By NEELIMA CHOAHAN
BURLEIGH Heads has been turned into a giant building site, according to a local citizens' group, with bobcats, excavators, diggers, stormwater pipes and bulldozers strewn across the beach.
Friends of Burleigh secretary Irene Wareing slammed the Gold Coast City Council's latest construction drive, saying much of it was unnecessary and could potentially scare away tourists.
"It's a mess," Mrs Wareing said.
"Poor old Burleigh. I feel sorry for it," she said.
The Burleigh foreshore is undergoing a renovation which includes a stormwater drainage system, a new car park layout and an open space for pedestrians.
"If I were a tourist who spent megabucks to come here and saw all this, I would never come back," she said.
Burleigh councillor Greg Betts said the work was necessary and would enhance Burleigh Heads.
"As disruptive as this project appears, it needs to be done to ensure we end up with the best foreshore that is dedicated to people and balanced for the provision of traffic," Cr Betts said.
But Mrs Wareing said the development could have been better planned.
"They should have staggered the work instead of doing it all at once."
Burleigh Chamber of Commerce, president and businessman Jon Ingall, said the construction was hurting trade.
"All the businesses have been affected in the immediate area," he said.
Mr Ingall's restaurant, Mermaids, is caught in the middle of the work, surrounded by men in overalls and the sound of bobcats.
"The sooner the construction finishes the better even if that means they have to work on weekends or nights," he said.
Cr Betts said the works were being fast-tracked so the greater portion could be completed before Christmas.
Burleigh Beach Club general manager Michael Jones, who is also affected by the renovation said he was not complaining.
"The town's infrastructure is at least 12 years behind and that's why last year we had the floods."
"Everyone should be grateful and happy the work is being done."
Mrs Wareing said while the stormwater drainage work was welcome, the current road work offered short-sighted solutions to ongoing problems.
"Instead of the roads being dug up every year, we need solutions which will better serve the growing population."
She suggested building a tunnel so that the Gold Coast highway bypassed Burleigh Heads, and creating a dedicated pedestrian area between the CBD and the beach.
Cr Betts said a tunnel would be fantastic but financially unrealistic.
"I support it hundred per cent, but who's going to pay for it?"