News

Forward thinkers offer sweet plan on future of Sunshine Coast

An early morning jogger at Happy Valley, Caloundra. Experts warn of preserving the Coast’s character.
An early morning jogger at Happy Valley, Caloundra. Experts warn of preserving the Coast’s character. Brett Wortman

HOW can the Sunshine Coast retain its iconic character and charm while planning for future growth?

The answer is "strawberries".

Or more accurately, "enjoy your strawberries ... but hold the jam".

A who's who of the Sunshine Coast's business and academic leaders converged on the University of the Sunshine Coast last week for a day-long forum on sustainable villages.

The forum, held as part of USC and the council's Sunshine Coast Futures Conference Series, aimed to address the question: How do we get the balance right between identity, community, business and prosperity?

And while the forum's keynote speaker was a global leader in regional development, it was the Coast uni's own Professor Mike Hefferan who eloquently captured the spirit of the forum.

Prof Hefferan said the Coast needed to avoid creating "strawberry jam" when catering for future population growth. He said the Coast's "distinct and different" villages were like strawberries that needed to be nurtured. But what we needed to avoid was letting "jam" - or urban sprawl - spread between our villages, which had happened in some Gold Coast suburbs.

"This is an iconic place," Prof Hefferan said.

>> Why we're living in a piece of heaven

>> Do we risk becoming village idiots?

"This region has got significant problems but it's a damn good place.

"It's distinctive and damn near unique. It's a loose collection of quite different towns.

"We've got a number of larger places that are really distinctive and so different in character."

Prof Hefferan said while the Sunshine Coast needed to broaden its economic base, Brisbane would always provide employment for many of our residents.

"At the moment all we can see is a heap of utes going south in the morning," he said.

"We will not be able to grow the smart jobs fast enough (to provide work for all Sunshine Coast residents).

"We will always have the imbalance.

"So building up that link that gets a fast commute into town is something we really have to think about.

"It's amazing how little countries can get infrastructure. But here no one has invested in infrastructure.

"The fact that we have a single rail here and you have to wait for a goods train is outrageous. We've got to have a more mature link to Brisbane."

Mayor Mark Jamieson told the conference we should look to London for inspiration.

"London has been called the city of villages. Many of the world's most famous cities had their origins in villages," he said.

"We often hear that the Sunshine Coast is a community of communities. It tells us about the values and aspirations of our residents.

"The Coast already has the status of having the ninth largest population in the nation.

"Maintaining the individual quality of localities is a central tenant of the draft planning scheme."

Mr Jamieson said a key to establishing a bright future was broadening the Coast's economic base.

"Tourism is and will continue to be an extremely important part of our economy," he said.

"We have to create a broader economy to future-proof ourselves. We are in the business of tourism, retail and building. But it's about adding some more strings to our bow.

"A big part of creating that success is creating a future where our children no longer have to leave this region to study or find employment."

Keynote speaker Professor John Tomaney told the conference while Australia's economy was driven by its major cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, regions such as the Sunshine Coast had a vital role to play.

"Successful regions are characterised by their ability to provide infrastructure that promotes connectivity," he said.

Prof Tomaney told the forum the Sunshine Coast needed to promote what our region offers that is unique.

"Work out what in your regional economy is unique," he said.

"What is it we know and we do that other regions can't. The question is how does the Sunshine Coast continue to build on its prosperity?"

Topics:  development, future, sunshine coast




UPDATE: More doctors called in to deal with gastro outbreak

There are many tried and tested ways to prevent this scene the morning after.

"Severity of symptoms and duration go hand in hand."

M'boro MP weighs in on having public sex offenders' register

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has weighed in on the idea of a public sex offenders' register.

Bruce Saunders has weighed in on having a public register.

$700,000 worth of works done at Hervey Bay Airport

10 years of jets at Hervey Bay Airport - Virgin flight arrives from Sydney. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

A new departure lounge is one of latest additions to airport.

Latest deals and offers

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Morgan Freeman asks: are we alone? Why do humans exist?

Morgan Freeman in Through the Wormhole. Photo: Discovery Science

Question all you thought you knew, on Foxtel.

Five new things to see and do at this year's Muster

There's already plenty of fun to be had at the XXXX bar.

Here are five new things to see and do at this year's Gympie Muster

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.