A council meeting on October 20 is due to decide if the state and federal governments should be formally approached to help fund a mass transit project aimed at ensuring better transport options for residents and businesses.
However, the proposed project has bitterly divided local residents, with some community groups insisting that the option of a light rail system linking Maroochydore to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana be scrapped from planning.
Light rail is only one of several options put forward as a mass transit solution for the region, with trackless trams and higher quality bus links also being explored.
But a high proportion of residents fear that approval of a light rail system will supercharge high rise development along the transit corridor.
Community lobbies including the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Action Group and Beach Matters are planning a public rally against the light rail option on Sunday, October 17, three days before council is due to meet to debate the issue.
Councillors are expected to focus on there results of a recent community engagement exercise that found while most residents were in favour of a mass transit system on the Sunshine Coast, the option of installing alight rail system with overhead wires provoked “significant concern” in the community.
Despite this, the council has kept the light rail option on the table, saying it is the most energy efficient of the five proposals outlined in extensive studies.
Since it began detailed work two years ago on mass transit proposals for the Sunshine Coast, the council has tread a fine line between not offending community groups and ensuring the state and federal governments remain engaged in an infrastructure project that will go nowhere without their funding input.
The state has put up $7.5 million to pay or a detailed business case on mass transit on the Sunshine Coast, money the council fears will go elsewhere if it does not ensure the proposal progresses to the next stage.
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