The Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Options Analysis Report has been referred to the State Government for further investigation, following Sunshine Coast Council approval at a special meeting.

The Report, which has been informed by extensive community feedback, examines public transport improvement options to better connect the community between Maroochydore City Centre, Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Birtinya, and eventually Caloundra.

The Report recommends that five options proceed to the Detailed Business Case stage, noting in particular community concerns around Light Rail Technology with overhead wires.

Sunshine Coast Council Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Rick Baberowski, said he was pleased with the outcome, given the Council has been on the transport planning journey since 2011.

“While today’s approval does not mean that a decision to build a Mass Transit system has been made, it is very likely the work undertaken to prepare the Options Analysis will underpin and encourage the necessary investment required by the relevant governments,” Cr Baberowski said.

“I’d like to sincerely thank the many residents who provided their thoughts on the future of transport on the Sunshine Coast, we are very grateful to everyone who took the time to provide feedback, which has helped improve the overall Options Analysis Report. 

“As many are aware, sustainability has been key to Council’s vision and story dating back well over a decade – evidenced in a string of strategy documents prepared by Council and with major input from our community.

“We must continue this chance to carefully examine how our residents and visitors will move around our region in the future, if we are to protect what we know and love about the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s very clear that private vehicles cannot continue to essentially be our only option as more and more people choose to call our region home – that is, if we want to care for our environment (which we must), maintain our liveability and avoid wasteful periods of our time in traffic.

“I’d like to remind the community that today, we have not been tasked with voting for a preferred technology option or options; the final route; committing to any investment or funding decision relating to a potential mass transit solution; or committing to, or progressing, any amendments to the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014.

“Instead, we have referred the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Options Analysis to the State Government for further investigation, this is because that level of government is ultimately responsible for the public transport network – the infrastructure, the rolling stock, the ticketing and pricing; and referral to Infrastructure Australia.”

Cr Baberowski said further detailed community engagement on all aspects of the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project will be part of the Detailed Business Case stage, led by the State Government.

“While we won’t make the final decision on the technology chosen, we can certainly ensure our community’s interests are well-considered by partnering with the State Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads in preparing the Detailed Business Case,” Cr Baberowski said. 

“As we have said in the past, regardless of the mode selected, any mass transit system will need to be supported by more bus services, improved routes and timetables and better connections to reduce travel times to areas not directly serviced by mass transit, such as regional (heavy) rail in the CAMCOS corridor.

“It’s anticipated that the State Government will start reviewing the Options Analysis as soon as it has been received, with preparation of the Detailed Business Case anticipated to get underway in 2022.”

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