I’m a little concerned that we are becoming a region of naysayers. I recently attended more than a dozen community events and seminars within a fortnight and from reading the media coverage and online discussion of those events afterwards, I wondered at the way the facts presented, issues raised and robust debate was transformed into negative slants.
I understand it is human nature to dislike or resist change, but surely if you disagree, or require more information, then your next step is to do a little research or ask questions before rejecting a premise or a proposal outright, and definitely before resorting to bagging and name calling.
The Sunshine Coast region has undergone significant change in my own experience living locally for almost 25 years, but many of the changes to our infrastructure, facilities, organisations and cultural opportunities have been ultimately positive.
Of all the most debated local issues over development, carparks, naming rights, tollways, roundabouts, dog beaches, parking meters and election promises in my time, there are very few that proved to be white elephants.
I was here when local people and groups declared they did not want – nor did we need – the university, Sunshine Plaza’s boardwalk, Mooloolaba Esplanade’s hotel apartments, the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden, Kawana Island’s walkable waterfront, Duporth Avenue and Ocean Street revamped, the new hospital, the motorway and later the motorway upgrade, Cotton Tree park’s works, Corbould Park updated, the bus transit centre, the Maroochy Boulevard bridge, cycleways through Maroochydore – and so on. Now we mostly take these for granted.
Right now we need more change and the facts support the new airport runway, an upgraded rail, more highway lanes, the CBD – all necessary and well overdue.
I’d add we need a better bus network and bus lanes across the region if we expect people to actually use public transport and not just spruik the light rail.
History shows that since Federation, Australians have rejected most proposals for constitutional amendments. In the 1950s Prime Minister Robert Menzies likened getting a Yes vote from the Australian people on a referendum to the labours of Hercules.
Saying yes and working together to sing from the same hymn sheet is something other regions from Cairns to Toowoomba can easily claim. I wish we could say the same.