Un­pop­u­lar it may be ... but the only way is up for Coast

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION - BOB JANSSEN

IF only we had a crys­tal ball to tell the fu­ture, but as ap­peal­ing it may be, that is a fan­tasy. Things change over time and in de­ter­min­ing how our city will grow we can only make an ed­u­cated guess.

Who in the 1950s would have thought the Gold Coast would to­day have a res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion of over half a mil­lion boosted by an­other 11 mil­lion tourists a year?

Sup­port­ing that pop­u­la­tion takes a lot of in­fra­struc­ture, roads, rail, hous­ing, ac­com­mo­da­tion and jobs, and the list goes on.

De­spite the best laid plans, our un­prece­dented growth has left our city plan­ners in a con­stant game of catch-up. De­ter­min­ing our fu­ture in­fra­struc­ture needs is re­stricted by our imag­i­na­tion and the need for pru­dence.

The is­sue comes down to ef­fec­tive use of space. The Gold Coast sits on a nar­row strip of land be­tween the McPher­son Ranges and the Coral Sea and is ap­prox­i­mately 52km long.

Fur­ther en­croach­ment west would de­stroy the nat­u­ral beauty that at­tracts peo­ple here and north­ern ur­ban de­vel­op­ment is rapidly clos­ing the nat­u­ral bridge be­tween our city and Bris­bane.

As much as it will dis­please some, there is one ra­tio­nal so­lu­tion to our con­tin­ued growth and that is to go up us­ing ex­ist­ing land ef­fec­tively.

There are ad­van­tages. By in­creas­ing den­sity un­der econ­omy of scale it is pos­si­ble to con­sol­i­date util­i­ties and pub­lic trans­port mak­ing them cost ef­fec­tive.

Those sav­ings will also al­low new home buy­ers into the mar­ket in ar­eas where lower land costs and planned pub­lic trans­port cor­ri­dors make de­vel­op­ment of high­rise a worth­while propo­si­tion for the de­vel­oper and end user alike.

Not ev­ery­one is go­ing to be happy with the changes that are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing nec­es­sary but those in the ’50s would also have ob­jected to what we ac­cept as nor­mal to­day.

We live in the present but de­ter­mine the fu­ture by our de­ci­sions to­day, all while en­joy­ing the ben­e­fits of what those who came be­fore us de­cided.

Grow­ing pains can be un­com­fort­able but growth and change are in­evitable so we have to deal with it in the best way we can if we are to build any fu­ture at all.

If ev­ery­one de­cided “not in my back­yard”, what then can we all look for­ward to?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.