Mayor Mark Jamieson bound for the United States
SUNSHINE Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has switched a postponed trip to China and Hong Kong for a new international mission to California and Oregon.
The council moved in a "special meeting" on Monday that the mayor and either chief executive John Knaggs or his nominee were allowed to change the 2014 Sunshine Coast International Missions Program to enable the trip to America next month.
Cr Jamieson will join University of the Sunshine Coast representatives in visiting the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Centre development.
The $1.5 billion tertiary health and medical facility, which is due to open in February, is similar in scale to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital complex.
Acting Mayor Chris Thompson said the council was keen to grasp the potential economic, investment, employment and community opportunities to be derived from the UCSF experience.
What do you think about Mayor Mark Jamieson's US trip?
This poll ended on 07 August 2014.
What difference does it make which country he goes to?
As long as the trip benefits the Coast, it's a good idea.
I don't think it's right he's switched his postponed trip for another.
It's all a waste of ratepayers' money.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Cr Thompson is acting mayor when Cr Jamieson is on leave.
"The medical centre development has been part of a significant economic revitalisation of the Mission Bay area," Cr Thompson said.
The trip will also allow the Coast representatives to "meet with senior representatives of three leading global information technology and digital application companies in California".
Cr Thompson said the purpose of these meetings was to "generate interest in the Sunshine Coast region, establish awareness of the Maroochydore City Centre and encourage those companies to consider the ... Coast as a potential location for future investment as part of their Australian operations".
The trip to Portland, Oregon, is to "inspect key urban planning and infrastructure projects, including the Metropolitan Area Express Light Rail network".
This would inform the council's "own feasibility assessment of a potential light rail system for the Sunshine Coast".
It is expected the trip may exceed the $15,000 budget planned for the China trip, so an extra $5000 has been set aside if needed.
The council has five international trips planned this year under the International Relations Policy.
Cr Thompson said the insights afforded by the trip would "potentially inform council's approach to facilitating investment in the health and medical precinct at Kawana and its assessment of a light rail solution for the Sunshine Coast".
A council spokeswoman said the detail of the special meeting that discussed the policy change regarding the 2014 Sunshine Coast International Missions Program was uploaded on July 29.
The council report acknowledged community engagement had "not been undertaken as part of developing this proposal".
However, it said "engagement" had occurred with "a range of business and industry representative across the Sunshine Coast to elicit their interest in participating" in the US trip at their own cost.
GOING PLACES: OUR COUNCIL'S PASSPORT for 2014
May: Hong Kong, Shanghai and Japan (Investment Mission)
June: China and Hong Kong (Trade Mission)
September: Portland and San Francisco (International Mission)
October: New Zealand (Trade Mission)
Not confirmed: Hong Kong, China and Taiwan (Council of Mayors), previously for September 2014.