LOCALS can look forward to a decade of infrastructure upgrades on the Sunshine Coast spurred on by the recent news that Brisbane and South East Queensland will host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The big announcement has drawn comments from our elected representatives and Sunshine Coast Council, who all agree our region will be in a prime position to host a range of events but only after some big infrastructure upgrades.
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said upgrading roads and railways was a number one priority.
“There is now added pressure to complete the three lanes of the Bruce Highway all the way from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast as well as a new Kawana Motorway, which will run from Bells Creek arterial road through to Kawana,” Mr Wallace said.
“I’ll also be continuing to push for heavy rail to run from Beerwah right to the coast.
“Ten years is not a long time for a project of this size so getting this under way is critical,” he said.
State Member for Glass House Andrew Powell said the region needed better east-west public transport solutions.
“We need to ensure we have duplicated heavy rail all the way from Brisbane to Maroochydore and, ideally, Nambour,” Mr Powell said.
“Steve Irwin Way and the Bruce Highway western alternative, through Beerburrum, Wamuran, Caboolture West and down to Brisbane, need to be upgraded and built.
“And to leave a lasting legacy, the cycling Velothon Sunshine Coast routes, roads like Landsborough-Maleny, Maleny-Montville and Maleny-Kenilworth need to be widened and made far safer.”
The games are expected to inject up to $8.1 billion into the SE Queensland economy and the Sunshine Coast region will reap some of those benefits.
Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt said the tourism and economic boost would be huge, and there would be added incentives for younger athletes to pursue their chosen sports.
“The opportunity we have is an 11-year run up to maximise the tourism, sporting, cultural, educational and business opportunities for the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Hunt said.
“The Olympic announcement will create excitement and anticipation towards 2032 and is the perfect time to inspire kids into sport and invest in more emerging athlete pathways.
“That’s why we’ve just announced another 50,000 FairPlay vouchers to help families with the cost of sport to see more kids get active.”
So, what events can we expect to see on the Sunshine Coast? Sunshine Coast Council has highlighted four venues in the region that offer opportunities to host a range of events:
- The Kawana precinct, including Sunshine Coast Stadium for football preliminaries and the Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre for basketball preliminaries
- Alexandra Headland as the staging area for road-based events including cycling, the marathon and walking races, as well as Paralympic cycling and marathons, and the kiteboarding (sailing) competition
- Sunshine Coast Mountain Bike Centre at Parklands for the mountain bike competition
- The new Maroochydore city centre to host the Sunshine Coast Olympic Village
Although there seems to be plenty of planning and preparation work ahead, it’s important to remember what we already have.
Sunshine Coast Council deputy mayor Cr Rick Baberowski said that although the region wasn’t ready to host the games yet, it was in a very good place.
“Our fundamentals are excellent,” Cr Baberowski said.
“We have our values and partnerships in place, we have a great climate, distinctive geography and remarkable environment to offer. And we have the required infrastructure planning in place as developed through the bid process.
“Beyond these mostly pragmatic considerations, we can leverage off the remarkable spirit of our community of communities.
“We’re a pretty savvy, optimistic bunch and I believe we will all do what we can to deliver an awesome experience before, during and even after the games,” Cr Baberowski said.