A PROJECT for a safer cycle and pedestrian pathway between Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore has been put under a cloud, after the State Government secretly removed funds committed for construction from official government documents.
The M2M Stage 6 project had been the subject of controversy due to poor design, but the community won the promise from the Transport Minister of a new, better design and that the funds to construct it were safe.
However, after $1.5m expenditure on design and consultation, construction dollars originally worth more than $5m have been removed from the authoritative 4-year Queensland Transport and Investment and Roads Program (QTRIP). The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) website also states ‘Construction of Stage 6 is subject to funding availability’.
“This is a broken promise. The community were told that funds to construct the cycleway were safe. QTRIP is a four-year construction plan. The funds were there for the M2M cycleway and now they’re not. The Minister has misled the community who worked hard to come up with a feasible, more cost-effective and safe solution.
“Removing construction dollars from this project in the QTRIP plan is underhanded.”
On 13 July 2019 the Minister for Transport, Mark Bailey, announced $6.7 million in funding for the next stage of the M2M Cycleway between Mary Street in Alexandra Headland and Sixth Avenue, Maroochydore (Stage 6).
The Minister made a commitment that the money would design and build stage six of the project and advised that community consultation would start later that year. The proposed design was rejected by the public with thousands lining the beach in protests and a petition signed by thousands more against proposed design of the cycleway.
A win for the people occurred in August 2020, with the Minister agreeing to revise the plan with the community and a commitment that they would deliver stage six with Sunshine Coast Council.
State Member for Maroochydore, Fiona Simpson MP, is angry to see that the commitment from the Minister for the $6.7 million in funding to construct the cycleway has been replaced with $1.5 million to design it.
Fiona Simpson MP said “I am very disappointed by this State Labor Government and its broken promises.
“I want to know where the funding for the construction of the cycleway is?
“I am calling for the Minister to honour his commitment to the Sunshine Coast Community and put the funding back in QTRIP now.”
Cr Joe Natoli, said that he was grateful that the Minister and State Government listened to the concerns of the community, that they went back to the start and recommenced the process and now the community is happy with the revised design.
“The community and myself were not prepared to accept the original proposal. This is an important component of the cycleway network, of which the State Government has the responsibility of delivering and I am now seeking a commitment from the State Government that they will fund this section of the cycleway”.
Ms Simpson said it was always important to get the design right for the 1.2 kilometre Stage 6 stretch of the M2M Cycleway, as it is a busy coastal strip. However, the community were now happy with the revised proposed plans, so let’s get the construction funding back that was promised and start building it.