Heavy rail to Coast airport ‘within three years’
HEAVY rail to the Airport and light rail spur lines to the city's west must be fast-tracked within a decade to support the Gold Coast's rapidly growing population.
That's the pitch from civic leaders and planning experts who have warned the city needs to dramatically expand its public transport offerings, not just to decongest the roads but to stimulate higher-density development along their corridors.
Mayor Tom Tate said infrastructure was critical to supporting the property boom and the resulting population growth and laid out his plans to get the city moving.
He said a green light for the 2032 Olympic Games bid would put projects on the fast-track
"The bid is the perfect stimulus to get future stages of the Coomera Connector underway now but I also want to see the heavy rail link - from Varsity to the airport - begun within in the next three years," he said.
"I want to see the east-west connectivity off the light rail spine start to come into reality.
"These east-west connections may include spur lines off the light rail, west to Nerang, Robina and Varsity.
"Being able to fully use the advantages of the central light rail spine is what seamless public transport is all about so I fully support the design - and funding - work to be undertaken now on these connections.''
The cost of the heavy rail extension between Varsity Lakes and Gold Gold Airport is expected to cost upward of $4 billion.
While the rail corridor has already been bought and preserved by the state government, the cost of building new infrastructure, including four new stations will be high.
They will be on top of three new railways stations already planned for construction in the existing railways line at Pimpama, Helensvale North and Merrimac.
The Merrimac station will service the new $1.5 billion Skyridge estate at Worongary which is now under construction and will be home to 10,000 people.
An Urbis report on the future of the Gold Coast published in March revealed the growing pains the city is experiencing as a result of the population growth.
It tips growth to remain steady with around 14,700 people moving to the Gold Coast annually, with the need for more 6300 swellings to be built every year to house the new residents.
But the growth is pushing up against already congested roads and a dwindling supply of new land.
Urbis Gold Coast director Matthew Schneider said the city's supply of new greenfield sites which could be developed would run out by 2026.
"We think there is around five years realistically of new house and land opportunities across our greenfield supply," he said.
"There are still some big landholders up in Coomera and in the northern part of the city but other than that we have the ocean and the NSW border and not a lot of other opportunities in between.
'There is some real tightness in the supply for people who want to live in house and land packages."
Mr Schneider said the expansion of the public transport network was critical to supporting the growth.
Originally published as Heavy rail to Coast airport 'within three years'