Well, the Commonwealth Games are upon us!
All the years of planning and hard work are about to be put to the test. The biggest moment in this city’s history has arrived.
I am confident that everything we could have done to make this spectacular a huge success has been done.
I love the buzz of excitement around the city as the anticipation builds. It’s going to be a great occasion.
But, of course, major events like this do come to a conclusion. All too often the host cities are left with a hangover and not much else. That won’t be the case with Gold Coast.
Our road network improvements and sports facility enhancements will make life better for both athletes and spectators for decades to come.
The Athletes’ Village, which will transform to our Health & Knowledge Precinct post-Games will be a multi-billion dollar hub of new technology and advanced research creating the jobs of the future for our young people in particular.
Of course, the light rail network is one of the brilliant legacies of the Games and I’m certain it will quickly be extended to Coolangatta in stages over coming years.
Another great benefit will be the rollout of an advanced wifi network that should end signal dropouts in the most populous areas of the city. Telecommunications company Optus is spending $30 million revamping its mobile phone network with Australian-first technology.
This involves installation of small cellular expansion devices on city-owned streetlights, buildings and traffic lights between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. This will dramatically enhance the depth of signal received in party precincts.
I can also let you know that preparations are well underway for the city’s next budget to be handed down in June. Over the past month we have been getting feedback from locals about what they see as their preferred priorities for spending over the 2018-2019 financial year.
The advice will help shape the overall budget but I can give you one absolute assurance: rates will be kept as low as possible. I have done this for six years now and won’t be breaking faith with the community this time around.
This is the largest city in the nation outside the state capitals and we face many challenges in welcoming 13 million visitors a year. For example, keeping our green spaces well maintained and our beaches in tip-top shape requires a lot of maintenance but the ever-growing influx of tourists suggest we are keeping people happy.
I hope you enjoy it, too.