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Coast's future clad in activewear, driven by youth

KEY: The planned SunCentral development for the Maroochydore CBD.
KEY: The planned SunCentral development for the Maroochydore CBD. Contributed

LYCRA-clad, entrepreneurial, educated.

That's the future Sunshine Coast resident demographer Bernard Salt has identified in a report predicting explosive growth in the region in the next 20 years.

Mr Salt's future Coast is driven by tech-savvy Millennials, "footloose" businesses and a swell of young families drawn to the region, as he predicted the Coast's population to rise to about 550,000 by 2040.

Driving that growth is an increase in young families, with our school-age population predicted to rise from 63,000 to 95,000 by 2040 and the 30-49 age bracket to increase from 86,000 in 2016 to 120,000 in 2036.

In his report The Activated City: Imagining the Sunshine Coast in 2040, Mr Salt predicts a breakthrough of the hipster culture in the region, as knowledge and tech-savvy young workers are attracted to the new Maroochydore CBD.

His report - commissioned by Sunshine Coast Council-owned SunCentral, the company developing the new Maroochydore CBD - said the increase of youth in the region would drive a more energetic lifestyle full of sporting activity.

"Activewear is absolutely everywhere," Mr Salt said.

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"The Brisbane commuter class subsides as the next generation of Coasters re-affix their employment to any of the local opportunities.

"And then there are the overseas and interstate visitors, the day-trippers, the immigrants, the fly-in/fly-outers, the artists and the entrepreneurs.

"All are welcome and all contribute to an eclectic, activated lifestyle city emblematic of the best that Australia has to offer in the middle of the 21st century."

 

BY THE NUMBERS: Bernard Salt's predictions for the future Sunshine Coast.
BY THE NUMBERS: Bernard Salt's predictions for the future Sunshine Coast. Centro Art

Real Estate Institute of Queensland Sunshine Coast zone chair Amber Werchon said it was positive news for the region and the influx of young families could see a rise in buyers looking to get into affordable units and townhouses closer to the beach and the "action".

She tipped more density in the coastal areas to cater to that young family and young professional market in future, given the limited land supply in the region, pointing to the apartment living being created around the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital and in Maroochydore.

Ms Werchon said that expectation of population growth would further bolster the Coast property market, which she said had been the top-performing market in Queensland in 2016.

University of the Sunshine Coast political lecturer Bronwyn Stevens said mass growth in young families and young workers in the region could also bring a shift in our political landscape in future.

"Young voters do tend to be less conservative voters and less tied to the major parties," she said.

 

KEY PLAYER: The new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
KEY PLAYER: The new Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Sunshine Coast Hospital and Heal

She said they were less likely to vote for the same party their parents did, and as the region became more and more educated, voters may become less partisan.

Mr Salt drew comparisons between the future Sunshine Coast and artistic US city Santa Fe, envisaging Maroochydore to play host to the headquarters of nationally-significant businesses by 2040.

"Long gone is the sense that the Sunshine Coast is an enclave of older retired Australians and New Zealanders," Mr Salt said.

"Indeed, the university, the business incubators, the lifestyle, the bubbling opportunities to work amid some of the nation's smartest start-ups attracts a steady flow of 20-somethings into the region.

"Hipster enclaves magically crystallise on the edges of the old Maroochydore CBD. Sport and wellness seem to pervade every streetscape.

"Activewear is adopted by Council as the Coast's unofficial uniform. There is even talk of the Sunshine Coast bidding for the 2046 Commonwealth Games."

 

REPORT: Leading Australian social commentator, Bernard Salt.
REPORT: Leading Australian social commentator, Bernard Salt. Contributed

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson was encouraged by the report, saying Mr Salt's predictions were usually on the money.

He said SunCentral had engaged Mr Salt to get their message out further and increase competition and market tension to ensure top dollar was earned for land parcels in the CBD.

Cr Jamieson said the look into the region's future clearly demonstrated the region would appeal to many more young people.

He also expected to see more active retirees or experienced senior businesspeople shift to the region and engage in entrepreneurial activities in the CBD, which in turn would boost employment and prospects for younger workers in the region.

But Cr Jamieson conceded he didn't intend to give up his suit and tie "just yet" when asked whether the council would consider an official adoption of activewear as a uniform.

He said changes in housing styles were "inevitable" and expected singles, childless couples and small families to be looking to live in higher-densities if it meant they could be "closer to the action".

Topics:  bernard salt business demographics industry maroochydore cbd planning and development property report suncentral sunshine coast council


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