The final meeting of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (GOLDOC) took place last week to deliver their findings for the final assessment of the event.
Chairman Peter Beattie, attempted to diffuse the (ongoing) issues that surrounded traffic and the impact on local businesses and claimed the survey of 9,500 game attendees had resulted in an overwhelming support for the event.
Mr Beattie highlighted that the games were history-making being the largest-ever parasport event. Hosting an equal number of medal events for both men and women. Hopefully the Gold Coast Games are the legacy of future Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
“We were so delighted that we sold 12 million tickets and we did much better in many ways than perhaps people thought.” Mr Beattie explained. Results of the survey also showed 97% rated the staff and volunteers helpfulness as high and 92% had a positive games experience.
Donna Gates, Gold Coast Deputy Major was excited to announce that the Games injected $2 billion into the local government, "the vision that went round the world to 1.5 billion viewers has really highlighted what a beautiful city we have, what a magnificent climate we have. We've really become a global event city and the Games have made us come of age."
However the final assessment of the games is not without controversy. Queensland Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones confirmed Chief Executive Marks Peters will be handed a $300,000 retention payment. Legal advice and Mr Beattie have defended the payment to Mr Peters “anyone who can return the amount of money he did, with millions back to government, I think his retention payment is chickenfeed frankly.”
Local business’ also have announced disappointment and lost earnings in light of the government’s promise of highly increased visitation. The main culprit of this appears to have been the current state of the M1 and its lack of ability to handle such large amounts of traffic in the area. Local businesses are looking at a class action for compensation.
Minister Jones stated “$35 million in savings from the event would be handed to the Queensland government and would not be used for compensation for local business’ that lost money during the Games. We’ve ruled out compensation very clearly. No Games has ever provided compensation. The focus will be the infrastructure that will continue to grow the Gold Coast.”
The tug-of-war between local businesses and Mayor Gates may continue to be a hot topic considering the amount of commentary surrounding it and the accusation from the Mayor that the local businesses price gouged tourists throughout the event program.
The Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame, in Southport, is now the home to a specially gallery of Games mementos. A full Commonwealth Games report will be presented to the Queensland Parliament in October.