Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION -

COM­PET­ING des­ti­na­tions of­fer built her­itage span­ning thou­sands of years, im­pacted by events, re­li­gion, con­flict, art, in­dus­try and cli­mate. The Com­mon­wealth Games will add a spot­light on our city. Our “Com­ing of Age”. So what should the legacy from the Com­mon­wealth Games be?

I am hop­ing to be burst­ing with pride in our Gold Coast lifestyle. Gold Coast Tourism have repo­si­tioned the city re­cently with “We are Gold Coast” and it’s con­sis­tent with pro­mo­tion of our en­vi­ron­ment and the bal­ance be­tween de­vel­op­ment and con­ser­va­tion. We need both but if in doubt con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion of lifestyle should come first.

Thank good­ness for the Games mo­ti­vat­ing a de­ci­sion for light rail stage two, con­nect­ing Broad­beach to Bris­bane via a change at He­lensvale – it gives an al­ter­na­tive to the car and it cre­ates much needed em­ploy­ment dur­ing con­struc­tion and con­fi­dence there­after. I look forward to the light rail go­ing all the way to Gold Coast Air­port and Coolan­gatta so res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike can en­joy the length of the coast. No in­ter­na­tional air­port could rely as we do on the M1 alone. Ar­gu­ments against light rail, the dis­rup­tion dur­ing con­struc­tion and the lack of plan­ning for park-and-ride must be re­spected but there are places to build off-street car parks and trans­fer to light and heavy rail – let’s find the so­lu­tions.

Let’s in­vest also in walk­ing! We have the best cli­mate in the world, the world her­itage rain­forests and the world class surf­ing beaches – dur­ing the Games pro­mo­tion there will be im­ages of the same – let’s make sure there is a po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment to fund­ing light rail in the state elec­tion ahead of and be­yond the Games and re­li­able fund­ing of walk­ing and cy­cle tracks and al­ter­na­tive ac­cess to and from events.

Let’s look at the great ex­am­ples of New Zealand and Tas­ma­nia, or the “Great Noosa Trail” to see what pos­i­tives th­ese bring to lifestyle, sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment and at­trac­tive­ness to vis­i­tors. Let’s con­nect Spring­brook to the Ocean by walk­ing trails – there are myr­iad un­marked pub­lic re­serves al­ready that just need sen­si­tive man­age­ment.

As the Gold Coast cel­e­brates the amaz­ing Swell Fes­ti­val this week­end I suggest we all re­flect on how “Swell” – a cel­e­bra­tion of art and the en­vi­ron­ment – in­spires each other and should in­spire the world. Let’s make sure the world recog­nises we are in­vest­ing in our lifestyle, a lifestyle to share, with real al­ter­na­tives to the car to ac­cess world class rain­forests to world class beaches as our fu­ture “unique sell­ing point” – our legacy. The time is now, let’s not have traf­fic con­ges­tion be our im­age. We are Gold Coast – we love it.

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