Pressure is mounting on the Sunshine Coast Council to commit to public consultation of its Mass Transit Project before proceeding to the Detailed Business Case stage of the process.
Member for Kawana, Jarrod Bleijie, said he was concerned that the community had not been consulted for over six years about the project, well before the new 2017 South East Queensland Regional Plan established different criteria with regard to population growth and infill targets.
“The 2014 consultation undertaken by the Sunshine Coast Council did not address population growth or infill targets which would be of significant interest to every Sunshine Coast resident,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Sunshine Coast Council has been busy spruiking the benefits of a light rail system but they have kept the community in the dark about what this proposal means for zoning changes and high rise development along our coastal strip.”
Division 4 Councillor, Joe Natoli, who recently raised his concerns publicly about the prospect of “wall to wall” high-density development along some of the proposed corridor, will move a Notice of Motion during tomorrows Ordinary Meeting to ensure the Preliminary Business Case is not finalised or advanced to the State Government until “comprehensive and meaningful community engagement has been undertaken”.
“My understanding is that the Council is still at least 12 months away from going to the community, however now is the time the public needs to fully understand what the urbanization strategy actually entails, not when the planning scheme zoning changes are being proposed so far into the Detailed Business Case process,” Cr Natoli said.
"I believe it is incumbent upon us to be genuine and upfront with the community about what the Preliminary Business Case is proposing."
Co-founder of the Mass Transit Action Group, Tracey Goodwin-McDonald, said the last consultation in 2014 was limited solely to light rail route options and did not mention the plan to increase population on the 13km corridor (stage one) from the current 23,000 to over 100,000 residents.
“Sunshine Coast residents have never been consulted with regard to this plan in its current form,” Ms Goodwin-McDonald said.
“If the current Mass Transit Plan is truly the answer to the future public transport needs of the region, why does the Council have such a problem with community consultation prior to proceeding with the Detailed Business Case?”