Yesterday (Thursday), a deputation from BeCA, which also included Jason Hunt and Sunshine Coast Ratepayer’s Association President Ian Smyth, met with local Department of Transport and Main Roads Advisor Amanda Yeates and two of her senior planners to discuss traffic on Bellvista Blvd and the increase of traffic along Caloundra Rd.
BeCA supports the construction of a new East-West link road including a connection from Golden Beach (Pelican Waters Blvd) to Bellvista Blvd and in turn onto the new extension of Kawana Link Road which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. BeCA sees the East-West Link Rd project as a major way to remove traffic from Bellvista Blvd and improve the overall movement of traffic around Caloundra.
An ‘off the top of the head’ costing of this project is anywhere between 50 and 100 million dollars.
Amanda acknowledged the merit of the plan but at this stage there are more pressing needs for scarce State Government funding for the Sunshine Coast, especially the precinct surrounding the new Sunshine Coast Hospital and the planned Mooloolah Interchange. Both projects have a very high priority at this stage.
Stockland has committed to build the road (Kawana Way Extension) from Corbould Park roundabout through to Roy’s Road as part of its infra structure agreement between Stockland, Council and the State Government, an agreement which took many months to thrash out. This road will be built as required to service the construction of new housing estates in Caloundra South. Currently it is estimated that the Kawana Way Extension will be completed through to the Roys Rd interchange (and Bruce Hwy) around 2028.
The East West Link Rd project is seen by State Government planners to be at least 10 years away. Bellvista Blvd is a ‘Council’ controlled road and its construction was discussed and an agreement made between Council and Lensworth/Stockland on its development. An East West Link Road does appear on TMR planning maps. It connects Pelican Waters Blvd with the new Kawana Way extension via Bellvista Blvd and eventually through to Roys Rd.
When queried on what was planned to remove traffic from Caloundra Rd, BeCA learned the State Government has been working closely with Council on the issue. The Nicklin Way roundabout has been identified as a major cause of congestion and plans are being formulated between TMR and Council to improve traffic movement at this intersection. Costs for this project could be anywhere from 10 to 20 million dollars.
Amanda commented that Public consultation was a major focus of her role and the role of planners. She also pointed out that there were many Community, Progress and other Community Associations presenting a variety of points of view across the Sunshine Coast. There may be value in a united approach being adopted by local community groups which would give broader and more powerful public voice.
BeCA is in the process of scheduling a meeting with its own deputation, the Ratepayers’ Association (Southern) and Golden Beach Progress Association sometime in early 2016.
Amanda has suggested she meet with the BeCA Management Committee and others sometime in May 2016 to bring all up to date on any developments.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has set plans for the next two years. Because of the possibility of a change of state government, any further planning beyond those two years cannot be definitive. However there are plans in place for 5, 10, 15 etc years ahead. But priorities do change over time and with circumstances.
As Caloundra South grows and there is the increased effect that added population brings to the table, what may be of low priority in 2016 may become high priority in 2017 and beyond. With a State Government election looming around two years away, who knows what any priority could be in 2018?