Leading Australian futurist and demographer Bernard Salt has identified Robina and Varsity Lakes as the principal population growth, infrastructure and employment hub for Gold Coast City's future, based on demographic modelling and data projections to the year 2050.
While Gold Coast City's population is expected to double to 1.2 million by 2050, Mr Salt says much of the phenomenal growth will concentrate around the geographic heart of the city - primarily the area centred on Robina/Varsity.
He says the Gold Coast's 'linear' form will result in more infill development in response to the city's growing population - meaning that existing urban centres like Robina/Varsity will need to upscale in density to meet demand.
His projections, revealed today at a business breakfast at Bond University, show a total of 561,000 new residents will call Gold Coast City home by 2050, creating a need for an additional 230,000 dwellings.
"As the city grows, only about a third of Gold Coast City's future population is expected to live outside the current urban footprint, and the balance – an additional 370,000 people – will be accommodated by infill development," he said.
"When you take stock of the Gold Coast today, there are very few regions that can match Robina/Varsity's capacity for growth and expansion -or its ability to provide diversity of housing and workspaces - with 50 hectares of approved developable land and a raft of key infrastructure and services already in place.
"This existing infrastructure will prove to be Robina/Varsity's greatest asset, because future density requirements will effectively prohibit the development of new super regional shopping centres like Robina Town Centre, or universities on a similar scale to Bond - which is one of the fastest growing universities in Australia – forecast to grow by 125% by 2050. There will be no more. This is it.
"All the housing, the shops, the jobs, the health and other city centre infrastructure that pertains to the middle of the Gold Coast urban form will hold fast to the centrally located Robina/Varsity precinct.
"I am a believer in the Gold Coast. I am an optimist about the Gold Coast. Here is a place willed into existence by the Australian people and whose future growth is both assured and channelled by planning into an elongated urban form. With Robina in the middle. It doesn't come any better for a locality."Mr Salt says planned infrastructure, including light and heavy rail links to connect Robina/ Varsity to the beaches and Gold Coast Airport will enhance Gold Coast City's bid to become a 'world city.'"Robina/ Varsity is only 15 minutes from the airport, which offers a growing list of flight paths to major cities around the world, so it makes sense to offer a direct route to CBDRobina, considering its existing resources and potential for growth.
"Once this connection is complete, Robina/Varsity will have all the scaffolding in place to build on future population growth and be a major economic centre and a hub for employment creation.
In fact, Robina/Varsity lakes will be the highest contributor to the economic growth of Gold Coast City, with a projected $5.4 billion contribution, or 24.6% of the city’s Gross Regional Product Growth to 2050."