Coolie heritage site closer to redevelopment

10 Jul

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By Lauren Fenwick, Bond University journalism student

A heritage-listed ballroom in Coolangatta that entertained American troops during World War Two is a step closer to demolition on condition developers erect a monument on the site.

Owners Steven Cerutti and Allan Blenkins have been battling council over the redevelopment of the site for the past eight years.
In their latest attempt, they employed heritage specialists to successfully establish the building, formerly known as Jazzland, had no architectural significances.

Mr Cerutti said he has spent  $200,000 a year since 2005 seeking permission to demolish the building, which now houses an antique shop at the end of Griffith Street.

“This has caused me significant pain for years and I fear I’ll lose my house,” Mr Cerutti said.

“I’ve got six kids and a wife at home.”

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On January 31 this year, council officers said the men could demolish the shack if a memorial to Jazzland was incorporated into the new development.

Mr Cerutti and Mr Blenkins employed town planners, engineers and architects to design a development that met council conditions.

“Getting the council to approve the new plans will cost between $600,000 to $900,000 and another nine months,” said Mr Cerutti.

In 2005 Mr Cerutti and Mr Blenkins were offered $9.2m for their property, said Mr Cerutti.

He said the sale collapsed when the buyer informed the men the shack was listed on the Gold Coast Heritage Register.

“The council were legally bound to inform us but we had no idea,” said Mr Curetti.

“Apparently there was a letter sent out but neither Allan or I received it.”

Division 14 councillor Chris Robbins said the financial burden of the heritage value should not fall on the owners.

“If society thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, then society should bite the bullet and buy it,” she said.

“Whoever is interested in the building’s heritage should buy it.

“There are different levels of government, whether it’s the national, state or local government, whoever wants it should buy it off the owners.”

Jazzland was denied listing by the Queensland Heritage Council in March 2002 as it didn’t meet  criteria.

Caption: The proposed redevelopment of Jazzland currently awaiting council approval

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