YOUR SAY: Importance of informed debate on runway

LOCAL infrastructure is the backbone of all regions and their communities, including our own. Inadequate investment constrains both social and economic activity.

The Sunshine Coast needs modern transport, health, education and tourism infrastructure to suit a diversifying and growing economy. We cannot allow our region to be left behind in terms of government and private-sector investment.

We need to make well informed, well considered and well intentioned decisions on behalf of our communities and particularly, our youth.

Are you in favour on the airport expansion?

This poll ended on 17 November 2015.

Current Results

Yes, it will be good for tourism and convenience.

33%

No, it's bad for the environment and people living on the flight path.

64%

I'm yet to make up my mind.

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The council hosted a public meeting (Monday, November 9) regarding the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport. The speakers provided a comprehensive overview of the project and the positive impact it would have on the region, including a projected injection of $4.1 billion into the local economy.

This supports why the new runway was identified in the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2014 - 2033 as an essential piece of infrastructure to underpin future prosperity.

We acknowledge that the Sunshine Coast Business Council's role is to serve as a business and economic advocate which requires us to be mindful of the interlinking social and environment factors.

To this end we recently conducted a series of think-tank sessions which included interest groups such as the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) and Development Watch (OSCAR were invited), industry groups such as the Property Council, UDIA and SCDL and Noosa and Sunshine Coast councillors, council officers, academics and others.

These think-tanks explored how we could work together to create a strong foundation for our economy through balancing good development and good environmental management. While local residents opposed to the new runway jeered and heckled the speakers at the public meeting, it was encouraging to hear that the Sunshine Coast Environment Council would not oppose the new runway on environmental grounds. This is a great example of how informed discussion and co-operation can go a long way to getting agreement on contentious subjects rather than battling it out in public.

I understand that for the residents living in the new flight path, there is no quick-fix. This runway has been on the cards for decades and the projected growth on the Coast and increasing appetite for domestic and international flights has finally brought the plan to fruition.

I too have lived on a flight path, in Adelaide. I bought my home knowing that it was directly under a flight path and that the airport would only get busier over time, much as these residents would have known. I made a choice about where I wanted to live and never regretted that choice.

I hope the issues concerning our community can be resolved through sensible and informed discussion. Ultimately, a decision will need to be made for the benefit of the regional community as a whole and what the project will deliver for generations that follow.

SANDY ZUBRINICH

Chair, Sunshine Coast

Business Council


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