I am delighted that a community conversation about our city’s future is gaining traction. After all, we share a massive stake in how the Gold Coast takes shape over coming decades.
The optimism most people feel is terrific, especially when they add that they just couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. This is what makes our community really strong.
Of course, with our population rapidly closing on one million people (projected to happen in a little over a decade and a half), we have to accept this will bring change. Some people plead to stop others coming here, but that is just not possible, and I believe it is unAustralian. We all deserve to share this country’s good fortune — and I reckon living at the Gold Coast is like winning the lottery.
But my vision for the future is to safeguard our greatest assets. We want to stay clean and green, so the city continues to purchase suitable land when it becomes available. Our green footprint includes just over 50 per cent of our city land area and includes 2300 parks and 100,000 ha of World Heritage-listed rainforest in the hinterland.
And as we start to realise a new future for The Spit, my plan to create a rival for New York’s Central Park is coming to life as we prepare to make purified water available to create a green oasis on this valuable community recreation asset.
We know our beaches are our most recognised feature, and this is a driving force behind my Palm Beach Shoreline project, which involves construction of an artificial reef offshore to help prevent erosion and create a new and valuable surf break. This follows the 470,000 cubic metres of sand pumped on to Palm Beach in 2017.
Congestion busting is something that affects us all, which is why I have committed $544 million to 54 road and transport projects over the next four years. And as one million people a month use the existing light rail, there is simply no argument that it must push on to Burleigh and then to the Airport and Coolangatta. Good heavens, even the New South Wales government is investigating building its own light rail to join up on their side of the border. It’s terrific.
Of course, jobs are essential to drive opportunity and lifestyle, which is why I continue to pump funding into diversifying our economy to keep it strong and growing into the future.
Our education sector is bringing students from all around the world and contributing $1.7 billion a year. The booming local film and television production industry has been recognised by making Gold Coast the home of the Logies. The stars love it!
Our health and knowledge precinct is attracting research centres and the best and brightest minds from across the Asia-Pacific. It will drive innovation and smart jobs for decades to come.
There are plenty more reasons why the Gold Coast is ‘Way Ahead’ — and I can promise you I will keep it that way.
Tom Tate, City of Gold Coast Mayor