When I arrived on the Sunshine Coast in 2005, I’d never been here before & didn’t even really know anything about it. We drove up the coast, through Buderim, down to Mooloolaba, said “lets live here”, and a week later we bought a house. Since then we’ve seen moderate development, but over the next 5 years we will see the most significant developments in the coast’s history. Mainly, the international airport which will be operational much sooner than you realise, plus probably the biggest secret but also the one with the biggest impact: the seabed high speed internet connection coming directly from Asia, which I will explain more about a little later.
First Ever Council Solar Farm
Sunshine Coast Council just saved ratepayers around $1 mil per year.
Now that the council has finished the solar farm at 909 Yandina-Coolum Road in Valdora, they forecast that it will save ratepayers around $1mil a year. The plan is for the farm to power many of the council buildings on the sunshine coast.
This also shows how innovative and forward thinking our current council is because it’s the first council in Australia to take on such a project. You can see a 90 second video about it here.
During the project, the council contracted 10 local businesses, employing around 100 people. It’s good to see the council is very interested in giving work to local businesses where possible.
International Airport Coming to the Sunshine Coast
Construction has already started on the second east – west runway. They hope that by approximately 2021 the new runway, that is 45 metres wide and over 2,000 metres long, will be taking its first international plans. When it does, this will be a major draw card for tourists and local businesses.
The Sunshine Coast will start to see a dramatic change as people from all over the world discover our region, not just from a tourism point of view, but also as a place to establish as a smart business location as an alternative to Sydney or Melbourne.
The construction will cost over $4 billion and will bring in around 2,000 new employment opportunities, once complete it will open the ability to bring in over 2 million extra visitors to the coast each year. But the true value will be the growth we sell through the combination of the airport, Maroochydore’s new Business District and the direct high speed sea cable to Asia.
Maroochydore Business Hub
Some years back, the council moved the golf course to Bli Bli and have been busy redeveloping the 40 acres in the middle of the Maroochydore CBD into the new business hub for Maroochydore. It’s a bold, impressive plan and one I personally am very excited about, which will be a blend of residential, commercial, and retail space.
Stage 1 will include 450 residential apartments, what’s more, Evans Long is also building an 8 story commercial building that includes retail space on the ground floor. You can see more details of the commercial space here.
Lots of technology is being built in; like the automated underground waste removal technology at a cost of $20 mil, and, of course, the international submarine internet cable straight from Asia.
In total, this will contribute $4.4 bil to the economy and will create approximately 15,000 new jobs.
This, along with the airport & direct high speed sea cable to Asia means the Sunshine Coast is set for considerable grow through the 2020’s and beyond.
Maroochydore is in the middle of the entire Sunshine Coast. Caloundra is about 30 minutes south and Noosa about 45 north, with the airport less than 10 minutes away. I live on 12 acres in Palmwoods. We strategically bought land in Palmwoods because it’s positioned directly behind Maroochydore, with fast direct access, it’s on the train line, very close to a number of private schools, and 4 minutes to get onto the Bruce Hwy to get anywhere we need to go.
Why this Sea Cable is a Game Changer for the Sunshine Coast
We all get internet without really thinking too much of how it works and where it comes from. It just seems to work. In case you were wondering, it currently comes from Sydney. The Sunshine Coast is about to get a direct high speed link under the sea to Asia. While you & I don’t really understand the significance of this, geeky computer people do & that’s what’s important. This is a super fast direct connection to Asia and has the potential to get the attention of billion dollar companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook & Amazon; all are companies that need huge data centres to operate.
These types of companies will definitely want to take advantage of this connection, especially with our more favourable real estate prices and wonderful lifestyle facilities. I know if I was Mr. Facebook I’d be super keen. Companies like these employ massive amounts of staff and pay massive pay cheques, too. As a community, we can’t underestimate the huge positive impact this cable will have on the Sunshine Coast’s economy in all areas.
Economic Impacts of the Sea Cable
This cable, along with the new CBD infrastructure is bound to get the attention of many other large corporations that are looking for a smart alternative to expensive Sydney or Melbourne. Some years back now, Youi made the smart choice of setting up here which has been fantastic for employment on the coast. Youi have now built their own building, employ around 2,000 staff, and are growing; plus they pay very well. With all that’s now happening, over the next few years more companies will follow.
The Sunshine Coast Council hope this cable will produce around 1,000 extra jobs and inject almost $1 bil into the Qld economy. When you consider Youi employs around 2,000 staff, the 1,000 estimated extra jobs seems to be a gross underestimation to me. If the cable does attract large data centres & companies like Google, then the employment potential could be much, much higher.
This is not a pipe dream. The project has already started and is expected to be operational sometime in 2020. You can see a 3 minute video about it here.
60 Acre Water Park
Thrill Hill in Woombye is about to get some competition. At 2652 Steve Irwin Way, near Australia Zoo there will be an Adventure Water Park that will include retail space, glamping, and eventually a hotel. Actventure Parks are already established in other areas of the world, with their Hong Kong park being voted the best water park in the world. Construction has already begun.
Big Improvements Coming to the Big Pineapple
Opening in 1971, when I was a kid growing up in Sydney, many of my friends would return from holidays with photos, postcards, tee shirts, and spoons from the Big Pineapple and talk about its glory. Then, on the news in 1983, I saw Princess Dianna and Prince Charles being towed around the establishment in a huge pecan nut.
Ever since then, I dreamed of one day seeing this glorious establishment in person. When I moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2005 as an adult with children of my own, you can imagine my excitement when I learnt that the massive Pineapple that had eluded me for years was now in my own backyard. This turned to slight devastation on visiting, as the once glorious tourist attraction was almost run down. The highlight of the visit being my eldest daughter flying out of the pineapple after seeing the biggest huntsman spider she had ever seen in her life.
Progress for the Pineapple
After 2005, we lived in Buderim for 10 years, but I now live on 12 acres in Palmwoods and my property almost backs onto the Big Pineapple land. I drive past it now at least twice per day and I often find myself dreaming of how glorious it must’ve been in the 80’s when it would attract over 1 million visitors a year.
So you can imagine my delight, when I learnt of the development application. The transformation has already begun with the Tree Top Challenge now open for business. Something I can highly recommend as a family outing that has something for everyone. You can see all about it here.
Over the next 10 years, the owners of the Big Pineapple land have big plans which you can see more about including a map here. These plans include a water park, hotel, convention centre, RV park, glamping, improvements to the Zoo, & music festivals. Many people don’t realise it’s a huge space with over 400 acres on both sides of the Nambour Connection Rd.
Major Land Developments are Everywhere
The coast continues to expand. The number of land developments is mind-boggling and their sizes vary wildly. Since 2005, I’ve watched the Sunshine Coast get busier and busier. While true locals hate the new traffic congestion, compared to Sydney and other cities it’s nothing to worry about.
Traffic builds up from the Bruce Hwy past the Big Pineapple for about 30 minutes each day. While locals are quick to complain, “the jam” is only a small inconvenience generally lasting only 5 minutes.
I’m in the real estate industry and for me the Sunshine Coast expanding is bittersweet. Personally, I’d prefer the coast to stay smaller as I prefer rural to urban settings. Nevertheless, I appreciate the growth for its economic impact on the families living here so overall the changes are positive.
Palmview Farmland Turned into 17,000 Houses
The farmland in Palmview located right next to Sippy Downs is in the process of being redeveloped at the cost of around $3 bil. While this is a lot of money, it’s worth it as it plans to bring in 17,000 new homes. The first portion of the development has been named Harmony with sales already happening. The Sunshine Coast is benefiting with around 9,000 people working on the development.
They expect the entire development to be completed over the next 15 years.
Caloundra South will Add 50,000 People to the Sunshine Coast
The largest development ever on the Sunshine Coast, called Aura will take over 30 years to develop and finish. This development is positioned directly behind Caloundra, to the south of the Sunshine Coast. Aptly named Caloundra South, this development is home to over 50,000 people. You can see a 90 second video about Aura here.
At the time of writing, you can buy a 250m2 block of land for $215,000.
I feel Stockland does an excellent job with land developments, this one is certainly exciting with something for everyone. You can read a lot of news articles about the progress here.
These are just a few of the developments on the Sunshine Coast. I could go on and on. We are already feeling the positive impacts of the new University Hospital, that by 2021 hopes to have over 700 beds. The hospital itself has caused the entire Birtinya area, and surrounding areas, to grow tremendously.
Beerwah East is another development few people know about & will be very, very substantial, with around 44,000 residences.
Overall Impacts of the Sunshine Coast’s Planned Growth
Incredible amounts of road work improvements to carry all the extra traffic are all well underway. The council is also promoting a light rail, but don’t get too excited about that just yet. They have only just finished the feasibility study, so no federal funding has been granted yet.
The developments I’ve mentioned above are in progress right now with expected completion dates in the next few years. These factors make the Sunshine Coast a smart place to be investing right now.