LIGHT rail for the Sunshine Coast is an economic game changer for the region according to the council's integrated transport head, Councillor Vivien Griffin, and needs Noosa to support this bold $2 billion proposal.
"You might very well wonder why we are talking to Cooroy about light rail, because the focus and the (light rail service) hot spot here is more the Caloundra to Maroochydore," Cr Griffin told a Cooroy Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday night.
She was a co-speaker with a southern Coast light rail proponent James Birrell.
"We are going to be talking to chambers of commerce across the region (Noosa Chamber was addressed on Monday).
"We all know we are facing tough times ... and the regions that survive are the regions that have a strong and unified voice right across all levels of government and have a clear vision of where they're going.
"We see it as quite important that the whole of the Sunshine Coast is on this journey with us."
Cr Griffin said while the council could provide the potential for development in the planning scheme, business needed to have the confidence to invest.
"Part of the role of council is to try and provide that certainty - if we don't have the high quality transport to service that, we won't see that confidence in the business coming out of the ground."
Cr Griffin said the Coast faced a high risk of getting the development without the transport services while all "the dollars get sucked down to Brisbane" if a strong case was not made by a council asserting its strength.
"So we start to become a second-rate Brisbane and we lose the competitive economic advantage of a regional lifestyle area and a great environment where people want to work, live and play.
"We need to see the light rail as transformational to the Sunshine Coast - the economic game changer as we become a mature region."
The councillor said a planned council taskforce meant to progress the ambitious project, which might later be extended northwards, had to be "owned and driven by the community" with heavy input from business.
Cr Griffin said the development of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana with its thousands of jobs and health visits, plus the development of the Maroochydore CBD made this area the priority for a transport upgrade.
She said a heavy rail corridor of a 10-lane Nicklin Way was not the answer.
She said the Gold Coast Council had put $120 million on the table for a light rail system, but was handed back $830 million from the state and federal governments.
"We believe light rail is the high-quality, fast-frequency option that people will take up.
"We now have a council that has accepted it has a role to play in providing this transport service.
"We can be in an ivory tower and say we're not going to do the State Government's job for it, and if we do, our community will go down the gurgler."