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.

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Singapore to Provide Inspiration for Darwin Change After City Deal

Singapore will serve as the inspiration for Darwin’s transformation into a major international tropical city, as Chief Minister Michael Gunner leads a delegation to the Asian country this week.

Mr Gunner said the seven-person delegation would examine Singapore’s urban, green architecture and heat mitigation measures to incorporate into the Government’s $100 million Darwin CBD revitalisation plan.

Image: article provided

The trip follows the City Deal memorandum of understanding signed with the Federal Government this week.

“Singapore is a green oasis that thrives in a humid tropical climate and we can learn a lot from them about transforming Darwin, particularly in relation to using cutting-edge architecture, building vibrant centres and designing heat mitigation strategies,” Mr Gunner said.

“The delegation will meet with world-renowned architect Richard Hassell and connect with urban renewal project leaders with a view to use lessons learned in the Darwin CBD redevelopment.”

On Friday, the Sunday Territorian revealed the City Deal MOU signed with the Federal Government could see $100 million in federal funding ­invested in Darwin.

The PM’s Office said the deal would “help transform the Territory’s capital into a world-class tropical tourist and cultural destination”.

The City Deal requires all three levels of government to work together to develop priority reforms in investment and planning for the Darwin CBD.

This article was originally published by NTNews.com.au.

Continue reading the entire article here.

Can Money Really Grow On Trees?

Increased leaf canopy cover is linked to a significant increase in property values, according to Green infrastructure: a vital step to brilliant Australian cities.

The report, released by infrastructure firm AECOM, compiled urban data analytics across three different suburbs in Sydney, and found that for every 10 per cent increase in the canopy coverage within the street corridor, the value of properties increased by an average of $50,000.

Annandale’s value increased to $60,761, Blacktown increased to $55,000 and Willoughby climbed to $33,152.

Report co-author and AECOM Cities Leader James Rosenwax said population growth in Sydney had placed enormous pressure on existing critical infrastructure like roads and utilities, but trees were often forgotten or undervalued.

“If we don’t put a financial value on trees there is less incentive to protect them when looking at the cost benefits of new roads, bridges or buildings,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the humble street tree is often in conflict with other forms of infrastructure and development.

“Our report found that without sufficient ‘green infrastructure’ Sydney would be hotter, more polluted and could be worth $50 billion less.”

The value a city derives from its urban trees is difficult to measure due to the disconnect between the beneficiaries and the direct costs borne by the councils, utilities and road authorities who manage them.

The report’s author and AECOM Director Roger Swinbourne said those who didn’t experience or understand a tree’s collective benefits would only perceive its costs such as potential to fall, dropping leaves across lawns, or shading of rooftop solar.

Originally Published by The Urban Developer, continue reading here.

New Design Detail Revealed For Gold Coast Integrated Resort

The newly released details include the following attractions:

  • 9,200m2 waterfront square
  • Sub-tropical canopy, skywalk and gardens
  • Waterfront amphitheater
  • Signature ballroom
  • Broadwater coves for fishing, swimming and casual recreation
  • Marina, public boat and jet ski moorings
  • Medi-spa and health and day spa
  • Waterfalls
  • All ages leisure attraction
  • Jetties and piers
  • Terrace and rooftop gardens
  • Boutique shopping arcades
  • Waterfront restaurants
  • Waterfront markets
  • Art on the Broadwater
  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • Rooftop park with outdoor cinema.

Gold Coast Integrated Resort architect Michael Rayner, of Queensland-based Blight Rayner Architecture, said the design had to reflect the Gold Coast community’s values and diversity to ensure it appealed to locals and tourists alike.

“We were able to achieve this scale of public offerings by increasing height; this approach reduces the building footprint and opens up more public space for locals and visitors to enjoy,” Mr Rayner said.

“The existing three storey height limit was appropriate for its time but can only result in privatised resorts with limited public accessibility such as already exists on The Spit.

“The towers we have designed are well-dispersed on the near six hectare site, creating maximum public realm and opening up new and accessible areas never before available to Gold Coast residents or visitors,” he said.

Mr Rayner said that those who are concerned about the resort’s impact on scenery can rest assured that that considerable work has gone into the design to ensure community views on height are respected and responded to in the design.

Originally published by The Urban Developer, continue reading here.