Mayor Mark Jamieson provided an overview of major projects and initiatives recently undertaken by Council. He said there has been a lift in employment and business confidence with building approvals on an 8 year high. Not only has there been a focus on economic development, but environmental considerations have been crucial as well. Fauna and flora corridors across the region have been maintained with a major focus on a clear and definite corridor between ‘the Coast’ and northern Brisbane growth areas.
There have been a range of initiatives undertaken by Council. The Solar Farm will reduce Council costs, the desire to have a submarine cable come ashore on the Sunshine Coast providing a future safe link to online services across the world is also under consideration. The development of the Sunshine Coast Airport to true International status will see a growth in tourism and provide an international trade link for local producers. A record 1 millionth tourist visitor for the year will fly into the Sunshine Coast airport sometime in November.
Mayor Jamieson remarked on the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre upgrade and the further growth of the Sunshine Coast University which currently has 12,000 enrollments growing to 28,000 in 2027. The new developing area of Palmview will house another 17,000 residents while the soon to be opened Sunshine Coast University Hospital will provide a further 4,600 full time jobs.
The Aura development will bring another 50,000 residents to this region.
Mayor Jamieson sees alternatives for funding a light rail network across the Coast where private enterprise funds the construction while being given exclusive rights to nearby associated housing developments. Further exploration is required on these possibilities but there is a realization that waiting until State and Federal funding becomes available is not a viable option.
Cameron Elmes, President of the Queensland Air Museum, spoke of the Air Museum’s history from very humble beginnings to where it stands today as one of Australia’s premier collections of aircraft. In its short 40 year history, the museum is on the verge of a major expansion, possibly tripling its size. Land swap deals need to still be sensitively negotiated so the site can be extended from where it sits currently to expand up to the eastern edge of Bunnings. Not only will there be a vast increase in size, but the new Queensland Air Museum will front onto Caloundra Road providing excellent exposure to the major road. A tripling of visitor numbers is considered as a conservative estimate.
Cameron ran through a series of photos showing the gradual expansion of the collection to what it is today, one of the major tourist attractions of the Sunshine Coast.
Jason Hunt has spoken at BeCA meetings previously, but this time took the floor speaking as the President of the Caloundra ALP Branch. He spoke of his outlook on the political future of the Sunshine Coast, and in particular Caloundra. He had some interesting facts on the amount of income this area produces for both State and Federal Government coffers and the flow back of government funds for projects to develop the area. Figures were produced which showed the generous Federal and State funding to ‘swinging or marginal’ electorates compared to the smaller amount of funds received for ‘safe’ electorates.
The relationship between the funds generated to the government by the Sunshine Coast and the Government funding actually allocated to this area is certainly not in the ‘generous’ area. For an area expanding as it is, the funds returned to this area falls short of the contributions made. The Sunshine Coast does not seem to get its fair share.
The Sunshine Coast has been a safe region for the ‘right’ side of politics for a long time. The last ‘left’ side of politics to represent Caloundra was back in 1902 to 1904. Jason commented that despite such a lengthy time as a ‘safe’ right wing area, the lack of funding directed to the region is reflected in the concerns residents now have for traffic issues, issues which have not just arisen in the last 18 months or so, but issues which have been festering away below the surface as the coast grows and our infra structure falls behind.
Needless to say, Jason recommended a ‘change’ of state government member to promote a fairer distribution of government funds or much needed infra structure. The safe seats don’t seem to get the best funding!
Councillor Baberowski then took the floor to summarize recent Council happenings especially in relation to our area.. He commented on how honored he was to be asked to open the new “Aura bridge’ and the opening of Baringa. He saw Baringa as a wonderful asset for Bellvista and Bells Reach residents with a new shopping complex, new schools, further sporting precincts and an extended Community facility, much larger than the space offered at Bellvista Meeting Place.
BeCA President Les Thomas then brought those in attendance up to date with the news that Sunshine Coast Airport Management was asking to extend the agreement with Stockland on the interim satellite helicopter training facility for a further twelve months. BeCA is disappointed that after two years, an agreement on a permanent helicopter training facility had not been reached with the state government.
In closing the meeting the President wished all a happy Christmas and a safe return in the New Year.
Many stayed on for the Wine and Cheese tasting hosted by the Positive Property People Real Estate Agency. The cheese platters were amazing and there was a more than an adequate supply of wines. Those who were able to stay back enjoyed their time.
The photo above shows construction underway on the first home in Baringa. Another site opposite has also been prepared for construction!