Thursday, February 22, 2024

Toowoomba council endorses 30-year growth strategy

With population growth expected to grow by about 66,600 over the next 30 years, Toowoomba Regional Council has this week endorsed a growth plan that spans the three decades.

Council Planning and Environment Committee Portfolio Lead, Councillor Bill Cahill said the Toowoomba Region Growth Plan established a clear and coordinated long-term strategy to guide where and how employment and population growth occurs across the Region.

“In 30 years time the Region will be home to approximately 66,600 new residents and 35,900 new jobs, requiring approximately 27,000 new dwellings,” Cr Cahill said.

“To make sure we sustainably manage this change in conditions, the Growth Plan is our road map for how the community wants to see our area developed in the coming years.

“Since eight Councils amalgamated to form the Toowoomba Region, this is the first Growth Strategy we’ve had and importantly, it comes at a time where the Region is expected to benefit from significant major regional infrastructure investment.

“It will support jobs and housing choices as well protecting the character and unique identity of our individual towns and neighbourhoods.

“It addresses the community’s expectation for maintaining and advancing the Region’s liveability, lifestyle and character while balancing the protection of our important natural environment by delivering a sustainable growth management framework.”

Cr Cahill said the plan identifies areas that are logical for new growth and clearly describes how the Region’s growth can be managed. The Growth Strategy will guide Council’s policies, programs, investment and decision making, he said.

In developing the Growth Plan, TRC Planning and Environment Committee Chair, Councillor Megan O’Hara Sullivan said Council had consulted with residents extensively to understand the matters of most importance to the community.

“As well as taking community feedback into account, we’ve looked at factors like population projections, changing and evolving community expectations, the delivery of essential infrastructure and trends in economic growth,” she said.

“The Growth Plan responds to these challenges and plans for a higher growth rate than the historical growth rate, which gives us flexibility to respond to significant growth influences/drivers.

“What we’re looking at over the next 10 years is not business as usual with significant investment required for projects like the dam safety upgrades and water treatment plant upgrades which only come along once in a generation.

“In addition to the investment being made by Council, we recognise the important role of private investment in delivering housing, employment and services that support local businesses and community.

“To facilitate this, the Growth Plan encourages a diverse type of housing options and provides opportunity to reduce living costs by ensuring growth occurs in the right locations.

“We have extensively investigated existing and future land supply needs. We understand there is sufficient land to cater for short-term growth for at least 15 years. This is a longer-term strategy to ensure that we are able to respond to the challenges ahead.”

The Toowoomba Region Growth Plan will inform the development of a new Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme and Toowoomba Region Infrastructure Plan, Council said in a statement.

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