Fast Rail Projects Vie for Federal Government Funding

High speed rail between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast is a step closer to becoming a reality, after securing federal funding to develop a business case.

The Queensland project was one of 11 submissions shortlisted to receive a share of $20 million in public funding from the Turnbull government to develop a business case.

Twenty-six national rail submissions were lodged last year in a bid to ultimately share $10 billion of federal funding to improve rail connections between cities and regions.

The Consolidated Land and Rail Australia, or CLARA, also released a statement on Friday announcing their selection by the federal government to put forward a business case.

Submitted by Stockland, Smec, Urbis and KPMG, the “North Coast Connect” project proposed upgrading the existing line from Brisbane to Beerburrum, Beerburrum to Nambour and Beerwah to Maroochydore, creating 200km of fast rail that could potentially see train travellers reach the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane in 45 minutes.

As shortlisted projects, CLARA and the Sunshine Coast fast rail projects will now make a business case to be put forward for the next stage of selection.

They join the NSW government’s proposal for a Sydney to Newcastle connection.

The business cases are expected to be delivered over the next 12 months, and the Turnbull Government’s funding for the business cases will be combined with funding provided by the project proponents.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the intention of this process is to develop detailed proposals for faster rail services between major cities and surrounding regional areas.

“The successful proposals in NSW, Queensland, and Victoria were selected following a competitive assessment process for their potential to substantially improve the efficiency of rail links between key regional centres and major cities.

“If these proposals prove to be viable, they offer the potential to significantly reduce journey times on these key corridors—meaning better options for people who want to have the lifestyle of a regional centre but access to the job opportunities of a big city,” he said.

“We have also ensured that three different transport corridors, in three different states, are being considered.”

Once the business case for each proposal is complete they will then proceed to independent assessment by Infrastructure Australia.

Should the rail project in the Sunshine Coast be approved, it will add to the region’s current transport infrastructure action which includes the construction of a new main runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport, after John Holland Group was awarded a $225 million contract to begin construction.

Originally Published by The Urban Developer, view article here.

Contested spaces: conflict behind the sand dunes takes a new turn

When we think of coasts, we are likely to think about the great sandy beaches that have been the destination for many day trips and long weekends. At times these spaces have been sources of contestation, especially in areas of public access and codes of conduct. However, behind the sand dunes are other landscapes with deep histories of social conflict.

Moments from coastal pasts have had a major impact on how we see different coasts today. They feed into distinct ideals and ethics on place, especially in terms of how it is developed.

Noosa Heads versus Surfers Paradise

Noosa Heads is a prime example of this. Noosa’s history during colonisation includes a number of difficult stories to tell. Examples include the contentious tale of the rescue of Eliza Fraser, or the fate of the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people, at the hands of the colonial settlers and the native police.

Yet it was in the 1960s when modern conflict over land use really took shape in Noosa. A proposal by the developer T.M. Burke to build a resort at Alexandria Bay created a stir among locals. The local shire was set to build an access road around the headland, destroying well-trodden walking tracks.

A group led by local Arthur Harrold fought this proposal and formed the still-operating Noosa Parks Association. Thus began a long-standing fight against over-development, mining and other impediments to what residents saw as the natural beauty of the coast. This included the Cooloola Conflict and the now-famed resistance to high-rise development.

While there are elements of conservationism here to consider, these conflicts arose in a bid to keep Noosa low-key, with a slower mentality and authentic natural surrounds. Today, these ethics of authenticity are firmly embedded in planning regulation, illustrating the strength of local resistance past.

Noosa residents’ key fear in the 1960s and ’70s was losing their sense of place to the different ideals embodied in another coastal mecca, Surfers Paradise. Like Noosa, Surfers has a long history of conflict. Yet this place developed much differently due to several key factors

Originally Published by The Conversation, continue reading here.

Sunshine Plaza Receives Developmental Approval

Sunshine Plaza, located in Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has gained final approval to commence construction of a $400 million redevelopment, which is jointly owned by the Australian Prime Property Fund Retail, managed by Lendlease and The GPT Group.

Affirming its position as the largest retail centre north of Brisbane, Sunshine Plaza will expand from 73,000 square metres to over 107,000 square metres turning the strong performing centre into a leading fashion, leisure and tourist destination. Customers will enjoy an enhanced retail mix with the region’s first David Jones department store, a new BIGW, a refurbished Myer, a stunning new Amaroo Street mall entrance, provision for large format fashion operators and over 100 new specialty stores, bringing highly sought-after fashion brands to the Sunshine Coast.

The first stage of the redevelopment will involve the construction of a car park on vacant land behind Toys R Us. This will provide alternative customer parking during the construction of the first multi-deck car park, located at the Kmart entrance. Lendlease’s Head of Retail, Gary Horwitz, said extensive community consultation provided deep insights into the needs and aspirations of the local market.

Preliminary_Artist Impression_internal mall_Sunshine Plaza_indicative on...

“We are proud of our strong history at Sunshine Plaza, having delivered innovative and unique retail experiences which celebrate the outdoor coastal strengths of the region. The Centre already achieves solid results, ranking second in Queensland for specialty sales productivity and performs significantly higher than the national benchmark.

“The current performance of Sunshine Plaza indicates a strong demand for an expanded retail offer,” Mr Horwitz said.

Sunshine Plaza aerial

GPT Group’s Head of Investment, Retail Scott Meehan said the development would strengthen Sunshine Plaza’s reputation as the Sunshine Coast’s leading retail and leisure destination.

“GPT is excited to invest in the expansion of one of its best performing shopping centres, which is located in a market that should continue to benefit from strong population and tourism growth.”

Read more.