David Ransom: (Zone Planning Group) Director
Post-Covid 19 population growth to the City seems to be very strong and is forcing dwellings to be constructed in more intensive arrangements along the City’s coastline and established suburbs. This resulting in strong pushback from residents in those suburbs who are concerned about the rate of change. Yet the Gold Coast has always, from its earliest planning schemes, had a policy of accommodating population growth, and in particular catering for it in residential towers along the City’s coastline.
Future growth could occur through an expansion of the SEQRP urban footprint on the City’s fringe, however, it will need to occur in a manner that avoids flooding and environmental constraints, but eventually, even this expanded supply will run out. Continued intensification of the established City footprint, both through townhouses and apartments is the most likely way to accommodate future population growth within the City.
Regarding ‘greenfield’ land, we have already controlled that expansion. The SEQRP urban footprint and environmental overlays in the Cityplan already stop the City from expanding in terms of area. Cityplan amendments that seek to reduce dwelling supply in the established urban footprint may be intended to take the pressure off population growth into the City, but in reality, will not stop population growth but instead will create an affordability problem for low to medium-income earners in the City.
In terms of liveability, the single greatest threat to liveability on the Gold Coast in the future will relate to housing affordability. As a City, we are not constructing enough dwellings to cater for population growth, and until this is brought into equilibrium we will face increasing house prices and a tight rental supply which will force low to medium-income earners, out of the City. Their future will be one of long-distance commuting from other areas where more affordable housing exists. This will have a range of other negative consequences such a clogged roads and labour shortages. As a City, we need to focus on the approval and construction of affordable housing options as a high priority.