Burleigh Pavilion hotel application under bureaucratic fog ahead of Gold Coast Council decision



The fate of one of the Gold Coast’s most sought-after nightlife scenes will be decided by the Council this week.

Burleigh Pavilion owners are looking to change the popular location’s approved land use, which could open the door to early morning poker machines and trading.

The Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) is due to vote on January 30 on the request to change the material use of the building’s first floor from restaurant to hotel.

The Burleigh Pavilion development app says it will continue with existing hours of operation – 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

“The request does not include approval for subsequent trading hours or major events, nor has it – or never – requested approval for the poker machines,” said the owner Ben May.

Community fears

Residents, however, fear that a land-use change and subsequent approval of a hotel license will allow future operators to take advantage.

Burleigh MP Michael Hart remains skeptical.(ABC Gold Coast: Jennifer Huxley)

“Once the facility is turned into a hotel, that won’t stop the next owner from deciding that he wants to set up poker machines and that he wants to operate until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.,” said the Burleigh MP Michael Hart.

There are also fears that other elements of the building protected by the lease – including the defunct community swimming pool on the ground floor – are at risk.

Mr May said the Burleigh Lodge is preparing to file plans for new swimming facilities in the sleeper section of the building on the ground floor.

“I am really excited about our plans for the new swimming pool and the new cafe,†said Mr. May.

Lease gap

Burleigh Pavilion signed a 30-year lease in 2015 with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) which sets strict conditions for the use of the site:

(1) The tenant must use the leased land for commercial / professional purposes, including swimming pool, kiosk, restaurant and associated health facility and for no other purpose;

(2) This lease may be forfeited if it is not used for the purposes indicated above

A DNRME spokesperson confirmed that the lease had not changed but did not rule out future changes.

An indoor pool with windows overlooking the ocean and the Gold Coast skyline.
The swimming pool that previously operated in the Burleigh Pavilion building.(Provided: Rackley’s Swimming)

Mr Hart said there was a legislative loophole that would allow the GCCC to approve the hotel license change regardless of the terms of the state lease.

He sent a request to the Minister of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Anthony Lynham, to have it corrected.

“In a recent meeting with council officials overseeing this request, I was told that the DNRME had given its consent to make this request, as required by the Planning Act,” said Mr. Hart in the letter.

“Yet there was no legal obligation for the Council to take into account the terms of the state lease held on the property as part of its decision-making process.

“This is an oversight in the legislation that needs to be corrected.”

If the GCCC approves the change, an application for a hotel license will need to be filed with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.


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