Meter Maids ‘yanked’ from Surfers streets
THE furious longtime owner of the Gold Coast's world-famous Meter Maids has pulled them from working the streets of Surfers Paradise, alleging "harassment" from council staff.
Meter Maids brand owner Roberta Aitchison revealed to the Gold Coast Bulletin this morning she had told all her Meter Maids to have the day off because they were feeling "intimidated" and scared about risking hefty fines.
The golden bikini-wearing Meter Maids have been strutting the streets of Surfers Paradise for 53 years under Akubra hats, feeding meters to save motorists from parking fines.
In recent years, they have been posing for photos for donations and selling merchandise such as beer coolers, calendars and key rings under Ms Aitchison's private ownership.
Earlier this week, she claimed in the Bulletin that council staff were giving her staff more attention than normal and she believed it was aimed at trying to get them off the streets during the Commonwealth Games, officially starting tomorrow.
The row is now making national news bulletins.
Ms Aitchison said her girls are allowed to sell merchandise if within one metre from commercial premises as it is not deemed council land.
""But none of my girls want to go out - they are too scared. None of them want to get a fine.
"I don't know how to deal with it. They say the wardens are telling them they are going to fine them $650 personally.
"I've said have the day off. A lot of them are feeling timid, feeling harassed and verbally abused - they are being told they have no right to be here and to get off the streets.
"The girls are finding it intimidating," Ms Aitchison said.
Asked if her girls were breaking the rules and selling merchandise where they shouldn't be, she said they were instructed not too.
Earlier this week, a city council spokesman said the Meter Maids were not being approached by wardens any more than normal and denied there was Games conspiracy against them.
The spokesman said as long as they were not soliciting customers to come to their new Meter Maids bar down Orchid Avenue or selling merchandise in public spaces they were fine.
The Gold Coast Bulletin has this morning asked the City of Gold Coast for further comment about Ms Aitchison's claims her girls are being "harassed, intimidated" and threatened with $650 fines.
The stoush comes after Ms Aitchison warned the Games organising committee GOLDOC against using anything appropriating her brand in the opening ceremony after they were ruled out from having a role in the spectacle.