Budds Beach

From paved paradise to living hell: How residents of Australia’s most famous beach strip are living in fear

PHOTO: Budds Beach is otherwise a picturesque suburb bordering the Gold Coast Highway and the expensive high-rise resorts of Surfer’s Paradise

  • Residents living in fear near block of derelict homes that fell into disrepair at Budds Beach on Gold Coast
  • Drug deals and break-ins happen regularly after the site’s developer went bust in July 2019 with huge debts
  • Site was meant to be turned into ambitious, high-end unit complex Sapphire comprised of two unit towers
  • Residents say the area has become a haven for squatters and youth crime after the site’s developer went bust 
  • ‘It’s a horrible place to live now, we’re trying to get out,’ a terrified resident said under the cover of anonymity

Residents are living in fear near a block of derelict houses a short walk from the Gold Coast’s famous Glitter Strip that has become infested with drug dealers, squatters, and thieves.

The 1.3hectare block at Budds Beach – an otherwise picturesque suburb bordering the Gold Coast Highway and the expensive high-rise resorts of Surfer’s Paradise – sits in sharp contrast with the city’s reputation as ‘Australia’s playground’.

Drug deals, break-ins, hooning in cars, broken windows, and overflowing rubbish bins that attract rats have turned the neighbourhood into a living hell for nearby residents.

The site was supposed to be under development as an ambitious, high-end complex called Sapphire – comprising two 71 and 33-storey towers.

But when its Sydney-based developer Ralan went bust in July 2019 with debts of more than $560million, the site fell into disrepair.

Residents on a 1.3hectare block at Budds Beach in Surfer's Paradise has become a gangland for drug dealers, squatters and thieves

Residents on a 1.3hectare block at Budds Beach in Surfer’s Paradise has become a gangland for drug dealers, squatters and thieves

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