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Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project – Column from Sunshine Coast Council CEO Emma Thomas

Sustainability has long been front and centre of who we are on the Sunshine Coast.

It’s been part of council’s story dating back well over a decade – evidenced in a string of strategy documents prepared by Sunshine Coast Council with input from you, our community.

The focus on sustainability and our overwhelming desire to maintain a bright future for our region as it continues to grow, means we must take the opportunity to carefully examine how residents and visitors will move around in the future. It’s clear private vehicles cannot continue to be our only option as more people choose to call our region home – if we want to care for our environment, maintain our liveability and avoid long periods of our time in traffic.

That’s why we’re well underway with investigations into the best mode of public transport for our community. Council is grateful to everyone who has taken the time to provide feedback and notes 68 per cent of respondents want to see a good mass transit system on the Sunshine Coast. Your thoughts have been considered and reflected in, or have informed the documents to be considered by council on October 20.

Our Councillors will decide if the options analysis report should be forwarded to the State and Federal Governments for the next stage of investigations. Our councillors will not be deciding on a mode of transport, nor a final route. The project is not at that stage.

Council is also not choosing between heavy or light rail. Council believes a reliable, convenient rail connection from Maroochydore to Brisbane is required as well as improved local public transport. This is no competition and nor is there a proposal to choose one over the other. 

Some residents have made it clear they do not want light rail on the Sunshine Coast. That feedback has been heard. There have been suggestions the light rail option should not be included in the options analysis report. However, an assessment of the suitability of light rail must be in the report as an accurate record of our investigations. We would not be delivering a comprehensive options analysis if it was omitted.

Council made a very deliberate and considered decision to rename this project as the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project, to reflect its commitment to thoroughly investigate viable options. The report being considered next week does just that.

Major public transport infrastructure takes a long time to deliver. That’s why council has taken the proactive approach to lead the early stages of the mass transit investigations to encourage investment by the other tiers of government in a sustainable, accessible transport system that best meets the needs of our community.

Anyone can view the documents Council will consider on October 20 and watch the meeting live via Council’s website.

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