VISION: The possible light rail network.
VISION: The possible light rail network. Sunshine Coast Council

EXCLUSIVE: Rail rolls casino, airport as priority project

A LIGHT rail network has trumped an international airport, new casino and a five-star resort in a survey asking locals to identify the most important project for the region.

More than 40 per cent of the 635 people surveyed in a recent ReachTel poll ranked light rail as the most important, while only 2.8 per cent of respondents placed a new casino on top of their wish list.

The Sunshine Coast Council had lobbied extensively for a new casino licence for the region, with the intention of having a casino located within the new Maroochydore CBD.

When asked about the survey results, Mayor Mark Jamieson refused to comment on the strong support for the light rail, instead declaring the Daily had "clearly wasted its money" in undertaking the survey.

Cr Jamieson said the Daily had "sought to mislead the community" by suggesting there was a prospect of a casino on the Sunshine Coast.

Latest artist's impressions of the future Sunshine Coast Light Rail in the Maroochydore CBD.
Latest artist's impressions of the future Sunshine Coast Light Rail in the Maroochydore CBD. Sunshine Coast Council

"There is no casino licence available for the Sunshine Coast," Cr Jamieson said.

He said without knowing about the parameters of the survey or conditions under which it was conducted, other than that it involved robo-calling residents, he was unable to comment further.

SURVEY RESULTS

Right to Information documents totalling more than 400 pages released a few months ago revealed the relentless push by council executives, including the Mayor and CEO, for a casino licence as part of an integrated resort development.

Almost 65 per cent of respondents said they wouldn't visit a new casino on the Sunshine Coast, although only 47.8 per cent said they'd be worried about the impact of gambling on their family if a new casino opened.

IMPRESSION: This image was included in confidential SunCentral integrated resort development marketing material, as part of the push for a casino on the Coast.
IMPRESSION: This image was included in confidential SunCentral integrated resort development marketing material, as part of the push for a casino on the Coast. Contributed

Do you think a light rail network is the Coast's most important project?

This poll ended on 04 January 2019.

Current Results

Yes.

55%

No.

15%

There are a lot of thing the Coast desperately needs.

30%

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

More than 81 per cent of those surveyed supported a convention/entertainment centre on the Coast, but only 17.7 per cent would support a casino if it included a new convention/entertainment centre.

Support for the light rail was strongest among respondents aged 51-65.

The council will this week seek to have its finalised Integrated Transport Strategy adopted by councillors and give CEO Michael Whittaker the authority to "progress actions" from the strategy.

Progressing the strategic and preliminary business cases for the Sunshine Coast Light Rail was number one of the list of items to be implemented when the strategy was adopted.

A preferred light rail route from Caloundra to Maroochydore has been finalised, while future connections to the Sunshine Coast Airport and University of the Sunshine Coast were planned as work on the business case continued.

The transport strategy's vision was to have all major centres of the Sunshine Coast linked by high-frequency public transport corridors and services running every 15 minutes from 7am-7pm, seven days a week, by 2041.

Most important project:

  • New casino: 2.8%
  • International airport: 31%
  • Five-star resort: 3.2%
  • Light rail network: 40.3%
  • New convention centre: 13%
  • Brisbane Rd carpark: 9.7%

Do you support a casino?

  • Yes: 26.8%
  • No: 67.4%
  • Unsure: 5.8%

Do you support a convention/entertainment centre?

  • Yes: 81.4%
  • No: 12.4%
  • Unsure: 6.2%

Would you support a casino if it included a convention centre?

  • Yes: 17.7%
  • No: 75.8%
  • Unsure: 6.4%

Is the new CBD best place for a casino?

  • Yes: 24.1%
  • No: 59.3%
  • Unsure: 16.7%

Would you visit a new casino on the Coast?

  • Yes: 28.2%
  • No: 64.7%
  • Unsure: 7%