GROWTH: A population explosion is imminent in the Gympie Region.
GROWTH: A population explosion is imminent in the Gympie Region. Craig Warhurst

Population growth ready to burst

THE Gympie Region is about to burst at the seams, with predicted population growth running well ahead of education, health and other State Government services.

That was the message from yesterday's meeting of council's Planning and Development Committee.

Cr Larry Friske said council would have to lobby the government to make sure its planning keeps up with an imminent population explosion, “especially at Southside”.

And with 1000 new residents expected each year for the next 20 years, Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett forecast a regional population of 60,000 and Gympie's emergence as “an education hub” with a role comparable to that of Toowoomba.

Cr Friske said population projections showed a rapidly emerging need for at least one new Southside school, expanded shopping and parking facilities and improved hospital and ambulance infrastructure.

He was commenting specifically on a new 329-lot subdivision at Lawson and Groundwater Roads, Pie Creek, a project which he said would, even on its own, justify a new school.

With an average of two children per household, there would be 700 more children needing education from one new residential locality alone.

“That's a fair sized school,” Cr Friske said. “Gympie South is already nearly full and so is Jones Hill. The government says they are not looking at building new schools but we should be urging them to get the land now, so they can build them in the future.

“And what does it do to ambulance services, hospitals and even shopping centres?

“We need to have a hard look at how we provide services for the people who are arriving – before they arrive, not after.

“You're going to have a huge population on Southside. I'd like to see background information on the number of blocks coming on and potentially available on Southside and the facilities that will be needed.”

Council Planning director Michael Hartley said there was hope that service and infrastructure planning could be emphasised in the Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Plan, now being developed.

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