The State Government’s moves to spend more than $2million on a plan for a 1.5km bike path with none of the money going towards construction has been called an outrageous budget bungle by local MP Fiona Simpson.
Member for Maroochydore and Shadow Minister for Finance and Better Regulation, Fiona Simpson was commenting after the Transport Department this week released the latest design of the much-anticipated M2M – Mooloolaba to Maroochydore Cycleway (Stage 6) between Mary Street at Alexandra Headland to Sixth Avenue at Maroochydore.
The project was sent back to the drawing board in 2020 over community concerns about impact upon public spaces with the State Government promising not to remove construction dollars, however none of the funds to construct the bike and footpaths have been put back into the budget and the new plan won’t be finalised until 2024.
“Is $2m good value for a plan with no construction dollars? I don’t think so. This a budget bungle that treats the community with contempt. The community wanted a better design that kept them safe and didn’t form a barrier to the beach, but they still wanted something to happen that met their expectations. With no timeframe from the Government to build a suitable design, that’s a broken promise,” Ms Simpson said.
“The cost of the plan and design is over the top for a simple project. You’d think they were designing a velodrome – after three years of talking, stakeholder meetings, millions for planning and design and not one shovel in the ground.
“More of this price tag should have gone on building community infrastructure to keep pedestrians and bike users safe in a design sympathetic with the multiple parkland and beach users in this space, rather than this amount of money spent on planning, without construction, which is excessive and disappointing.
“Minister Bailey is the King of Cover Up and first of the big spenders with nothing to show for the waste of taxpayer dollars.
“This is an important project in a busy coastal tourist strip of the Sunshine Coast, the community feedback showed most were happy with the revised plans over 12 months ago and yet there is still no progress, just more wasted dollars.”
M2M Stakeholder participant, Geoff Glanville, said: “It’s really disappointing the amount of consultation and planning that has taken place with nothing to show for it. With the Department’s advised timeframe it will be four years since the initial plan was presented to the final preferred plan to final plan with no indication of when the project will even commence, let alone be actually built. It’s a busy strip and it can’t accommodate the cyclists, walkers, etc as it currently is.”
Ms Simpson said I was pleased when the re-design for this project occurred because of community concern, but it I want to see the Minister stop wasting ridiculous amounts of money on planning and start showing some action.