Devine Homes sub-contractors constructing a home
at Mountview Estate, Redbank Plains.
IPSWICH City Council is hoping to avoid growing pains after predictions the city's population could top half a million in 20 years.
The latest Treasury growth figures show Ipswich is expected to have by far the fastest growth in households in any Queensland local government area, with 224 per cent.
The next-highest-predicted growth is for Townsville with 79 per cent to 2031 while Brisbane's figure is just 29 per cent.
The "high series" population projection put the figure at 532,581 and even medium-level prediction says 434,788.
That far outstrips the council planning and development figures and some are questioning where all of the people will go.
The council has said it could see the population of tiny rural communities such as Lanefield and Grandchester mushroom.
The council is confident it is prepared for the boom although Mayor Paul Pisasale concedes it is a challenge for the whole city.
"This shows that all our hard work is paying off and there is a very bright future for the Ipswich community," Cr Pisasale said.
"We still have a lot of work to do to cater for this growth and I'm looking forward to working with you all so that Ipswich can prosper and take advantage of all the benefits this growth will bring our community and businesses."
Council Planning and Development Committee chairman Paul Tully said Ipswich was "well-positioned to handle the growth".
"They talk about growth in the western corridor but the main growth areas are on the southern section around Springfield and the Ripley Valley," he said.
"Springfield is a master-planned community and the State Government is talking about 2015-2016 for a train line.
"The Ripley Valley has had workshops, designs and planning. "Overall, we're well-placed for transport."
He said once Ipswich and Moreton councils amalgamated in 1999 councillors knew they had to plan. "It's not as if the growth is a shock to us," Cr Tully said.
"We've been planning. I don't think there would be many councils that could handle that sort of growth.
"We've made plans for road and networks and sewage and water infrastructure."
He said the population of Ipswich was about 170,000 and his prediction for 2031 was in the 300,000 to 350,000 range.
"But that could change in the next five years," he added. "In Bellbird Park and Redbank Plains we're predicting 40,000 more households."
State MP Jo-Ann Miller, whose electorate covers those suburbs and Springfield, warned against growth causing overcrowding.
"I'm worried people will be crowded on top of each other," Mrs Miller said.
"In Springfield, for example, older people prefer to live in smaller cottages but young families don't want to be crammed in with other people."
She said town planning would become more crucial with people's lifestyles at stake.
"A lot of people are telling me they want a decent sized backyard," she said.
"There are too few parks and they want the lifestyle they were brought up with, when they were able to kick a football or play cricket."
Rural Councillor David Pahlke warned not enough was being done for current growth let alone expansion decades away.
"This current council is struggling to deliver infrastructure with the budget we've got. There's still people driving on gravel roads," Cr Pahlke said.
"There's infrastructure that is just starting or hasn't been started yet that should be done now.
"They say we can take growth but, unless you throw money at it, right now we're going to be poorly placed for that growth and I don't see the State Government throwing money at it. I say, show us the money."