Southern Gold Coasters are being encouraged to come forward and have their say on the proposed route for the light rail extension from Burleigh to Tugun.
The State Government today unveiled the preferred extension route for the final stage of the city’s tram service, which would see it travel along the Gold Coast Highway, through Palm Beach and to the Airport.
It comes following a two-year multi-modal corridor study, which suggested the highway route was the best option for the future of the southern Gold Coast.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey says it will simplify planning for future heavy rail extensions on the Gold Coast between Varsity Lakes and the airport.
“The current preserved width of the heavy rail corridor next to the M1 means we can’t accommodate future extensions of both light rail and heavy rail along that route,” Mr Bailey said.
“Directing light rail along the highway protects the M1 rail corridor for its principal use as a future heavy rail connection to the airport.
Minister Bailey also said it was also the fastest and most efficient route, which means it will be more likely that people will shift to public transport, taking traffic off the roads.
“The Gold Coast Highway route would travel close to where people already live, work and go to the beach and service popular destinations including the Burleigh Heads village, Palm Beach village, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern Cross University, Tugun, Bilinga and importantly the Gold Coast Airport,” he said.
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills welcomed the news, saying it would benefit visitors to the city traveling through Gold Coast Airport.
“We have long advocated for the light rail to the airport and our preference has been for it to follow the Gold Coast Highway. We are pleased to hear that is the direction that has been recommended by this study,” he said.
“About 6.5 million people come through Gold Coast Airport each year and the vast percentage are leisure travellers, so we need an efficient and easy public transport linkage that accommodates visitors to the city and local residents well into the future.”
However, it appears not everyone is a fan of the route, with dozens of locals already expressing their concerns.
Division 13 Candidate Bern Young said she believes the concept plans are “out of touch with the landscape and culture around Tallebudgera Creek”.
“The Executive Summary of the Multi-modal Corridor Study says they considered single tracks but have chosen a double track because it’s ‘consistent with the look and feel’ of the other stages,” Ms Young said.
“Burleigh Heads to Tallebudgera Creek has a look and feel which is completely different to the northern stages. We have the only beachside National Park on our coastline and it deserves special attention.”
Burleigh MP Michael Hart also slammed the route, saying he fears the State Government has failed to listen to locals.
“There are legitimate concerns about impacts on carparking, businesses and over-development that haven’t been addressed,” Mr Hart said.
“This route is un-costed and unfunded.”
Minister Bailey said there will be plenty of opportunities for Gold Coasters to express their views on the project, with a number of consultation sessions happening over the next couple of weeks.
“Community drop-in sessions are scheduled to provide an opportunity to ask questions and give face-to-face feedback,” Minister Bailey said.
The first session is being held at the Palm Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturday 21 March from 6 – 11.30am.
Another session will be held at The Pines Elanora Shopping Centre on Sunday 22 March from 10am – 4pm, while a third will take place at Stockland Burleigh Heads Shopping Centre on Wednesday 25 March from 9am – 5pm.
“We’re building better transport for residents now and planning so that the Gold Coast’s transport network evolves to meet the demands of future,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said from the Gold Coast Airport this morning.
“I want the Southern Gold Coast to benefit from light rail just as the Northern Gold Coast has.
“Connecting light rail to the airport is also really important for a 2032 Olympics bid.”
You can find out more about the Gold Coast Highway (Burleigh Heads to Tugun) Multi-modal Corridor Study here.