Social housing to be demolished for light rail extension
A UNIT block homing those suffering financial hardship will be torn down to make way for a bus stop as part of the city light rail extension.
The social housing building at 1 Christine Ave, Miami will be knocked down for the Broadbeach South to Burleigh tram extension and transformed into a bus depot, The Bulletin can reveal.
It has eight units with seven of the tenants living in the block, with Gold Coast Highway frontage, moved on to other accommodation.
It's unknown when demolition will start.
Two private commercial properties at unknown locations, along with a Caltex in Burleigh and the block of stores beside it at 1823 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads, will also make way for the tram extension.
It is understood those properties will be the only land requirements for the project, part of the State and Federal governments' $1.6 billion infrastructure deal.
Paula Brand, who has lived next to the building for nine years, said it was "nuts" the building had been left empty.
"I've watched the tenants receive letters to vacate and leave," she said.
"One of the concerns with COVID-19 is the increase of homelessness. We have such a shortage. Did they really have to pick a state-owned homeless building? Families are living with high-stress economic issues. It's wrong."
Mrs Brand owns Small Business Expos, which connects small businesses and charities by holding events across Queensland.
Five charity organisations that didn't receive government support or funding would have been happy to use the space of the building, she said. "I don't want a political answer. I want someone to say 'OK, that makes sense'.
"My purpose is not to whinge, but to fill it. To help people in these testing times."
A Department of Housing and Public Works spokeswoman wouldn't confirm if they would build another property to house those in need but said the tenants were moved elsewhere.
"The Queensland Government owns more than 5000 social homes on the Gold Coast, including the property on Christine Ave.
"The permanent tenants were assisted to relocate to permanent social housing elsewhere in the community, as this property will be required for the next stage of the Gold Coast light rail.
"Tenants were advised prior to any public consultation and have been supported into new homes, with the last tenant moving in March 2020.
"We are building new social housing as part of our Queensland Housing Strategy, with a $110 million investment in the Gold Coast under the Housing Construction Jobs Program."
It was delivering 392 new homes and 63 jobs per year between 2017 and 2022.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A had "minimal land requirements", with work already under way.
"The next stage of light rail will support 760 jobs, so having this project coming online at a time like this is critical," Mr Bailey said.
The sped-up schedule was only possible because of the $1.6 billion deal with Federal Government to increase and bring forward their funding contribution, he said.
"We've already started early works so major construction can start as soon as possible once the contract is awarded.
"GoldLinQ is running the selection process to award that contract, which we expect to happen towards the end of this year.
"In the meantime, works along the Gold Coast Highway have started, including borehole testing and site investigations, which are being done at night when traffic volumes are lowest.
"The appointed construction contractor will be required to keep the community up to date and minimise construction impacts on residents and businesses.
"We're also working with the City of Gold Coast on a support plan specifically aimed at understanding the potential impacts on businesses before construction starts so measures can be put in place to mitigate those impacts as much as possible."
Originally published as 'It's wrong': Social housing to be demolished for light rail extension