Demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt has called for changes to the Draft SEQ Regional Plan to help “containerise” the Sunshine Coast.
He outlined the case for geographically balanced growth on the Sunshine Coast, including more dwellings north of the Maroochy River, during a speech to the Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland (UDIA) QLD Branch at Maroochydore.
Mr Salt argued for the benefits of ‘containerisation’, and said having people live and work within close proximity, while clustered around a CBD or regional hub will provide the best outcomes as the region grows, with employment, recreation and spending contained with the region.
He said without containerisation, people’s spending power bleeds to other regions, while long commutes are unsustainable.
“Without containing and focusing growth within the region you’ll never be able to build enough motorways, public transport and commuter infrastructure – the demand will always outstrip supply and the tax base could be better utilised on other infrastructure," Mr Salt said.
“The solution is to take the jobs to the people and balance growth across the region – the SEQ Regional Plan can do that by making modest changes to its current draft.”
Mr Salt demonstrated, through a series of statistical snapshots, that the Sunshine Coast is well positioned for economic growth and to be an employment hub and a regional powerhouse.
“Limited, planned and responsible residential development north of the Maroochy River will reinforce the strength of the new Maroochydore CBD," Mr Salt said.
"Limiting expansion to the south of Maroochy River risks growth bleeding off to Caboolture and beyond.
“I want the Sunshine Coast to be the best it can be, to optimise the opportunity of growth over the coming the years.
"Small tweaks to the Regional Plan will yield great dividends,” he said.
More than 150 business and community leaders gathered for the UDIA QLD event, sponsored by Consolidated Properties.