The Sunshine Coast Infrastructure Summit, held at the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast last Friday, attracted approximately 180 attendees from government, industry groups, businesses, schools and the community.

The event, hosted collaboratively by Sunshine Coast Council, Sunshine Coast Business Council and Infrastructure Association of Queensland, provided a platform for diverse voices to contribute to the region’s infrastructure planning looking out to 2050 and beyond.

Highlights included an online address by Jerry Dobrovolny, Chief Administrative Officer and Commissioner of Metro Vancouver, who shared insights on Vancouver’s preparation for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including infrastructure delivery and legacy planning.

Key points emphasised the importance of planning not only for the Games, but also considering other challenges and opportunities, including the impacts of climate change; transport considerations such as heavy rail, mass transit and active transport solutions; fostering strong partnerships among stakeholders and remembering that hosting the Games will fundamentally change a region.

Keynote Kate Meyrick, an Urbis Director internationally recognised as a thought leader in shaping thinking about the global competitiveness of Australian cities, their future identity and the quality of life they offer, delivered a presentation on ‘What makes a region great?’.

Ms Meyrick also facilitated a discussion on the Sunshine Coast’s future, encouraging attendees to think big and explore sustainable infrastructure solutions and opportunities. The workshops generated ideas on maximising sustainability, maintaining the liveability attributes of the Sunshine Coast and how future technologies can be key to addressing the impacts associated with global issues, but from a local perspective.

Themes included how the Sunshine Coast could be self-sustaining in areas such as recycling and advanced manufacturing ideas to manage waste, value-add to production and create new products and services; investing in more sustainable infrastructure solutions; optimising water resources by better use of existing water sources and identifying new water source alternatives; and utilising advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence and smart buildings.

Another notable highlight was the participation of secondary school students from a number of Sunshine Coast schools, who expressed their aspirations for the Sunshine Coast’s future. Their focus centred on maintaining the region’s liveability, preserving the natural environment, and prioritising safety and security, as well as a special mention regarding a full medical degree program being introduced at the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The next step is for participants in the initial roundtable discussion held in March, to reconvene to identify the themes and infrastructure ideas to contribute to the forthcoming infrastructure plan for the Sunshine Coast. This collaborative effort will help drive a comprehensive and inclusive vision of the infrastructure solutions that advance the future interests of the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council is the leading regional business advocacy group on the Sunshine Coast. It represents approximately 4,000 businesses through its membership, which includes key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.
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