Around this time last month Australians were spewing. The Gold Coast had been hosting the XXI Commonwealth Games pretty well for the past fortnight and then on Sunday April 15 it was all set to wrap in a closing ceremony. It did not go well.
So the last month has seen a fair bit of grief unloaded around the nation as Aussies chatted by the water cooler about how the organisers stuffed it (and while it was the organisers‚ our athletes‚ support staff, and Goldie’s wonderful volunteers were ace all the way through).
Now the dust has settled and we begin chatting about the 2018 World Cup and the next major sporting events, the really big questions surrounding the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GCCG) are coming into shape:
- What will be its legacy?
- Will it really redefine the Gold Coast?
- And ultimately, are major events worth the money they cost?
These questions are really important when it comes to understanding the future of Aussies working and living in cities, and trying to buy a home. Major events can bring economic benefit, but also bring a whole ton of new woes. For better or worse the GCCG are ‘done and dusted’ – and understanding what they meant is important to understand the future of home buying in Aus.
Why the Gold Coast?
For the Gold Coast this was all about putting the coastal city in southern Queensland on the map as a major events host in Australia.
Melbourne and Sydney do this sorta thing often, and Brisbane had the Games back in 1982 – where we unveiled Matilda, our biggest ever kangaroo – but this was the first time for the Coast.
The Games did come at a great time for Queensland, as between March 2017 and March 2018 Queensland saw the strongest jobs growth in the nation, charting 4.3 per cent over the year.
This alongside a population boom in Queensland that – somewhat unusually for Australia where traditionally major cities were the biggest growth hubs – has been seeing really strong growth in Queensland’s provincial areas, including the Gold Coast.
So the GCGM came at a good time for Queensland. And for everyone watching outside of Queensland, the core message of these Games was the Gold Coast is open for business, and a great place to live. This is all good stuff, and many drinks were poured toasting this message. And obviously any city that wins the right to host a major event is doing something right.
But to truly turn the hosting experience into a long-term advantage it takes some extra elements.
Which Cities Succeeded with Major Events?
When it comes to cities that have used major sporting events well, the leading example is always Barcelona in 1992. With investment in infrastructure, and a really successful Olympic Games, the vibrant Spanish city saw itself emerge as a new sporting capital of Europe.
Sydney 2000 is another great example. The first Olympic games hosted in Australia since Melbourne’s stint in 1956, Sydney used the games as an opportunity to showcase a new city, in a young country, ready to embrace the opportunities of a new millennium.
And Melbourne has a good run here recently too. First hosting the Olympics in 1956, they then built a foundation to see the city today recognised as the leading sports capital of Australia. Hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2006 was seen as another boost to the city’s brand.
So with this strong resume of other cities and their major events legacy, what legacy will the Gold Coast have?
- The upskilling of locals
Locals have been trained and upskilled for the Games. The Games will finish, but these professionals will remain, with proven experience on top of them. This is valuable not only for the ability of locals to deliver on events in the city, but also to partner with Brisbanites up the road in dual Bris-GC events.
- New infrastructure
When you host a major sporting event you get some flash new stadiums to use for years to come. The Gold Coast already has a strong sporting culture, and now they’ve a whole new lure to reel in other major sporting events.
- Relaxation of height limits
This will be a big one. Save for the stadiums this will be the most visible daily legacy. Numerous areas of the Gold Coast have seen t