Learning from internationally-recognised, eco-friendly cities and their billion dollar health projects and attracting the interest of global IT investors will be the focus of a University of the Sunshine Coast and Council-led mission to the United States.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has been invited to participate in a mission to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Centre development.
The $1.5 billion health and medical facility specialising in women’s and children’s health and cancer treatment, is due to open next February and is similar in scale to the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital complex.
Acting Mayor Chris Thompson said council was keen to grasp the potential economic, investment, employment and community opportunities to be derived from the UCSF experience.
“The medical centre development has been part of a significant economic revitalisation of the Mission Bay area,” Cr Thompson said.
“Working with USC, it is intended that other Sunshine Coast business and industry representatives will also participate, at their own cost, in the visit to Mission Bay.
“A number of university hospital precincts in North America provide an opportunity to learn about the implications for urban planning, investment attraction, industry growth and workforce delivery.
“The USC considers the UCSF Medical Centre at Mission Bay, which is adjacent to San Francisco’s central business district, provides one of the best contemporary examples in this regard and will inform our own approach to attracting investment and jobs in the Kawana precinct as well as the city centre in Maroochydore.”
Mayor Jamieson will also meet with senior representatives of three global IT companies based in California.
Cr Thompson said the purpose of those meetings would be to generate interest in the Sunshine Coast region, establish awareness of the Maroochydore City Centre and encourage those companies to consider the Sunshine Coast as a potential location for future investment as part of their Australian operations.
“This is in line with council’s Regional Economic Development Strategy which seeks to encourage new investment through the knowledge industries and professional services,” Cr Thompson said.
“To maximise the value of the visit, it is also proposed that council representatives will travel to Portland, Oregon for discussions with the Portland Mayor, the Portland Development Corporation and representatives of the Metropolitan Area Express Light Rail network.
“Portland is well regarded for providing quality urban planning, design and infrastructure and is internationally recognised as one of the world’s highest rated eco-friendly locations.
“Sunshine Coast Council is striving to become Australia’s most sustainable region, so there is value in forging relationships with cities like Portland that have already attained that goal.”
Cr Thompson said the mission would replace an already budgeted and approved mission that council had planned to participate in, but which was now no longer proceeding.
He said the pursuit of investment opportunities was necessary if the region was to improve its infrastructure, secure investment, generate employment and achieve a more sustainable and prosperous community.
“The insights afforded by visiting the UCSF Medical Centre at Mission Bay and the Light Rail system in Portland will potentially inform Council’s approach to facilitating investment in the health and medical precinct at Kawana and its assessment of a light rail solution for the Sunshine Coast.”