by Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray
Historically, Brighton has been something of a quiet achiever – a happy mix of rural villages and outer suburbs with a close knit, caring community, steadily developing businesses and facilities.
Brighton generally hasn’t been on the radar for people outside our region – we’ve been the smaller sibling to the big four Councils along the Derwent: Hobart, Clarence, Glenorchy and Kingborough.
But no longer! Brighton is bursting onto the scene. We are a critical part of Greater Hobart at the same time as being a hub for our region to the north and west. Brighton is now experiencing economies of scale, making infrastructure, services and developments viable that weren’t viable only a few years back. We’ve passed the tipping point.
So here’s an insider tip: If you’re scouting for a place to establish your business, work or live, look to Brighton. And look now, before everyone else does. For the past three years, Brighton has been bulking up by 500 new residents a year. Our population will pass 20,000 next July. Within the next four years we will have more residents than the regional city of Burnie.
And it’s not just more people. There’s a surge in infrastructure, facilities and investment. A new regional Brighton High School is coming. We have development applications for a new general practice and a new supermarket. We’re seeing approvals for industrial developments every month.
In the future, we can expect to see a ferry terminal at Bridgewater, and later Old Beach, for the thousands of people who commute into Hobart and Glenorchy from the South Central region. The number of jobs here has doubled in the past 10 years. And that trend continues up.
Recent years have also seen record Council investment including $3 million on the Bridgewater Parkland and $6 million on the Brighton Regional Sports Pavilion. This year we commence $3.3 million on soccer and park upgrades in Brighton and $1.7 million on a new park in Gagebrook, where we are partnering with Centacare Evolve Housing, Federal and State governments, and MONA. Herdsmans Cove will get a new park and Bridgewater a pump track. This quantum of Council investment in recent years eclipses that of a few years ago.
Brighton is on the cusp of having everything necessary, inside its own boundaries, to entirely support its burgeoning community, without the need to travel elsewhere: jobs; stellar education facilities; and first-rate sporting, commercial, health and recreation services. Never before has it been this easy to live, work and play all within the Brighton region.
We are in a virtuous circle. A bigger population with rich investment equals greater funds for more and better local services and facilities, and yet more infrastructure. Making Brighton an ever more attractive and liveable local environment, with a vigorous and generous community pride.
Of course, growth of this magnitude must be well managed. And that’s what Brighton Council is doing. We are steering this growth so it is positive, fair and equitable, with benefits for all. That’s how we’ve always behaved here. We’re a community. Everyone on the bus. No one left behind.
This commitment to planning is reflected in the recent Infrastructure Planning Report undertaken by KPMG on behalf of the four Councils in our sub-region. The study identified the large state and GBE infrastructure needed over the next 10 years, including a much-needed State take-over and upgrade of the freight route between the Brighton Hub, Cambridge and the Hobart Airport.
This has become a State significant freight route and core to Tasmania’s economic network, fundamental to efficient industrial growth and export opportunity. A State Government take-over and upgrade would remove heavy vehicles from the city and could form an important part of the Hobart City Deal.
To help ensure all this growth is positive, Brighton Council has commissioned a community infrastructure audit and plan. That will help us understand what services and facilities our community will needs as we continue to grow, from GP clinics to childcare and age care facilities, recreational facilities, meeting spaces and business incubators. A draft of this will be released for public comment soon. A further sign that we are planning ahead and listening to our community.
As Brighton grows, the Council is also stepping up into a leadership role in our sub-region and across Greater Hobart, in a spirit of collaboration and partnerships with other Councils.
Brighton is a big picture, forward looking, proactive Council. A Council with a clear plan in our 2050 Vision. A Council that actively – and passionately – embraces its role as place maker, community builder, and investment attractor. We’re not sitting back. We’re leaning in.