The controversy over Palm Beach light rail continues.
Residents who fear homes will be taken vow to fight the plan which will cause the Gold Coast highway to be reduced to one lane.
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For the past five years, Palm Beach resident Karen Rowles has been campaigning against any further extensions to the existing light rail track, and she is concerned about any planned route that would take the light rail through Palm Beach.
Ms Rowles stated that she believed extending the light rail through Palm Beach would result in the construction of “high-density high rises” “all the way back to the M1.”
Ms Rowles, who has previously campaigned against high-density development in the area after a high-rise was built right next to her home, believes the light rail will add to the area’s overdevelopment.
She has started a petition against the light rail, which has received 13,322 signatures so far.
The existing light rail track connects Helensvale and Broadbeach, and Stage 3 of the project, which is planned but not yet built, will extend the line from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads.
The track will be extended from Burleigh Heads to the Gold Coast Airport in Coolangatta in Stage 4 of the project.
The original Stage 4 plan was for the light rail to travel along the Gold Coast Highway through Palm Beach, but the new proposal is to exit on 19th Avenue and avoid the Highway.
Despite residents’ concerns, the project appears to be on track after the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast pledged last week to begin the business case for the light rail link, which will be funded under a 50/50 partnership between the State and Council.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement that the agreement was critical for the state.
“This business case will support the next critical steps required to move major transportation investments on the Gold Coast forwards, which is critical for Queensland’s economic recovery,” the Premier stated.
“This is about developing a pipeline of projects that can continue to support and create jobs, boost our economy, and improve transportation for locals, particularly those on the Gold Coast’s southern end.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate also defended the project, stating that the light rail extension was critical to the area.
“Stage 4 will result in a 40-kilometer public transportation spine connecting key employment, transportation, health, and education nodes,” Cr Tate said.
Daphne McDonald, Division 13 Councillor, stated that residents from both Palm Beach and Burleigh had expressed concerns to her about the light rail.
“Issues raised with me… include the impact on residents and businesses where stations are located, the loss of green space and reduced deep planting, and the loss of car parks and the impact on surrounding streets,” Cr McDonald said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate stated that Council was aware of the opposition to the light rail extension and was collaborating with the community to plan the new extension.