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CONSTRUCTION of the Gold Coast light rail’s third stage from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads is underway.
This $709 million extension of the tramline was more than 12 years in the making and will finally open in 2023.
A planned fourth stage will run from Burleigh Heads to the border, stopping at Gold Coast Airport.
The Gold Coast light rail is going south Picture: Glenn HampsonFLASHBACK: COAST’S HANGING MONORAIL
Once complete, it will realise the dream of a citywide trail-based public transport which was first revealed 40 years.
In early 1981 the Gold Coast City Council unveiled bold plans for a $14 million monorail system which was hailed at the time as the solution to public transport issues.
The monorail was dubbed “futuristic” and “space age” by its proponents, Tourism Consultants of Surfers Paradise.
‘ONLY WAY TO STOP RAIL EXTENSION’
Artist impressions of a Gold Coast monorail system approved by Gold Coast City Council in March 1981 which ultimately was abandoned in favour of the Gold Coast Light RailThe company, which at the time was building The Resort Holiday Village, pitched the idea to an enthusiastic council, saying its first stage could be built by the 1982 Commonwealth Games, just 18 months in the future.
The proposal would have seen the tracks built six metres above the road, replacing the city’s power poles.
Each of its fibreglass cars would be designed to take 12 passengers and would run every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Trips were expected to cost 80c each, with the first stage expected to be a loop through central Surfers Paradise.
STATE CABINET BACKS COAST MONORAIL
Council approved the proposal but it never went aheadFULL DIGITAL ACCESS: JUST $1 FOR FIRST 28 DAYS
Future stages would have included extension to Pacific Fair, Gold Coast Airport, Coolangatta-Tweed Heads, Sea World Southport and ultimately, Brisbane.
The monorail was intended to be a privately funded enterprise managed by a board of trustees.
“We have already done a lot of the work behind the scenes with other authorities- we wouldn’t have come to the council with this submissions if we hadn’t,” Tourism Consultants director Len Jones told the council.
“We eventually see it running from one end of the Gold Coast to the other and into the Albert Shire as well.
“We have chosen the centre of Surfers Paradise as the starting point, because it will be the most visible but we are going to cover the whole of the Gold Coast.
Ald Denis O"Connell. Supplied photo.Mr Jones said the project would bring a “fairyland” quality to Surfers Paradise and “rocket” the Gold Coast into international recognition.
Council voted 9-1 in favour of the project, with Alderman Eileen Peters the sole opponent.
“All we have got are some pretty pictures and we have had only one discussion with these people,” she said.
“This is probably something that a great many people will be concerned about and I don’t believe that the council at its meeting should suddenly indicate that it is supportive in principle.”
The late 1980s monorail proposed by the State Government.
But Alderman Denis O’Connell spoke in its favour, arguing that the council could not afford to delay such a project.
“This is something we have to approve in principle so the developer and promoter can get on with the job of finalising details for our consideration,” he said.
“If we don’t’ give this plan some support, pretty pictures are all we will finish up with.”
The monorail the Gold Coast eventually got. Photo: David ClarkAld O’Connell’s words proved prophetic, with the project ultimately failing to go ahead, lacking state government support.
Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen proposed his own Gold Coast monorail system in 1986 and it was approved three years later before being abandoned in 1990.
The light rail system was first mooted in 1997 as a solution to the city’s transport woes but it took another 17 years before it finally came online in 2014, more than three decades after the monorail was proposed.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au
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