The 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games may be over a decade away. But if we’re to create a legacy to last generations, there’s no time to waste. And to my mind, it starts right here in the Maroochydore CBD, which I hope will be the epicentre of the games on the Sunshine Coast.
Beyond the Athletes Village, Maroochydore is earmarked as a possible site to host basketball preliminaries. And if we can lock that in, we’ll have a shot at securing funds from State and Federal governments to build a venue.
But what sort of venue? My vision is for something truly iconic, a multi purpose entertainment centre in the heart the CBD, with a legacy that hosts major sporting events, concerts, performing arts, and even eSports. All part of a bustling precinct with green spaces, bars, restaurants and the like.
Preliminary basketball in the CBD would in turn, strengthen the case for heavy rail connecting Maroochydore to Brisbane, along the CAMCOS corridor, initially as an extension of the existing network, but designed to be straight and wide to accommodate fast rail in the future.
And I have a similar vision over here on the other side of the region in Nambour. Up the road we’re set to host Olympic mountain bikes, again strengthening the case for rail. But here it’s full duplication that’s needed – that’s two tracks – all the way to Nambour Station designed to accommodate a future fast rail system.
Investment in rail isn’t just about connectivity and taking cars off the road. It’s also about getting ahead of population growth. We don’t want a glitter strip of high rises along our beaches, nor do we want urban sprawl. If we can get rail done right, it will provide density around new inland stations along the CAMCOS corridor and in rejuvenated old railway towns.
Then there’s Kawana set to host the football preliminaries. This is our chance to go after funding to turn that long held dream of an upgraded stadium into a reality. As for Alex Headlands, it will host everything from road cycling race walks kiteboarding, and the marathon showcasing our beaches, water and fresh air to the world.
It’ll bolster our environmental credentials, that’s for sure. After all, the 2032 games won’t just be climate positive, they’ll be the most sustainable games ever.
And let’s not forget, we’re hosting not just the Olympics, but also the Paralympics. And this is key, we must embrace the goals of inclusivity and accessibility in everything we do. From sport and social programmes to town planning and design. For it’ll deliver dividends, not just for people living with disabilities, but senior citizens, families, and everyday people getting around the region.
But don’t think the games is all about change. It’s also about protecting that which already defines us our identity, culture and way of life, our family friendly and tight knit community, our spirit of entrepreneurship, and of course, our environment.
And don’t think the game is all about government either. If we want lasting legacies, we have to unleash the private sector, and the community at large and let them lead. Lastly, let’s be smart, and where we can. Let’s unite to get things done.
Now is the time at the start of the journey before being put on the world map to ask ourselves a really big strategic question. What do we want to be famous for?
I want us to be known the world over as the healthiest place on earth. But it’s just an idea that may not be the answer. But now is the time for us to challenge ourselves with that strategic question.
So what do you think? What do you want us to be famous for?