A Sunshine Coast Council-commissioned study into the potential of light rail has been recognised for its well-considered design, innovation and community integration.
The Sunshine Coast Light Rail: Shaping our Future report prepared by design firm Hassell in conjunction with Council’s light rail team won the national award in the "Policies, Programs and Concepts-Large Scale" category at the Planning Institute of Australia’s recent Australian Urban Design Awards.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was pleased that the light rail project, which is in its infancy, was already receiving strong recognition.
“Light rail is a contemporary transport option in popular use around the world,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This early report demonstrated to Council that light rail has the potential to support the lifestyle of our residents now and into the future—one that can benefit the community, protect our environment and help to ensure a vibrant economy.
“This is a network that is some years away, however planning for the future has to start now.
“We are forecast to have the second fastest population growth rate of all Queensland regions over the next 15 to 20 years and Sunshine Coast Council is shaping a future where we cater for population growth through good planning.
“This is an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast as we shape the foundations for a sustainable future.”
Hassell principal and light rail sector lead Toby Lodge said the Award was a great endorsement of the project.
“The beauty of the plans is the potential for light rail to improve local access and transport networks across the Coast while also activating community spaces along the proposed route,” Mr Lodge said.
“It is timely for the project to attract broad interest and recognition. Light rail has the potential to provide far more to communities than simply a new way to move around and is a great fit for the Sunshine Coast lifestyle.”
The judging panel for the AAUD 2015 awards said the project was a well-considered design solution that integrates what is currently a disparate set of suburban developments and in an innovative way, integrates public transport into linear coastal urban development.
They also said the project included excellent consultation, incorporating a wide range of stakeholder views and excellent images communicate the vision.
The project proposes that a light rail system forms a transport spine between the major growth areas of Caloundra and Maroochydore along the Enterprise Corridor. The light rail spine would be supported by a frequent and reliable bus system to connect other communities and the Hinterland and the North Coast rail line—to create a world-class integrated regional transport system.
Detailed research, planning and investigation for the proposed light rail service is currently underway. Results of the feasibility studies will ensure Council can present a clear case to the Queensland Government on whether light rail is right and feasible for the Sunshine Coast.
Council has committed to a program of formal community consultation before a final decision about a light rail network is made.
Information about the light rail project is available at www.lightrail.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. To follow the investigation into light rail, register via the website to receive updates as the project progresses.
* The AAUD programme is a collective award from a handful of organisations including: the Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Architects, Engineers Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Consult Australia, The Australian Urban Design Forum, ASBEC and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.