Council has announced community consultation will commence on April 28th and run for 8 weeks. Their press release on April 12th said:
"Mark a spot in your calendar. Your chance to have a say on the best public transport options for our region kicks off on 28 April 2021.
Over an eight-week period until 22 June 2021, residents and visitors will have the opportunity to provide their valuable feedback on a range of options being considered in a draft Mass Transit Options Analysis report.
The Options Analysis is the second phase in the business case process being undertaken for the mass transit project.
The options considered in the draft report range from bus network upgrades to a quality bus corridor to bus rapid transit, trackless trams, light rail transit and more.
Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said while public transport was a State Government responsibility, council was leading the important planning work to attract state and federal infrastructure funding and needed community feedback and support to achieve that.
“We know we need sustainable and efficient transport options that can move us around quickly as our population grows yet still protect our local lifestyle and environment,” Cr Baberowski said.
“We are considering a range of options, and we are keen to know your thoughts.”
The outcomes of the community and stakeholder feedback about the mass transit options will inform the finalisation of the Mass Transit Options Analysis report, which will then be submitted to council for consideration.
Cr Baberowski said the comprehensive community engagement process would seek community opinion on a wide range of potential options to help council make recommendations to the State Government for further consideration in the final phase of the mass transit business case process, the Detailed Business Case.
“Make sure you have a say on what you and your family and friends want when it comes to getting around the Sunshine Coast so we can protect our environment and the way we live, work and play” he said.
There will also be the opportunity to have a say about the various ways in which the forecast growth in the coastal corridor could be accommodated over the decades ahead, from medium rise development concentrated around stations and centres to lower density development dispersed more widely throughout the corridor.
Feedback received about the various ways of accommodating growth will help inform the preparation of the new planning scheme, which is proceeding over the next few years.
sign up today to receive project updates, engagement activities and be the first to have your say when consultation begins on 28 April, 2021.
What can you do when it does start?
If enough of us speak up, Council has to take notice. Don't think "someone else will do it". It is going to take a landslide of feedback on the Mass Transit plan to change this Council's mind. We need everyone to not only participate in the format Council comes up with but to also write submissions to Council starting April 28th when consultation begins. (if you do it beforehand it will not be included in the consultation results) You are not limited to one submission. As long as each submission relates to a different issue, it should be counted.
All submissions must be in your own words, dated, include your name and address and be signed. You can email, mail or hand deliver it to Council. Or if you would prefer, you can email it to us at email@example.com and we will deliver it to Council for you once consultation commences.
Consultation will run for a period of 8 weeks but will only be on transport "options" not the densification plans associated with them. The densification consultation is supposed to be handled under the new Planning Scheme consultation process that won't occur until some time in the future. We find this totally unacceptable.
As someone said, this is like asking us to choose a fridge from a catalogue but not show the prices. Only after the choice is made do you find out the price and only after you have paid your money do you find out the fridge you chose requires your whole kitchen to be remodeled. Hence if you had known this in the beginning you would have made a different choice!!
The Council website now says there are now 9 transport options under review. We have been told the consultation process aims to reduce this down to a final 2-3 options that will then be passed to the State Government for the preparation of a Detailed Business Case.
Mtag asked the Council what measurement criteria would be used to determine the final 2-3 options but did not receive an answer. Previous criteria used by the Council gave 30% weighting to the ability of the transport mode to deliver infill and NO weighting to Community views. This previous criteria favours Light Rail so it is critical different measurement criteria be used and community views be given greater weighting over "infill" criteria if this consultation is to have any meaning at all. We must all stress this in our feedback during the consultation period
The 9 options under consideration are:
business as usual
road network upgrades
region-wide bus system operation enhancements
region-wide bus system upgrades supported by key bus infrastructure such as improved shelters, sections of bus priority lanes and park ‘n’ ride facilities
quality bus corridor
bus Rapid Transit – 25 metre-long battery-powered vehicles
light Rail Transit - 45 metre long vehicles running on a dedicated trackway with fixed overhead wires mostly in the centre of the road.
trackless tram - 32 metre long battery powered rubber tyred vehicles. running at high frequency in a dedicated corridor mostly in the centre of the road.
wLRT - A wire-free light rail system - identical to the light rail option, minus the overhead wires, with on-board batteries and charging equipment at select stations.
Listen to what MP Jarrod Bleijie, Member for Kawana, thinks about the Council's Public Consultation.
Parliamentary Speech March 23 2021.
Mtag has had several meetings in the past two weeks with Council representative regarding the Mass transit plan. In particular we met with the new CEO, Emma Thomas, Cr Rick Baberowski and James Coutts (SCRC Program Director Urban Growth) on February 17th. Whilst we were able to gain answers to some of our questions, some items remain a concern.
Key Points of interest:
No date has been set for the commencement of public consultation. Council are still completing the draft "Options Analysis" report and consultation details.
Consultation should commence some time in March and run for 6 weeks or longer if necessary. It will likely run over Easter and the school holidays to capture the visitors view as well. These views will be separated from resident's views.
Consultation will not be based on the content of the Preliminary Business Case Interim Findings report by PwC released in Jan 2020 but the new "Options Analysis Report" when it is finalized.
The Options Analysis Report will be released to the public prior to the commencement of consultation.
Consultation will be on Transport "Options". It was stated "many may think the Council is fixated on Light Rail but we are not"... "we are looking at all the public transport options". New technologies are now going to be included.
The densification component of the mass transit plan is not being included in public consultation. It will be addressed in the new Planning Scheme consultation which will occur in the future. (We regard this to be a major flaw and have questioned how the consultation can be meaningful if the densification part of the plan is not included)
Consultation will explore the "Built Forms" the community want to see in the coastal corridor. We take this to mean how many stories of high rise the community will tolerate. We think pretty images of possible medium density dwellings and high density dwellings will be prepared. We are concerned these images will look good but not necessarily represent what developers will put into place. We must all ask "Do we want these next door to our house"?
It will be a rolling engagement adapting as more feedback is received.
It will commence with an online survey which will be used to build up the 2nd and 3rd stages. Visual engagement tools will be used.
Round table workshops with "key stakeholders" and community groups will occur.
Their aim is to have two design Charettes (A Charrette is a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a master plan that represents transformative community change.) These are toward the end of the consultation process.
Resident Submissions will be a part of the process.
Council will be doing the Consultation - not Articulous.. Articulous are there for "Logistical Support".
Younger view points are to be canvased through an intergenerational forum which will occur in partnership with the University.
On Aug 20, Council voted infavour (7 to 3) of community consultation on this project. The Mayor, Cr Peter Cox and Cr Terry Landsberg voted against. Cr Rick Baberowski was out ill. Disappointingly, comments he has made following the vote indicate he too would have voted against public consultation. Thankfully the rest of Council looked out for the people they represent.
Public Consultation is to be in 3 phases with a budget of $300,000 - $400,000
Phase 1 "Inform", late 2020
Phase 2 "Engage", early 2021 (This is when we must all write to Council)
Phase 3 "Feedback", Mid 2021
A public tender process occurred in November 2020 for the phase 2 "engage" stage. Brisbane company "Articulous" were awared the tender. Based on the timing outlined in the tender documents (click here to view), the consultation phase should commence late Feb 2021 and run until early April 2021. The actual form the consultation will take is yet to be announced.
The tender documents also outlined the "scope" of the engagement phase. (Click here to view) Disappointingly, important issues such as property impacts and traffic are NOT to being included. Mtag is urging everyone to therefore write a submission to Council with all your concerns once consultation begins.
Phase 1 "Inform"
This phase is completely run by Council and the community will not have any say into what occurs here nor have the opportunity to give feedback. Concerns exist that this "inform" stage will not be fully representative of what is being planned. Decorative images have begun to be released which are not representative of how the actual light rail will look. Overhead wires, safety barriers, warning signage and the accompanying high-rises around the stations have all been omitted.
Council image of light rail
Actual images of light rail (Click image to view all)
Disappointingly Council officers and some Councilors have also begun to play down the densification levels proposed in the plan. They are now saying high density is not planned but rather only medium density and the population levels are not expected to be a high as Cr Natoli has claimed. This is despite earlier Council documents referencing "High" density and Council's own documents showing a plan to increase the capacity of the 13km stretch to 5 times the levels of population and dwellings that are currently there now.
Mtag will continue to inform the public to ensure the full details of what is being planned are known, not just the sanitized version Council wants people to hear!
Phase 2 "Engage"
Brisbane based consultancy "Articulous" will conduct this phase of the consultation on behalf of the Council.
The consultation will include up to 6 public transport options with a focus on the three options that were shortlisted in the Preliminary Business Case Interim findings report Jan 2020:
An upgrade of bus lanes on the sides of the major roads with new specially branded buses to provide a 'Quality Bus Corridor'.
A bus rapid transit system much like light rail but with electric buses up to 25 metres long.
A light rail system with 45 metres long trams running in their own right of way mostly in the centre of the major roads.
We are lead to believe the following will not be included for public feedback:
alternative transport networks
other mass transit modes, route alignments and station locations
consideration of construction processes including timeframes, staging and impacts
Detailed traffic modelling
detailed layouts of road and lane configurations
operational elements such as fares, schedules and integration with existing services
Densification levels planned.
Exactly what form the public consultation will take is yet to be announced. These details will be made available as soon as Mtag knows.
Phase 3 "Feedback"
The community will not be involved in Stage three. This is where the results of Phase 2 are compiled and presented back to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council for inclusion in the final "Options Analysis" report.
Click here to Register to receive community consultation updates and further information from Mtag once we know more.