By Dylan DeJong, Ryan Fahy and Josh Preston.
Urban and social planning experts have called for a more united approach to development and infrastructure projects on the Sunshine Coast.
More than 120 delegates gathered at the University of the Sunshine Coast to discuss the challenges and opportunities of progressing the Coast as an expanding region.
State Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie opened the forum, pointing to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital as an example of a project that was beneficial, but didn’t have appropriate infrastructure.
“I think a lot of the times we’ve developed the Sunshine Coast in a very hotchpotch way without clear thinking and direction as a city,” Mr Bleijie says.
While Mr Bleijie agreed that the Coast needs a full integrated transport system, he says the focus needs to be on one or two key projects.
“We have too many projects at the moment, people are talking about two different light rails, now fast rail, duplicating the rail corridor, multimodal transport corridor, coast connection program and Bruce Highway upgrades.
“It’s all talk and there’s no action there and there is no connectivity between them,” Mr Bleijie says.
Sunshine Coast Business Council chair Sandy Zubrinich says the conference helped identify what people of the Sunshine Coast want for the region in the future.
“We’re an elongated region, so there’s lots of challenges created from that in trying to bring the ‘city’ notion together while keeping the ‘community’ idea together as well,” Ms Zubrinich says.
National Capital Authority CEO Malcom Snow identified the challenges the Sunshine Coast has presented, “given its geography and dispersed urban settlement patterns”.
“You can’t hope and pray that these projects will just come together,” Mr Snow says.
Mr Snow says the point of the meeting is to bring people together and establish a sense of unity and cohesion in future planning.