New Gold Coast Casino Plan Faces Heating Opposition

A controversial new plan for the construction of an integrated resort in Gold Coast has been facing stronger and growing opposition, as city residents staged a rally in the Australian city’s Southport suburb earlier today.

Protesters called for the plan, recently proposed by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, to be scrapped by the Queensland Government. Under the proposal, China-backed investor group ASF Consortium will be allowed to build a multi-billion casino resort in a Southport portion of land which is currently occupied by the Southport Bowls Club, the Southport Tennis Club, and Carey Park. If it is approved, the facilities will be relocated and the park will be swallowed by the new luxury development.

It is now up to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s administration to determine whether Mayor Tate’s proposal deserves any further consideration. It was in early August when the Queensland government nixed another casino resort project that would have otherwise been carried out by ASF Consortium. Under that previous plan, the group of investors would have built the A$3-billion Gold Coast Integrated Resort on a site located on the Southport Spit, right next to Sea World marine animal park.

The proposed location was one of the reasons why the project was canceled. Queensland officials explained back in August that a casino resort of this kind would have affected the integrity of the area.

Opponents of Mayor Tate’s new proposal have voiced the same concern in regard to the new potential location of the property.

As reported by local news outlet The Gold Coast Bulletin, today’s rally gathered more than 300 angry Southport residents, who asked for the discussed portion of state-owned land to be spared from being redeveloped into an integrated resort. Protesters pointed out that the Southport Bowls Club has been a favorite gathering place to residents of the area for more than a century now, and that some of Australia’s biggest tennis stars have come from the Southport Tennis Club. Moreover, Mayor Tate’s plan includes parkland, which many believe should retain its current form and purpose as open public space.

Australian Billionaire Speaks Against the New Casino Plan

One of Australia’s richest people and a long-time real estate developer – Harry Triguboff – has joined the new proposal’s opposition. Mr. Triguboff, who is a life member of the Southport Bowls Club, has told local media that the Gold Coast area does not need a second casino.

The businessman’s Meriton Sundale apartment building is located next to the proposed site for the casino resort. Although Mr. Triguboff is not supportive of the construction of a new gambling venue in the area, he has pointed out that he would back other development opportunities, particularly ones that would benefit residents.

According to media reports, the billionaire developer donated a generous amount of money to the Southport Bowls Club back in 2014, thus saving the facility from closure.

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