Developer demands extension to Ipswich rail line
RIPLEY residents need access to effective and affordable transport, sooner rather than later.
That's the message from Sekisui House the developers of major residential precinct Ecco Ripley who have joined calls from civic leaders for work to start on Ipswich's rail line expansion now.
The Labor State Government maintains it will build the promised extensions to the rail network, including two new stations at Ripley; Ripley North and Ripley Town Centre.
No date has been set and no budget allocated, however, the land for a future passenger line has been preserved since 2009.
Ripley is among the fastest growing suburbs in the state and in 2013 was designated by the State Government as a priority area for development, destined to be home to 120,000 people in the next 20 years.
Ripley Town Centre development manager Taku Hashimoto said Ripley and the surrounding area was on the cusp of some of the most significant projected population growth in Queensland and even Australia.
"The corridor between Ipswich and Springfield is already experiencing a rapid pace of growth and that will only continue well into the future, so this will require a focus on public transport solutions, including rail transport, in a timely manner," said Mr Hashimoto.
"The Queensland Government has specifically highlighted the Ripley region as a Priority Development Area (PDA) and is forecasting an ultimate population of 120,000 people over next 20 years.
"Early provision of rail line service in this area is critical to support the growth agenda in the Ripley region.
"As the Ecco Ripley community continues to develop, and as future stages of Ripley Town Centre come to fruition, we want the community to have affordable transport choices that improve people's access to services, employment and avoid social isolation, particularly for youth, seniors and other non-drivers."
According to Ipswich City Council's annual planning and development report, the top five areas for residential development in 2017 included Springfield Lakes, South Ripley, Ripley and Bellbird Park where a total of 1229 new homes were built.
Those suburbs also rank in the council's top five suburbs for new lots created and new lots approved.
But the corresponding transport infrastructure has not been prioritised by the State Government which says the extensions to the rail line, including adding stations at Ripley, Flagstone and Redbank Plains, won't be built until after 2024, once the inner city Cross River Rail project has been finished.
Already more than 500 homes have been built in the Ecco Ripley community.
Last year, 183 new homes were built in Ripley housing 545 people, according to Ipswich City Council's Planning and Development Annual Report Card. A further 301 homes were built in South Ripley, housing 956 people.
Developer Sekisui House has proposed to build a state-of-the-art transit hub in its town centre.
Without a shift in government long-term planning, that won't include a rail line until 2031.