Opinion divided on latest proposal to expand GCCEC

The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) has long been calling for an expansion of its facilities but not everyone is onboard with the latest push that would double the size of the meetings and events precinct.

The plan proposed by Harvey Lister, chairman and chief executive of ASM Global (Asia Pacific), includes a 12,000-seat stadium, a 2000-seat ballroom and an arrival and entry space for the new Gold Coast Events Precinct.

Three new dedicated exhibition halls comprising 7500sqm of floor space would result in a total exhibition capability across the complex of 14,000sqm when combined with the adjoining new arena.

There would also be 14 dedicated meeting rooms over three levels and six boardrooms.

Lister said the site for was ripe for a new development given its proximity to “thousands of hotel rooms, restaurants and bars, Star Casino and Pacific Fair’’.

“The site will also soon be connected north and south by Gold Coast light rail, possibly the most important feature of this site given its proximity to existing and planned light rail and bus routes,’’ he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

The project would mean expanding the light rail corridor by realigning its route to be consistent with its existing western alignment past The Star casino complex.

Geoff Jones, chief executive of promoter TEG, said the plan “stacks up”.

“That light rail link is crucial because it’s been a big success and people will use that rather than risk getting caught in a carpark jam,’’ he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“The Gold Coast has proven it will come out for tier-one acts like Queen, Kiss and Guns N’ Roses.

“A 12,000-seat arena would bring the tier-one acts. You’ve also got such a big catchment area for people with northern NSW and Brisbane.

“This really stacks up from our perspective.’’

However, not everyone is on board, with Mayor Tom Tate saying the development was “not for us”.

“What concerns me is the lack of consultation and the quality of what is being proposed,’’ he said.

“In my humble opinion, it’s not for us.’’

Funding for the latest proposal would be based on the same model as the Brisbane Live stadium.