitating a joint State and Federal Government letter box drop warning on

the use of PFAS contaminated bore water, and stopping the Sandtunes Concert on

Coolangatta Beach.

Why am I running? I am running for Division 14 as a wholly independent candidate and I am determined to preserve our lifestyle and our natural assets of green valleys and golden


I will support quality sustainable development that is inclusive of Community expectations so that a positive outcome is delivered to Community, Environment and the Developer.

Unlike the current councillor I will not support the premise that "the Southern Gold Coast is Ripe for Development ". I believe business in Division 14 needs more support.

It's very tough out there and the last 4 years have been a missed opportunity where there

has been no economic understanding of small business needs.

Originally published as What Division 14 residents really want