The Sunshine Coast Council has a grand vision: to be the most sustainable region in the nation. Mayor Mark Jamieson says the council is embracing “game-changing projects” that will drive economic growth and community prosperity for the region.
“To be economically sustainable we need to ensure we have the quality and breadth of industry to provide meaningful and well-paid employment for the region’s workers,” he says.
“To be environmentally sustainable we need to recognise the importance of our open spaces, our forests and our beaches and the wildlife therein to preserve the integrity – indeed, one of the natural advantages – the Sunshine Coast enjoys.
“And to ensure a sustainable community… we need to recognise and maintain the individuality of our community of communities while also generating a collective sense of place called the Sunshine Coast.”
Beerwah and Palmwoods in the Sunshine Coast hinterland have recently undergone a placemaking process, where the council has worked with the communities on issues from infrastructure to town centre management to community capacity building. Activities included developing action plans and masterplans, art projects, events, festivals, building infrastructure and economic development projects.
Jamieson says community values, collaboration and engagement were at the heart of the council’s placemaking efforts.
“The process also builds community capacity to take action,” he says. “It ensures change is not just a council function. Rather, communities become more resilient and empowered to build their own future.”
One of the most exciting chapters in the Sunshine Coast’s history is about to start at Maroochydore City Centre, with the council embarking on Australia’s only greenfield CBD development.
“We have 53 hectares of golf course land to transform into a future business, civic and residential centre,” Jamieson says. “The Maroochydore City Centre will be instrumental in building and strengthening the economic and civic base of the region.”
The massive project, to be delivered over the next 25 years, will provide a mix of residential, commercial, retail, civic and community infrastructure in a vibrant city centre.
“The masterplanning process has also identified entertainment, exhibition and convention facilities, community facilities and meeting spaces, parklands, walkways, recreation areas and waterways, and an enhanced public transport network,” Jamieson says. “It will eventually establish Maroochydore as the leading business, employment and community services hub.”
The Council has released a Regional Economic Development Strategy, its 20-year blueprint for sustainable economic growth. Other development projects identified in the strategy include the Kawana Health Campus, the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, the University of the Sunshine Coast expansion and the Bruce Highway upgrade.
Jamieson says the aim is to create new 100,000 jobs.
“The Sunshine Coast is well-placed to secure strategic investment in high-value industries,” he says. “The region is also ideally located to attract international business attention, including new export and trade partnerships.”
On the environmental front, the council has proposed a solar farm at Valdora, which will offset the council’s entire electricity consumption at its facilities and operations. In addition, the Sunshine Coast Airport has become the first in the nation to be accredited under the Airport Carbon Accreditation program at Level 2 Reduction.
“Bold thinking and real action are needed to develop the new economy – one which leverages our region’s natural advantages, industry strengths and emerging opportunities, existing expertise and future potential,” Jamieson says. “There is much to do and the time to act is now.”
Read more about placemaking and masterplanning in our Creating Sustainable Precincts ebook.