Nightmare sprawl is upon us, says expert
URBAN expert Peter Spearritt says his “nightmare’’ vision of 200km of sprawl swallowing the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast has become a reality.
“Regrettably, the 200km city has happened,” he said, describing southeast Queensland as “now one giant metropolis.”
The emeritus professor and former president of the Brisbane Institute think-tank, first raised warnings in a series of articles in The Courier-Mail 15 years ago.
He says the southeast corner is now so busy copying the southern states that we are sacrificing the features which give the region its unique liveability.
“The property industry loves to tell us that Brisbane is becoming trendier than Sydney and Melbourne,” Prof Spearritt says in an opinion piece for couriermail.com.au.
“But why would Brisbane want to ape either of those cities, which themselves are now confronted by massive traffic problems, high house prices and rents, forcing many workers to live scores of kilometres from their workplaces.”
Prof Spearritt says billions of dollars have, and are, being spent on widening the M1 and Bruce Highway, enabling “unchecked development’’ to follow without even the natural breaks enabled by huge national parks between Sydney and Newcastle and Wollongong.
Cross River rail was welcome but new public transport investment had been modest and paled in comparison to road spending.
“What made southeast Queensland unique in the Australian setting was its subtropical architecture in the inner suburbs. That is now under threat as never before,” he said. THE overwhelming majority of people are happy with life in southeast Queensland – and most of them expect it to get even better over the next 25 years.
An exclusive poll, commissioned by The Courier-Mail, shows eight in 10 residents rate the quality of life as good or very good.
That satisfaction is evenly spread across the region, with the Gold Coast slightly higher at 83 per cent and Toowoomba a little less at 72 per cent.
Looking forward, 42 per cent of southeast Queensland residents believe the overall quality of life will improve over the next 25 years – strongly outnumbering the quarter who feel it will deteriorate.
Brisbane residents are the most upbeat about the future, and people on the Sunshine Coast the least positive.
Millennials are the most optimistic, with 56 per cent expecting things to get better, compared with just 35 per cent of Generation X and one in four Baby Boomers.
The YouGov Galaxy survey of 1659 respondents was conducted as part of The Courier-Mail’s Future SEQ series, which is examining the opportunities and challenges facing the region between now and 2043 ahead of devel-
Future congestion Overcrowding Access to quality entertainment, arts & culture
oping an action plan of ideas.
The series will culminate in a major event addressed by leading demographer Bernard Salt and infrastructure leaders on October 23.
The research highlights worries among people over some issues as the region’s population grows by an expected two million in 25 years, YouGov Galaxy managing director David Briggs said.
“Very few expect to see an improvement in congestion or overcrowding,” he said.
Two-thirds believe traffic gridlock on the roads will continue to worsen, rising to three-quarters on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.
Those areas are also the most concerned about greater overcrowding from housing density.
More than 70 per cent of Coast dwellers fear it will worsen, compared to 61 per cent in Brisbane and 58 per cent in Toowoomba.
People have mixed feelings about the future performance of the public transport system, with 36 per cent hopeful of improvement, 30 per cent expecting no change and 28 per cent anticipating it will deteriorate.
The bulk of respondents, 45 per cent, think the southeast corner’s economy will track along at about the same level as now, with 29 per cent anticipating some lift and just one in five thinking it will be poorer.
Gold Coast and Toowoomba residents were the most optimistic about the economy.
And nearly half of people think access to quality entertainment, arts and culture events will improve going forward, building on the success of Brisbane’s cultural precinct and the Gold Coast’s HOTA zone in recent times.
Brisbane Lord Mayor