Sunshine Coast Major Mark Jamieson wants another 12 hotels built in the tourist region before the Olympic and Paralympic Games come to Brisbane in 2032.
- Mark Jamieson says a rail connection to Brisbane and more accommodations are crucial for the Sunshine Coast
- The region will host numerous events and athletes during the Games
- Accessibility has also been identified as a priority by a group of regional representatives
The Sunshine Coast will host nine events during the Games and accommodate 1,400 athletes in a village precinct, but the region needs substantial infrastructure investment.
The council has released its wish list of priorities, which focus on accommodation, the long-mooted train from Beerwah to Maroochydore, and a 20,000-seat football stadium.
Cr Jamison said a key outcome ahead of the Games would be “significantly more investment” into hotels and accommodation to cater for tourists and athletes.
“I would think between now and 2032, we would want to see something in the order of 10 to a dozen new hotels constructed,” he said.
“Some of them have already got approvals and there are others awaiting approvals, but that [construction] will be vital.
“What’s really crucial is that we don’t want to be seen to be building something just for the Olympics.
“We want to be building something that’s got a long-term legacy.”
The Brisbane connection
One of Cr Jamieson’s priorities is a heavy rail link between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
“I don’t think we’ll get a better opportunity [to get a train line built],” he said.
The project has been discussed for decades but successive states and federal governments have failed to build it, leaving the Bruce Highway to shoulder the travel load.
Pressed on whether the heavy rail link to Brisbane was more important than a local transit solution linking Caloundra and Maroochydore, Cr Jamieson said both were vital.
“They serve two entirely different audiences,” he said.
“There’s no contest between [the projects].”
Cr Jamieson said he hoped a 20,000-seat football stadium and a 9,000-seat basketball stadium would be built in Kawana by 2032.
Accessibility in focus
The council organized a community consultation group consisting of 16 people from the region.
Disability advocate and architect Lisa Edwards said she got involved after seeing an advertisement in a local magazine.
“I thought this is my chance to make sure that the legacy of the Games infrastructure takes accessibility into account,” she said.
“The costs of making environments accessible can be reduced by forward planning and thinking about those issues right at the start of a project.”
Also on the advisory group is Visit Sunshine Coast chief executive Matt Stoeckel, who says the Games will provide a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for tourism in the region.
His two main priorities are improving public transport and adding more hotel rooms.
“The Sunshine Coast can get pretty full in our peak periods [and] occupancy levels at our accommodation operators are well over 90 per cent,” Mr Stoeckel said.
Olympic events on the coast include the marathon, cycling, football and basketball, as well as Paralympic cycling and the marathon.