SHARE THIS POST
On the Gold Coast, there is a very understandable fondness for looking wistfully back at the past.
At a time when there were so many fewer people, little traffic, when our paradise had only been discovered by a lucky few.
When there were no crowds competing for that perfect wave.
It is far harder to look forward and imagine the future. There is always the fear of change.
But on the Gold Coast, we simply have no choice. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, our population was booming faster than anywhere else in Australia.
The pandemic, and subsequent border restrictions, may have paused that boom. It is not only a temporary halt, with growing evidence that when people are finally able to travel freely between states again, the Gold Coast’s population explosion will accelerate.
A new-found reputation as a refuge from the worst of COVID lockdowns has only added to the Gold Coast’s already huge appeal.
Prominent real estate agents report no let-up in demand from interstate.
“The level of inquiry coming out of Melbourne and Sydney has been extremely strong,” Michael Kollosche told this column.
“The fact that people can’t travel abroad, they’re all looking at buying holiday homes up here and looking to fast track any plans they had to move up to the Gold Coast.
“It’s definitely the trend that we’re seeing.”
No wonder that despite the COVID-19 downturn, Gold Coast house prices continue to increase strongly, while in most other Australian cities they are falling.
The trend is reflected on community forums online, there is a steady stream of messages from Victorians in particular seeking advice on making a move.
“Morning all. We are looking at relocating from Victoria to QLD once all this COVID stuff is over and done with and the borders have been reopened,” reads a typical comment posted this week. The writer then asks for advice on best suburbs.
Others ask for pointers on where to find jobs.
It’s the continuation of an astonishing trend.
The reality is that this ongoing growth, this unstoppable wave, is the real driver of development on the Gold Coast, not the light rail.
It’s not a case of build it and they will come – they’re coming anyway, and we need to be ready for it.
As Labor candidate for Burleigh Wayne Bartholomew said on Sunday, “the secret is out – this is the best place in Australia, so we have to adapt”.
The looming population boom also goes to the heart of the City Plan debate. It’s all very well demanding lower heights and densities, but all these extra people need to live somewhere.
They – and all of us – also need to be able to get around. It makes sense that long-term, population growth is clustered around transport links like the light rail.
Doing otherwise, at a risk of greater traffic gridlock and urban sprawl, could be a historic mistake.
The Gold Coast was no doubt very beautiful many decades ago. It has changed a lot in the meantime, and is beautiful still.
It is changing again. No more than we can turn back the clock to the days of Jim Cavill and the Surfers Paradise Hotel, there is nothing any of us can do to stop that.
Instead of looking wistfully back to the town we once were, we need to embrace with pride and with optimism the city we are about to become.
Source: The Courier Mail