Urban planning experts unite for coast conference

With the Sunshine Coast undergoing rapid growth, a range of urban development, landscape architecture and social planning experts and politicians will come together on 8 June as part of the Urban Evolution of the Sunshine Coast conference being held at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Sandy Zubrinich, Chair of the Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) which is hosting the conference, said the event would explore some of the challenges and opportunities associated with planning and managing the future growth of the region.

“Forward planning that takes into account the future needs of residents, the economy and the environment is crucial to enduring the Sunshine Coast continues to prosper in decades to come,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“If we are to emerge as a progressive, integrated and globally connected regional city, factors such as transport, education, infrastructure, health facilities, affordable housing, employment and tourism must be closely scrutinised and shaped in a way that benefits residents, businesses and visitors to the area.”

Ms Zubrinich said the Sunshine Coast — which is currently the ninth-largest city in Australia — was lagging behind in transport infrastructure investment as a region and currently in catch-up mode.

“There are however exciting times ahead and there is a lot happening in the economic development and infrastructure space on the Coast,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“But that is only part of the story.  We talk about being a great region so let’s talk about what greatness may look like. This conference is about injecting new insights in to what makes a city great and what we can learn from other cities and experts on our continual path to greatness.”

Ms Zubrinich said some of the keynote speakers sharing their insight at the upcoming event included The Hornery Institute Chief Executive and Managing Director Kate Meyrick; National Capital Authority Chief Executive Malcom Snow and Urbis Director of Social Planning Stephanie Wyeth.

“Ms Meyrick – who has a master’s degree in urban design and estate management – has had roles throughout Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA as an urbanist and place maker. Having worked on well-known projects including the Sydney Harbour Foreshore and Sydney Midtown, she has been instrumental in shaping the global competitiveness of Australian cities and her expertise will be hugely valuable at the upcoming conference,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“We’re also delighted to have Mr Snow on board – who has qualifications in urban planning and landscape architecture and a career spanning four decades – and look forward to hearing from Ms Wyeth who is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading social planners.”

Malcolm Snow

Malcolm Snow

“The importance of social housing will also be addressed as part of the agenda.  We are now looking at over 1,500 homeless people on the Sunshine Coast and many more struggling to find accommodation given high rentals and lack of affordable accommodation.”

Other high-profile speakers that will take to the stage throughout the half-day event include Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie, Noosa Shire Council Mayor Tony Wellington, SunCentral CEO John Knaggs, Stockland Regional Manager Ben Simpson, and Ray White Commercial North Coast Central Director Michael Shadforth. The conference will be facilitated by MC Bill Darby.

The Urban Evolution of the Sunshine Coast conference will take place on Thursday, 8 June from 1.30pm at the USC Auditorium, Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, with members of the public welcome to attend. Tickets cost $104.50 for Sunshine Coast Business Council members and $121 for non-members and include refreshments on arrival, afternoon tea and networking drinks.

To find out more or secure your seat, please visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.