There is no doubt we need to protect the fragile dunal system between Maroochydore Beach and Alexandra Beach AND we need bike paths – but State MP Fiona Simpson says the two need to be planned together.
"The Transport Minister is pushing ahead with plans to build the controversial M2M cycleway at Alexandra Headland next to one of the narrowest dunal areas on the Coast," Ms Simpson said.
The Public Consultation period for the planned route ending this month (31 July) – but Ms Simpson has slammed the plan, pointing out it does not properly take into account the Sunshine Coast Council's planned Rock Seawall or in fact the impact of the future proposed light rail.
"The cart is before the horse. This is preposterous! I bet a lot of people don't even know about the Rock Seawall and where it is planned to be built. I know the surfers and other community members are concerned. But by locking in the cycleway design, you may be locking in the wrong solution or location for this seawall in a very fragile area. The community successfully fought against a planned rock wall at Cotton Tree – no doubt this will be another fight in the future if concerns aren't taken on board about whether this is in the right location or whether in fact it is the right solution," Ms Simpson said.
"But the issue today is: We need to "Pause and Rethink the Cycleway" until all cards are on the table. How can people be expected to make a proper submission on the cycleway project without all the information about other plans for Alex like the location of the Rock Seawall and possible future 8-metre wide light rail corridor through a location next to one of the narrowest dunal areas on the Coast."
"We need everything on the table to develop a comprehensive and cohesive "Plan for Alex" to keep Alex safe and great – it's too important to mess up and get it wrong by putting the cart before the horse," she said.
"We need to get it right and for the State Government and Council to consider all the issues before choosing a cycleway route through Alex which has such hugely negative impact on safe beach access for a number of reasons such as loss of beach-side carparks."
Ms Simpson said the "Plan for Alex" needs to look at the location of any proposed rock seawall between Maroochydore and Alexandra Headland beaches, the cycleway, pedestrians, surfers, swimmers and beach goers.
"If we get the cycleway wrong and have to move it later, the costs will be horrendous both financially and environmentally! What if it's better to have the cycleway or bike and pedestrian pathways along the potential Rock Seawall or alongside it instead of where it's going now?" she said.
"We need robust and interactive community engagement upon which to base future recommendations which rightly reflect the environmental, cultural and social significance of Alex. We need coastal experts and engineers to examine the best options to protect our dunal system and infrastructure AND to build bike and pedestrian pathways in the right spot," Ms Simpson said.
"This needs to be an open and transparent process instead of vital decisions being made in a piecemeal approach behind closed doors – all issues need to be considered together and the community needs to be consulted," Ms Simpson said.
"Let's "Pause and Rethink" this!"
"I will be hosting a Community Corner at Buhk Park near the Alexandra Headland Surf Club this Saturday, July 4 10.30-11.30am to show people more about this issue and talk to locals first-hand to find out what they want for their beach," said Ms Simpson.