Looking good but don’t mess it up

KEY road and rail networks will connect us even closer to the city, the coast, career opportunities and our friends and family; this week we asked our panel of GO Hinterland respondents the following question:

Q: Why is it so important to ensure we get transport infrastructure planning right for future generations – and what concerns are there if we don’t?

Jenny Broderick,
President Glasshouse Country Chamber of Commerce

A: It is absolutely essential to get this right in order that our future generations have fair and equitable access to jobs and career opportunities throughout the Sunshine Coast. Again, connectedness is essential. It’s not the Hinterland and the Coast, we are all one region working toward making a great community and place for everyone to live, work and play. People of all ages should be able to have access to a transport system that allows them to move freely, and stress free throughout the Coast in order for us to continue to enjoy the lifestyle we have come to love. Many of our businesses are currently experiencing staff shortages due to a lack of variety of accommodation, and affordable transport options for our diverse demographic. We need to get the infrastructure, transport and planning right now, to ensure our businesses will be able to employ the staff they need to continue to ensure their own businesses remain viable in the future.

Ian Hope, Secretary Rotary Club of Glasshouse Country; Treasurer Landsborough Area Community Association; Treasurer Beerwah Sportsground Management Committee; Treasurer Glasshouse Country Toastmasters

A: As mentioned previously, while Government at all levels have been able to provide much of infrastructure we require, the major shortcoming here in the Hinterland remains public transport. The right planning for the future to ensure accessibility and connectivity is absolutely vital, as there is a well-established need to enhance the transport of our local community. Funding public transport here on the Sunshine Coast and getting it right for our residents and future needs and generations needs to be prioritised by both State and Federal Governments.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson:

A: We expect more than half a million people will choose to live on the Sunshine Coast in the next 20 years. With that in mind, we must take the opportunity to carefully examine how residents and visitors will move around in the future. Private vehicles cannot continue to be our only option as more people choose to call our region home. This is particularly the case if we want to preserve our natural landscape and assets, maintain our liveability and avoid spending long periods of our time in traffic. Sunshine Coast Council is also preparing a new planning scheme to guide the way we grow and develop as a region. Through careful planning, we can protect the places we love, preserve our natural environment, maintain the lifestyle we enjoy and shape the built environment to support our vision for the region’s future.

Andrew Powell MP Member for Glass House

A: Because Mums and Dads of the present and the future will be spending too much time sitting in their car and not enough time with their family. Because our future farmers won’t be able to get their produce to their markets in time. Because our future small business owners will lose productivity and profits because their freight and staff are stuck in traffic jams. Because we will miss decades of tourism opportunities before, during and after the Olympics. If we don’t get it right, we will inherit the mistakes of so many other regions and cities that didn’t plan, weren’t innovative and sacrificed their liveability as a result – not to mention lost their amenity, environment and agriculture.

Spencer Shaw,

President Maleny Chamber of Commerce

A: Without a crystal ball, its hard to predict the infrastructure needs of the future, but we can be sure that humans are still going to want to go for a walk, go to work, go to the shops, visit friends, go to a show or gig and of course get a coffee! Consultation with communities by government and infrastructure providers to provide genuine input and adaptive management will be increasingly important to ensure we aim to “get it right”.

 Dr Nicholas Stevens, Program Coordinator, Urban Design and Town Planning
School of Law and Society University of the Sunshine Coast

A: Infrastructure planning for public transport and even walking and cycling takes a long time and is expensive, which is why it is not an easy thing to do. It is important that we understand who wants to move, when and why – not just now and day to day, but over the next decades. Transport infrastructure is explicitly tied to land use – what you develop where, and for who (in terms of land uses) will impact the kind of transport choice and opportunity that they need. As we already have existing urban centres on the Sunshine Coast (importantly with existing community infrastructure, libraries, schools, community centres, medical faculties, etc), and many others planned or currently developing we need to optimise the centres we have, with the transport we will need. If we fail to link our major centres with quality public transport, and then within those centres we fail to provide quality and user- friendly active transport (walking, cycling, rolling) infrastructure, we will continue to find ourselves on a path dependence of private motor vehicles, and continued degradation of our liveability and the environmental qualities as well.