BeCA had two representatives attend a forum on Friday July 17th which was arranged by local MP Mark McArdle.
Mark was seeking feedback on issues effecting Caloundra.
There were representatives from hinterland community organisations, Ratepayers’ Association, Friends Of Currimundi Lake, Night Eyes as well as other groups including our own, the Bellvista Community Association.
The Forum group consisted predominately of people over 50 years of age.
The Forum was divided into 2 Sessions.
Session 1: Participants were asked what issues Caloundra needed to address to re assert itself as a major role player in the future of the Sunshine Coast, specifically what issues should be included in any vision for the future of this area.
The following points were made:
* Caloundra needed to remain a popular beach holiday centre for families.
* There was a need to retain the area’s unique environmental features.
* The Pumicestone Passage was a feature which needed to be maintained in an as pristine condition as possible.
* The area is about to experience a massive growth in population which would need to be carefully managed to retain the environmental features and the culture it currently enjoys.
* There was one train of thought that the Caloundra South area should not have been developed, that rather the hinterland was a better solution as it already had much of the required infrastructure in place (train services etc). The area was looking for growth and expansion for the future of its many businesses already in place. A larger nearby population would provide a ready made market for local industries already in existence.
* Successful management of growth was best dealt with in a partnership between credible and responsible local community groups and the decision makers.
(There were numerous examples voiced of the difficulty for local organisations when liaising with the bureaucracy of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.)
A point was raised regarding the makeup of the group as it contained older community members and was thus not able to effectively reflect the views of younger residents.
Session 2: The second half of the session was to voice any “Major Concerns”.
* The current planning of communities here on the Sunshine Coast left much to be desired. Narrow streets, poor or inappropriate public transport, lack of consultation with people who would be using the facilities, and the bureaucratic nightmare of liaising with several SCRC departments and then several State Government authorities to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
* The cost to the community of the management and expense of state of the art environmental practices after these resources are passed onto Council from the developer. That is, will the SCRC have the expertise and ability to effectively manage the state of the art environmental features after the development has been handed to them by the developer?
* The lack of appropriate local rail transport to the Sunshine Coast and Caloundra South and the effect this will have on local roadways.
* What will happen to Bulcock St when the proposed mega shopping centre is built at Caloundra South?
* Are current bus services ‘working’? Are they being used by residents? Is there a more effective way of moving people here on the Sunshine Coast? Do you regularly use public transport? If not then why not? What needs to be done to encourage people to use public transport and what form should public transport therefore take?
* The need to create more employment locally to provide for our young and for new residents. Does the SCRC make it easy to setup business here on the Sunshine Coast? The consensus from those at the forum who had tried to setup or knew someone who had tried to setup a new business here was “No”.
* Environmental representatives at the forum believed two new estates planned for the Sunshine Coast (Pelican Waters South and another mooted for Bells Creek) should be stopped now.
In summary the forum felt that a major stumbling block for the future development for many aspects of the Sunshine Coast were hamstrung because of the extreme difficulties with varying departments, both at a local and state level. These varying groups found it extremely difficult to communicate with each other. This state government department wasn’t speaking with another state government body and there were many examples of the same situation occurring between local government departments.
An example which was given which cited the painting of 10 seats along Lake Currimundi. The SCRC was approached to repaint the seats. Eventually this was given the green light and the seats were painted. Upon inspection it was seen as only 8 seats had been painted. The other two seats were not controlled by SCRC Parks and Gardens, but by a state authority. Therefore only the 8 seats controlled by SCRC were painted. Another State Government authority had to be liaised with to get the final 2 seats painted …. eventually!
Mark McArdle thanked everyone for their input and that the forum will meet again later this year to further discuss these and other issues.
BeCA also wishes to than Mark for the invitation to attend the forum and looks forward to meeting again later in 2012. Attendees at the next meeting were asked to bring along a ‘younger’ person so their views could be heard as well.