GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL EXTENDS BEYOND BURLEIGH
The construction of the Gold Coast Light Rail is the biggest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast, and plans are now set for it’s fourth stage to begin construction.
The newest 13 km extension of the rail, or G:link, will travel from Burleigh Heads to Tugun, passing through the heart of Palm Beach, with plans to include bridges and wildlife overpasses, and an ocean view pedestrian pathway.
The final stage will also include a section that runs from Tugun to Coolangatta. This last part will connect Gold Coast and the CBD to the Gold Coast Airport.
“While the Light Rail has been in operation since 2014, this is probably the most newsworthy part of the expansion, because it connects Gold Coast to the airport.” says APFG CEO Matt Sully, who is also a Gold Coast resident. “Up until now, Gold Coast has relied on tourism heavily, but the transport infrastructure to the airport has been limited to taxis and buses.”
Population increases fueling the needs for transport upgrades
Gold Coast officials see the light rail extension as not just an improvement for transportation, but a necessity for the region to accommodate the surge of population and tourism.
The Gold Coast’s population is set to grow to more than 1 million by 2041, with 80% of this growth expected to occur in existing urban areas.
The travel corridor between Burleigh and Palm Beach is expected to see increases of 15,000 more residents each year.
“This is about building a pipeline of projects that can continue to support and create jobs, boost our economy and improve transport for locals, particularly those living on the southern end of the Gold Coast,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
In the last year alone the Gold Coast has seen unprecedented growth, with property prices increasing by 18.2%, rental prices surging around the region, and apartment sales doubling in a single quarter. Last month, land prices for beachfront property hit record levels at $22,000 per square metre, with developers clamoring for a dwindling amount of stock.
(See More: Gold Rush: Reaching new heights in GC’s robust apartment market)
The Gold Coast skyline is changing quickly, and the light rail will connect the flurry of new high-rise, high-end development projects. In 2020, 22 new projects launched, containing a total of 1411 apartments, with dozens more in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond.
A Buzz of Activity and development near the new Light Rail stops
Among the many purposes of Light Rail, first and foremost was the ease of congestion on the M1 highway, providing alternative modes of transportation. For this reason, the Gold Coast Light Rail is the first rail network in the world to include surfboard racks.
“Providing ease of transport and making Gold Coast more accessible is going to bring countless benefits and opportunities,” says Sully. “Other areas of Queensland that are seeing a rise in population will also have issues with traffic, whereas on Gold Coast, the most popular beachfront and tourist regions now become a walkable, vibrant hub of activity.”
Along with the light rail, upgrades to the Palm Beach area include urban planning for pedestrian-friendly corridors, with the opportunity for street front dining, shopping, and art and cultural centres.
Early track record of Gold Coast Light Rail success
The Gold Coast Light Rail first stage opened in 2014, with the second stage completed in 2017, just before the Commonwealth Game in 2018, when the tracks transported 1.1 million passengers. Before the COVID-19 lockdowns, light rail ridership averaged 420,000 per month, with increases expected as more stops were added for stage 3 and stage 4. Since 2014,2014, 55 million passengers have travelled on the Gold Coast light rail (Source: TransLink ticketing data).
A property study on the effects of the early stages of the light rail showed that property values near the stations rose by 30%.
To find out more about Gold Coast development projects, and APFG investing and financing solutions, talk to us today.