POPULATION BOOM: Gladstone to home 100k in 18 years
INNER city living could give Gladstone's CBD the strength it needs to cater for a population of more than 100,000.
The latest population predictions have tipped the Gladstone region to home 44,662 more people in 2036, increasing the total number of residents to 106,302.
The estimated residential population for the Gladstone region in 2016 was 61,640 per the 2016 census data.
An experienced town planner said to attract and keep the thousands of newcomers, Gladstone CBD would need to be more vibrant and have more retailers.
Zone Planning Group director Stephen Enders said more permanent residents living in the units in Gladstone's city centre would help achieve that.
"My view is the town centre is a little bit disjointed, there's no key shopping precinct," he said.
"We need more retailers, more shops and more variety... That in itself would create a larger centre with a community focus.
"I don't think (living in the CBD) is something Gladstone people relate to, it's more the tourist market and short term accommodation workers who seem to be occupying the CBD units."
Mr Enders, who has 25 years of town planning experience in government and private sectors, said Gladstone had enough zoned land to cater for the more than 40 per cent growth in population.
"There's not going to be pressure on lack of land and hopefully that will keep the prices affordable and we won't experience what happened within the LNG boom."
Mr Enders, who has been involved in the development of Kirkwood Shopping Centre and parts of Riverstone Rise, said growth would be dependent on the health of Gladstone's industry, primarily the port.
He said social and commercial infrastructure would need a major upgrade in Gladstone, and outer lying townships would need its own services.
"At the moment Gladstone largely services the whole region, but as the smaller townships grow like Agnes Water and Tannum Sands, they will need more health services," he said. "All of our community infrastructure would need to be upgraded, the hospital, the parks, aged care facilities, we would need a lot of additional resources."
Last year the council's Local Government Infrastructure Plan estimated Boyne Island, Tannum Sands and Benaraby would have the fastest growing populations between now and 2031.
As of 2016 the three regions had a population of 7,405, but by 2031 the council expects this will more than double to 16,491. Gladstone hinterland's population, which includes Calliope was expected to increase from 7,642 in 2016 to 12,033 in 2031.