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Heavy Rail is the Best Option

Heavy Rail is the Best Option

“The train arriving at Maroochydore station on platform 2 is the express service to Brisbane. First stop Mooloolaba, then Kawana, Caloundra, Caloundra South, Beerwah then all stations to Caboolture.”

It’s a phrase that I hope to hear in my lifetime, but I’m afraid will not happen, due to inept successive governments, failing to deliver on countless proposals, studies and announcements about a Sunshine Coast Rail network since the mid-1990s.

The original Caboolture to Maroochydore Corridor Study (CAMCOS) was a proposal in 1999 for a passenger train service for the Sunshine Coast which would also provide travellers with a fast link to Brisbane. It included an upgrade of the North Coast rail line from Caboolture to Landsborough and a new line from Beerwah to Maroochydore. Over 25 years later we are still talking about it without a single sleeper being layed towards Caloundra and Maroochydore.

In 2005 a $480 million project was announced by the Queensland Government, to boost northern rail services and provide the vital first link in the CAMCOS high speed service to the Sunshine Coast. It was launched by Transport and Main Roads Minister, Paul Lucas. He said the project would give the green light to the Beattie Government’s commitment of a high speed rail service between Brisbane, Caloundra and Maroochydore. He also said, “We will establish the line from Beerwah to Caloundra by 2015, and up the coast to Maroochydore by 2020, bringing rail to the Sunshine Coast.”

Light Rail needs higher-density development along the transport corridor to be sustainable. No people, no passengers. Simple mathematics. If light rail goes ahead, of course there will be high rise developments around it. This is not what we need on the Coast and it is not what the community wants. With the disruption to residents and business, Light Rail will cost too much and severely impact on our way of life for little benefit.

What we do need is heavy rail connecting us to Brisbane, with train stations at Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Kawana, Caloundra and Caloundra Sth. then onto Brisbane. The CAMCOS corridor exists, and studies been done which suggest this is the best way forward. CAMCOS has been talked about by successive governments for decades and little has been done. Now is the time to get it done and do it properly!

Light rail is an absolute waste of money. Look at the proposed routes, the cost will be billions and interrupt the lifestyle for many residents and businesses on the coast, for many years. We simply cannot afford such a proposal. Our local council, state or federal government, just don’t have the money. It’s pie in the sky stuff, to appease developers, architects and urban planners.

Bring back CAMCOS and the heavy rail option. It’s cheaper and more convenient for commuters & tourists to/from Brisbane. With the prospect of the 2032 Olympics coming to Sth.East Qld. it makes perfect sense to include fast rail to the Sunshine Coast.

Heavy Rail is a real solution to ease Bruce Highway traffic also. Light rail may be ok for the Gold Coast and Sydney where there are greater population numbers in high rise developments, but not the Sunshine Coast.

The extensive studies for CAMCOS, going back 20 years, have proven that heavy rail is a cheaper and more effective option. The corridors are already built for it, and no one wants a tram running down the esplanade ruining our view.

Here’s another option. Extend the North Coast Rail Network and connect heavy rail from Landsborough, Caloundra South, Caloundra, Kawana, Maroochydore, and back out to Woombye. With the new Maroochydore CBD, the perfect time is now to develop a Maroochydore train station. Then increase train services between Gympie and Caboolture for real change.

Plan for the future, not just help tourists get around while they are here in pretty trams. We already have a bus network that works fine. Light rail is basically reinventing the wheel, trying to replace bus services which are already in place.

The fact that Heavy Rail is not one of five key mass transit options in the Sunshine Council’s Mass Transit Options Analysis Paper shows the bias. The “have your say” feedback on Council’s website is skewed towards a solution which the community does not want. It focuses on the proposed light rail route, and asks you to comment about that route only.

Council has wasted (on studies alone) $11.5 million on Light Rail studies so far in advancing the Mass Transit strategy, with another planned $7.5 million to be wasted, if it goes to the detail business case. That’s $19 million compared to the $200,000 they gave to the detailed business plan to the Federal Government funded for heavy rail. That’s an indication of Council’s commitment to heavy rail, under the Mayor’s leadership. The light rail project will literally cost billions of dollars to fund. Only 8 percent of the population will have direct access to this transport solution however 100 percent of rate payers will be paying for light rail if it goes ahead out of their transport levy.

Higher-density development along the transport corridor is the only way light rail can be sustainable. But, Light Rail & higher-density development is not what the community wants. Heavy rail is the best option.

If you haven’t had a chance, please check out this website which explains why light rail is not the way to go and the problems we face – www.masstransitsc.com

Call your local Concillor to voice your concern, and then contact your local state & federal MP. Click here to take the Council’s Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Survey, or click here for more information.

About Mike Doroshenko

Mike has lived in Chancellor Park for over 15 years and is a community advocate. He is a small business owner and enjoys helping people in the community. As a former President of the local community association Mike has always strived to improve our community.