Political leaders have been warned the Gold Coast needs new transport infrastructure in the next ten years in order to cope with a huge population boom.
The Future Gold Coast Forum heard 1.2 million people will call the city home by 2050 and a lack of investment in roads and rail is one the biggest issues facing the city.
Leading demographer Bernard Salt says improved transport was critical given the linear layout of the Gold Coast.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“It’s 60 kilometres from north to south, it’s a long sausage of a city that will not change its urban form over the next 30 years” Mr Salt said.
“The big issue today, in 10 years time, 20 years time, 30 years time, 50 years time, is north-south fluidity.
“You need railway, you need tramway, you need motorway (and) that infrastructure needs to be delivered over the next decade.”
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista added her voice to calls for improved roads, warning the M1 was damaging tourism.
“We already know that the state of the M1 is a major impediment to people visiting the Gold Coast,” Ms Battista said.
“Imagine what this will look like in 2030 as we add 15,000 people a year to our population.”
Ms Battista praised Council’s approach to transport issues while taking a swipe at the State and Federal Governments.
“The leadership that the City of Gold Coast has shown in transport infrastructure – local roads and alternative modes of transport – is inspiring.
“And it needs to be matched by government, both State and Federal to urgently address the M1.”
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton says improved transport to the airport was crucial with 10 million passengers a year expected to use the airport in the next decade.
Construction of a new terminal and airport hotel is well underway as part of its $500 million master plan but airport bosses say connectivity remains an issue.
“The big challenge for us is the infrastructure that we know we need to grow as an airport, but that we don’t wholly control ourselves,” Ms Charlton said.
“What I’m really talking about would be light rail or any kind of rail connectivity to the airport.
“People find buses confusing and our research tells us that, light rail is legible, they understand they get on here and get off there.
“I think as a community, as a business community and as a resident, we need to make it very clear, light rail beyond the airport down to the New South Wales border is non-negotiable for the Gold Coast.”
“These things obviously take time to deliver and the time is now.”