Population to double
MAYOR Brad Carter wouldn’t be surprised if the region’s population doubled in the next 15 to 25 years.
Looking ahead, Cr Carter reckons we’ll move away from living in the traditional-style home set on an 800sqm block to a denser style of accommodation, such as units, townhouses and apartments.
He believes strong economic growth, the region’s lifestyle and “the distinct competitive advantage” of a reliable water source mean Rockhampton is now on the cusp of a golden period.
Yesterday the Mayor welcomed Premier Anna Bligh’s cash bonus offer to encourage people away from the state’s south-east corner as “a positive move”.
But, even “Blind Freddy” could see the regions needed to play a major role in accommodating the state’s projected population explosion.
Now he wants the government to back up yesterday’s announcement with support and funding for key infrastructure projects that threaten to curtail growth across the region.
The three key things that “must” be done are:
Building a third bridge and developing associated roads for this;
Getting new water storage facilities along the Fitzroy River; and
Developing road access across the rain line that separates the Capricorn Highway from land identified for industrial development to the west of Rockhampton.
The Mayor is buoyed by a recent meeting with Ms Bligh, where she appointed a high-level government officer to work across all departments on these key issues.
The council is well advanced in preparing for the future with a “whole of region plan” expected to be completed in March.
Cr Carter said an environmentally-responsible vision was emerging.
“We are starting to see clarity of what our vision should look like,” Cr Carter said.
“I think what will be lost over time will be the 10-acre paddocks five minutes from the city.
“That’s not sustainable, or if it is, it will only be for the super rich.
“We are moving away from the 32 perches (800sqm) block with a couple of mango trees in the yard because of the impact on the environment and costs there will be for an owner of a property,” he said.
He concedes council faces a challenge to maintain the region’s unique character.
“That’s why we have to get the whole-of-region plan right,” Cr Carter said.
He said current estimates conservatively projected a population increase of about 77,000 people over the next 20 to 25 years for the region.
“With decentralisation and stronger-than-expected economic growth it’s realistic our population will double in the next 15 to 25 years,” Cr Carter said.
“That’s another 110,000 people.”