Light rail feasibility journey continues
  • Wednesday 01 July 2015
artist image of light rail on Alexandra Parade

Sunshine Coast Council has released the results of its light rail consultation held in late 2014, which indicated 87 per cent support for the current investigations into light rail.

The report details the outcomes of various questions included from the survey, as well as statistical detail on the over 700 respondents that got involved in the four-week consultation.

Based on the community feedback and a technical review of the various route options made public last year, the report also shows a proposed route between Maroochydore and Caloundra that will form the basis for further engineering and costing investigations.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast as the foundations for a sustainable future were laid.

“Light rail is a transport option that has the potential to support the lifestyle of our residents now and into the future—one that benefits the community, protects our environment and helps to ensure a vibrant economy,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“While we are clearly talking about a network that is some years away, planning for the future has to start now.

“We are forecast to have the second fastest population growth rate of all Queensland regions over the next 15 to 20 years and Sunshine Coast Council is shaping a future where we cater for population growth through good planning.”

Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said light rail had the potential to reduce traffic and congestion and minimise the need for more parking areas and wider roads.

“We need to make sure the right transport solutions are considered and delivered, when and where they are needed.

“We are fortunate that Council’s Transport Levy budget includes an allowance to help attract State and Federal Government investment for joint transport solutions, such as the proposed light rail and other services that will ultimately cater for forecast travel demand.

This year’s Council budget includes an allocation of $750,000 for research, planning and investigation for the proposed light rail service.

“Identifying a potential corridor, and taking the necessary steps to protect it for this future use, would help shape how and when the solution was delivered and would prove cost effective in the long term,” Cr Baberowski said.

It is proposed that a light rail system forms a transport spine between the major growth areas of Caloundra and Maroochydore, supported by a frequent and reliable bus system to connect other communities and the Hinterland and the North Coast rail line—to create a world-class integrated regional transport system.

“Pre-feasibility studies indicate that this approach has the potential to boost opportunities for new investment, create greater employment options and also encourage more integrated tourism experiences between the coastal strip and the Hinterland.

“The opportunities available within our region will be greater if we can create the settings and infrastructure that encourages vibrant activity along the main spine of the enterprise corridor from the airport to Caloundra South.

“While providing transport infrastructure such as light rail is the Queensland Government’s responsibility, if we want to see it considered as part of a longer-term solution, then we need to get the planning and analysis right to inform any decision the State may make.

“Results of the feasibility studies will ensure that Council can present a clear case to the Queensland Government on whether light rail is right and feasible for the Sunshine Coast.

Formal community consultation will occur before a final decision about a light rail network is made.

Information about the light rail project is available at lightrail.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. To follow the investigation into light rail, register via the website to receive updates as the project progresses.