‘Why can’t the Coast be like Noosa?’
COUNCILLORS are questioning whether to cap the Gold Coast's population after failing to agree on where the projected boom of new residents will live.
City leaders have backflipped on recommendations to make Labrador, Biggera Waters and Southport West development hotspots as the city braces for an extra 350,000 residents by 2041.
A 1000-page report on changes to the City Plan suggests only a fraction of the forecast population should go to those areas, sparking debate on whether the city's population should be capped like Noosa.
Overwhelming opposition by residents living in the targeted growth areas has caused a massive rethink of the City Plan, which is being prepared for the State Government.
The massive responsive to City Plan consultation means that by 2041:
- Biggera Waters will welcome 1400 people, not the 3900 target originally set;
- Labrador will now grow by only 10,500 and not 16,400;
- Southport West will only be increased by 8000 to 9000;
- At least 3000 extra dwellings accommodating about 7500 new residents will be lost in the targeted growth areas.
A marathon planning meeting at the Evandale Chambers yesterday was told the Gold Coast had failed to reach population growth targets set by the State Government for the past 15 years.
Helensvale-based councillor William Owen-Jones said the council must now find other locations unless State MPs agreed to cap the city's population.
"I don't recall any of our State members advocating for a population cap, so without a population cap we still have to accommodate the targets that the State are requiring us to identify," he said.
"It might be something our State friends take on board. We clearly have people saying 'why can't we be like Noosa and have a population cap?'"
Under the State Government's Shaping SEQ plan, the council is required to accommodate an extra 158,900 dwellings by 2041.
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates supported Cr Owen-Jones' concern about meeting high-growth targets.
The northern-based councillor grilled officers on whether cutting back growth at an established suburb like Labrador would put even more pressure on council to build expensive new suburbs in the north.
"Do we have the capacity in other areas of the established part of the city to meet that expectation of 80 per cent deliverable in the consolidation area rather than expansion area (in the north) of the city?" she said.
An officer admitted the council had not met its targets since 2005. "We have been falling short of that for a little while now," the officer said.
Labrador and Biggera Waters were the best out of a list of 20 suburbs to accommodate future growth at a lesser cost to the ratepayer, officers said.
Planning committee chair Cameron Caldwell said the market dictated when development would occur and council could only provide a strategic plan that reflected resident needs.
"So moving from north to south that some areas at Biggera Waters have come down in height, we've seen areas in the northern part of Labrador reduced in height and density to reflect the geography of that neighbourhood, we've seen detached dwellings retained through the centre," he said.