Research backs council planning for a sustainable future
  • Thursday 07 October 2010

Independent research has highlighted ongoing, widespread community concern about the need to carefully manage growth and protect the environment on the Sunshine Coast.

The detailed market research recently undertaken by Nielsen was commissioned by council to assist with the development of the Sunshine Coast’s first community plan.

The findings were consistent with previous survey results and feedback received from various community consultation efforts over the last five years.

Nearly 80% of respondents identified ‘managing growth’ as the most important issue for the region over the next 10 to 20 years, and the majority said our natural environment, lifestyle and lack of overcrowding were highly prized.

The research results were publicly released following a presentation to participants at council’s community conference this week.

Mayor Bob Abbot said they indicated strong support for council’s efforts to plan for a sustainable future and protect the region’s unique character and natural assets.

“We have pursued that direction because we know our community and we understand what Sunshine Coast residents want and expect,” Cr Abbot said.

“That’s why it is essential that we are allowed to plan for our region’s future, rather than have plans imposed on us from outside.

“This research, and all the research we’ve done in recent years, has consistently demonstrated that issues relating to population growth are a major concern for residents.

“Yet the State Government, in its wisdom, has taken planning for additional 50,000 residents at Caloundra South out of the hands of council and apparently believes our community has no right to have a say on how this development occurs.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Tim Dwyer said the Nielsen research findings confirmed that council was on the right track and its current policies reflected a range of community concerns.

He said the survey identified the characteristics of the region that residents wanted to preserve, while embracing opportunities for the future.

“When asked what they wanted the region to be like in 10 to 20 years, a significant number said they wanted the region to stay much the same, with little or no growth,” Cr Dwyer said.

“Others also specifically identified increased density, and overpopulation as issues of concern.

“The State Government keeps saying it’s listening but it seems to have a hearing problem when it comes to the Sunshine Coast.

“The Premier and the Planning Minister should take a look at these research findings because they are an accurate reflection of our residents’ views.

“The Sunshine Coast Council is in touch with our community - we live here and we are out in the region talking to local residents everyday.

“It’s pretty obvious the State Government has no idea and its reasons for taking over planning for Caloundra South are simplistic and fundamentally flawed.”

For more details on the research findings, visit council's website.