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