When Mark Jamieson declared the site of the new Maroochydore City Centre open to the community, he was doing more than just cutting a ribbon.
The Sunshine Coast Mayor opened a whole new world of possibilities to the thousands of residents who attended People’s Day (August 10).
The Maroochydore City Centre site will be home to a 21st century smart city where environmental sensors will monitor temperature, pollution or pollen levels and send alerts when changes are detected – making the city more liveable for residents and visitors.
Smart irrigation systems which use a combination of weather station, associated sensors and flow metres will also be deployed across the site to help maintain public parkland and reduce weed growth while minimising water usage and costs.
“As well as environmental sensors, the smart poles which already line the new CBD streets can be fitted with Wi-Fi, pedestrian and vehicle counters, digital signage, LED lights and fibre optic cable,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“LED lights can be turned on and off automatically and slowly, especially during the twilight of morning and evening.
“This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, electricity costs and energy consumption by up to 14% which is in keeping with our council’s strong commitment to take real action on climate change and better position our region to adapt to a changing climate.”
The LED lights will also provide artistic lighting in public areas such as Foundation Square – situated at the core of our city centre, its name revealed at the People’s Day celebrations.
The Maroochydore City Centre will also host Australia’s first underground automated waste collection system for an entire CBD.
When fully installed and operational, it is expected this will increase recycling rates and create a cleaner, healthier and more attractive city centre for residents, businesses and visitors.
The other smart solution which will make an even bigger difference is the connection to the international broadband submarine cable network.
“When the cable comes ashore, it will connect to the cable landing station, now under construction in Maud Street and which we will open next month,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Maroochydore – and indeed, our Sunshine Coast – will offer the fastest data and telecommunications transmission from the eastern seaboard of Australia to Asia.
“It will also position our region to become Australia’s first Digital Trade Hub – taking a region-wide approach to data and digital connectivity.”
The community will also be able to experience the eventual look and feel of this future city via their smart devices.
The Sunshine Coast Council app has been transformed into a portal to the future, allowing users to see how the new city centre will look both above and below the ground.
“With the touch of a button and swipe of a screen you can open council’s app and take a virtual guided walk which allows you to see how the site will look in the years to come,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The design concept of the yet to be built city hall will come to life on the screen, as will Australia’s first high-tech, underground automated waste collection system.
“This interactive visitor experience is automatically activated when you use the app in the city centre thanks to high-tech beacons located throughout the streets.
“This technology is available now when visiting the city centre and accessible to people wanting to explore the area via the app from the comfort of their own home.”
Mayor Jamieson said the electricity consumption of council-owned infrastructure in the city centre – including street lights and community facilities – would be completely offset by green energy produced by the council’s solar farm.
“We are taking advantage of the rare opportunity of having a greenfield site that enables us to build in the digital infrastructure from day one and from the ground up,” he said.
“While other city centres play catch up and retrofit to take advantage of technology – ours will be healthy, smart and creative from the very start.
“Smart solutions deployed throughout the city centre will make it an enviable and dynamic location to work, live, invest and enjoy yourself.
“We are delivering an attractive, liveable, contemporary and technologically advanced city centre for the 21st century – one our community can be proud to call their own.”