Council gives green light for next step on light rail

3 months ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

The Sunshine Coast is one step closer to getting a light rail public transport service after council gave the green light for a business case to be developed.

The Council decision to proceed to a full feasibility and business case phase was recommended by the Light Rail Taskforce in the Pre-feasibility and Rapid Economic Appraisal Report ‘A line in the sand’ which was released on Monday August 27.

  • download and read the Pre-feasibility and Rapid Economic Appraisal Report ‘A line in the sand’ summary or full report from the library

The Pre-feasibility and Rapid Economic Appraisal Report ‘A line in the sand’ is a collaborative effort by the broadly based taskforce, convened by the Sunshine Coast council in February 2012. The Taskforce comprised key industry and community representatives, as well as community representatives selected through the expression of interest process. It also embodies input from the community made through this online hub.

The report clearly sets out the significant economic and social benefits of light rail as a ‘game changer’ for the entire Sunshine Coast region. It is much bigger than a public transport project and capable of delivering returns region wide for the next 100 years.

 The Sunshine Coast Light Rail project will support the Council and Community vision of becoming Australia’s most sustainable region by:

  • Delivering nearly 9,000 jobs during construction and operation;
  • $3.6 billion estimated benefits back into the economy;
  • Protecting lifestyle and natural assets, farm and hinterland;
  • Connecting people and places to major hubs and villages for employment, education, health and tourism;
  • Improving mobility, especially for aged and people with disabilities.
  • Encouraging new forms of urban development and reinvigorating precincts and;
  • Reducing reliance on car travel.

The aim of the project is to develop the first stages of a sleek, modern light rail system for travel between the Sunshine Coast’s major destinations including Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Caloundra and the new hospital and town centre at Kawana by 2020. 

The preferred corridor would link Maroochydore with Caloundra. This is the primary activity corridor in the region and contains many of the key attractions to potential public transport users. There would be a connection to the Kawana Town Centre and health precinct. It could be developed in two major stages based on an initial connection between Maroochydore and the new hospital precinct at Kawana.

Other routes should be anticipated and could be separately investigated. It is clear key destinations like the Sunshine Coast Airport and the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Palmview growth corridor would be potential attractors for future routes. Longer term connections to Caloundra South, Noosa and Nambour could also be anticipated.

Light rail would mean at least 50,000 car trips off the road by 2031 resulting in less congestion for those that do drive and benefits to the Sunshine Coast environment and lifestyle.

The business case process will include comprehensive public consultation on routes and options.  It will be conducted over the next two years at an estimated cost of $ 4 million. The costs will be shared between the Council, funded by its public transport levy, and the Commonwealth Government who have provided a $500,000 grant under the Liveable Cities Program.   Talks will also be held with the Queensland Government in the future.

A summary of the report can be found in the library section on this hub.