Media release 6 October 2015Government must set timetable for Nambour track duplication and CAMCOS rail corridor to Caloundra
RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org
), a web-based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport passengers, says the Sunshine Coast faces unprecedented traffic congestion due to increasing population growth and the development of the Aura town centre at Caloundra South. It has called on the state government to commit to a definite timetable for constructing dual railway tracks to Nambour as a priority and eventually building a rail spur to Caloundra along the CAMCOS rail reserve.
“The start on construction of a new city called Aura at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast will be a game-changer for the entire region. It will affect how and where people shop and will contribute to increased car-based transport activity that threatens our lifestyle,” RAIL Back on Track Sunshine Coast spokesperson, Jeff Addison, warned today.
“Let’s not forget also that, in addition to the 50,000 residents of Aura, another 20,000 people will be housed at Palmview. It is a recipe for transport chaos, made worse by the state government’s silence about any solutions, apart from road-based solutions financed largely by the federal government.
“It may be more affordable to buy land at Aura, but the trade-off will be increased transport costs for residents, as theirs will be two-car households where people will be forced to get behind a steering wheel to move outside the town centre and to find jobs elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast or, most probably, choke the Bruce Highway to Brisbane. There is a very real danger that Aura residents won’t relate to the Sunshine Coast at all. They will be living in a smart urban centre that would empty during the day, as the bread-winner takes the car south, leaving their spouse and children isolated in a weird social welfare utopia.
“Clearly, the state government has approved Aura in isolation without considering its impacts upon the wider Caloundra region.
“The new city with its huge new retail hub will become a disposable income sponge, soaking up the household spend of a much wider area beyond Aura itself and threatening the viability of Caloundra’s traditional Bulcock Street shopping precinct. Aura will assume the Caloundra town centre role, leaving Bulcock Street with slim pickings and empty shops. Certainly it will be much easier for people from the Blackall Range to shop for big-ticket items and source professional services at Aura, not Caloundra,” Mr Addison said.
“The focus of this new development has been on the design elements within the borders of Aura with scant regard to the wider implications and impacts as Aura residents travel outside their city the size of Gladstone.
“While Stockland, the developer, has made a significant contribution to ‘infrastructure costs’ such as drainage, parks and roads, the infrastructure plan does not include a commitment to building a transit centre shown in its promotional video. Most likely that is because the state government will not stipulate a timetable for augmented rail and feeder bus routes servicing Aura.
“Its only commitment to transport infrastructure at Aura is $55 million for an East-West Arterial. That’s it.
“Today, RAIL Back on Track calls upon the state government and Deputy Premier Jacki Trad, the Transport and Infrastructure Minister, to spell out a clear and unequivocal timetable for duplication of the Sunshine Coast Railway line to Landsborough in order for Aura residents to access trains to Brisbane from the Beerwah and Landsborough stations. Augmented parking will be required to prevent commuters parking their cars all day in both towns, hogging frequent parking spots and affecting shopping convenience.
“While fast and frequent buses linking Landsborough and Caloundra via Aura will provide adequate public transport services in the interim, during the early stages of the Aura development, the state government must now start serious consideration about scheduling a start on building the CAMCOS rail spur to Caloundra and then to Maroochydore.
“CAMCOS rail would draw Aura residents to the rest of the Sunshine Coast, linking to the proposed light rail network. As planned, Aura might as well be called ‘North Caboolture’. For all intents and purposes, it will be a satellite suburb of Brisbane, not integrated with Caloundra and the Sunshine Coast.
“Crucial to CAMCOS is the Beerburrum-Landsborough rail track duplication. The project has environmental approval, the plans have been drawn and it remains ‘shovel ready’. It makes sense for the Queensland Government to call for expressions of interest from qualified consortiums to construct it, especially as rail track equipment, specialised workforce and expertise is released from the Moreton Bay railway line, now nearing completion.
“Beerburrum-Landsborough rail realignment and duplication would provide jobs transferable from the mining sector, which is experiencing a severe downturn. Many of those mining workers are fly-in fly-out employees based on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Addison said.
Sunshine Coast Region Spokesperson for RAIL Back On Track
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
1. Caloundra Southhttp://www.stockland.com.au/residential/caloundra-south.aspx
2. Sunshine Coast and Caboolture line upgradeshttp://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Travel-and-transport/Rail/Rail-infrastructure-upgrades-in-south-east-Queensland/Sunshine-Coast-and-Caboolture-lines.aspx
3. The Sunshine Coast Case : Rail duplication Beerburrum to Nambourhttp://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=6647.0
4. Caboolture to Maroochydore Corridor Studyhttp://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Projects/Name/C/Caboolture-to-Maroochydore-Corridor-Study.aspx