The Southport business community are throwing their weight behind the City of Gold Coast’s proposed Southport Special Entertainment Precinct (SEP) with results from a recent Southport Chamber of Commerce member survey showing that 100% of survey respondents support the proposed SEP.

Survey results show 100% of participating businesses also support the proposed amendments to the Southport PDA Development Scheme, amendment to Local Law No.16 (Licensing) 2008 and the creation of a new Subordinate Local Law No.16.9 (Amplified Music Venues).

The Southport Chamber concludes the Special Entertainment Precinct is a positive step towards developing a live music scene in Southport and commends Council for its vision that will not only ensure the long-term future of our local creative and entertainment industries, but will attract industry and future development to the CBD.

The strong stance to create a Southport Special Entertainment Precinct sends a supportive message to new and existing venue operators, in parallel with The Council’s Music Action Plan, that Council is committed to supporting live music in Southport.

Positive aspects of the proposed Southport Special Entertainment Precinct (SEP) include:

  • Designation of a clearly defined precinct to support live music
  • Setting of acoustic criteria
  • Future proofing interface issues between venues and residential premises though unambiguous support for live music in Southport

Potential challenges to consider:

  • The geographic extent of the SEP Established and Emerging Cores – the areas in which live music is supported – are limited in scale and may fail to capture opportunities for activation of buildings and spaces elsewhere in Southport
  • The perception, rightly or wrongly, of increased regulation and compliance testing for new and existing businesses
  • The potential for the use of computer modelling rather than acoustic testing ‘on the ground’ has the potential to deliver blanket outcomes which fail to account for individual noise attenuation measures in buildings
  • The list of defined uses that are PDA Accepted development within the proposed SEP omitting other defined uses within the City Plan that support live music such as; function facility, markets, and major sport, recreation and entertainment facility

Recommendations to consider:

  • To encourage future investment and support existing venue owners within the SEP, the Chamber encourages Council to consider subsidised or low-cost modelling for fees that they deem relevant to Amplified music venues, such as applications, variations of conditions of permit, licence renewals and replacement of permit certificates. This is in line with Council’s sub-strategy to ‘create an ‘open for business’ environment by reducing barriers and lowering the cost of doing business in the CBD
  • The Chamber encourages Council to provide unwavering clarity around the different approvals, licences, permits and supporting documents new and existing venue owners need to operate successfully within the SEP. A clear responsibility matrix, and streamlined online application process with upfront, transparent application process timeframes will assist businesses in fulfilling regulation and compliance tasks with ease
  • The Chamber encourages Council to provide clarity in listing ‘function facility’ and ‘markets’ on the list of PDA Accepted development within the Precinct 1 – Central Business District (CBD) to encourage potential amplified music venues where amplified music is a principal / primary element of the business

Conclusion:

The Southport Chamber of Commerce Board, and participating members that provided feedback to the Southport Chamber via the Member Feedback survey support the clear economic, social and cultural benefits associated with a growing live music scene.

The challenge for Southport CBD is less a supply-side issue, but more of one on the demand side – connecting to a wider market of people that will regularly visit to attend live music events when faced with several alternative options across the city.

In this regard place branding and marketing is critical. Southport needs to find a market beyond its residents and give people from across the city a reason to visit. To be successful it needs to be a place where people choose to meet at a weekend, and a viable alternative to Burleigh, Miami and others. This will require a multi-faceted approach to place design, safety and marketing.

The Chamber welcomes the role of Council’s City Planning team to address regulation and supports the Council’s vision to create a thriving, live music hub to compliment and support the central business district within Southport.

In addition, we strongly support further engagement and partnerships with Council’s Arts and Culture team, Destination Gold Coast, HOTA and other cultural advocates to drive initiatives that will increase engagement with, and visitors to, the Special Entertainment Precinct.

This will significantly contribute to the future prosperity and success of the SEP. The Chamber looks forward to supporting Council with future partnerships, initiatives, and events that will drive visitor attraction to Southport and in turn, help local businesses to prosper and grow.

END.
 

Ariana Margetts
President
Southport Chamber of Commerce

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