Last week the Green Space Strategy for 4101 was recognised nationally at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. The Award for Communities went to local West End Landscape Architects John Mongard, Gavin Hardy, Alvin Kirby and Michelle Kirby-Brown who developed the strategy in conjunction with a number of other volunteer landscape architects and with the West End Community Association, Kurilpa Futures and Transition Kurilpa.
In commending the strategy, the judges acknowledged the team “…for their insight and leadership in working with local communities for over 20 years of sustained effort,” adding that “…it is an excellent model for local action and collaborative planning approaches that could be employed widely across Australia.”
Reflecting on the win, John Mongard said that now’s the time for Brisbane City Council and the State Government to add their support to the approaches detailed in the strategy. The new Brisbane City plan, he said, “provides the community with the opportunity to make open space more prominent in the development process.”
“… the greenspace strategy continues to organically grow, as it was envisaged, and there are now community-led actions occurring around strategies for The Gullies, a Hardgrave Road verge planting collaboration with the West End State School, Sussex Street parklets in collaboration with the West End Uniting Church and Tangara, and short term tactical urbanism and long term design inputs to Thomas Street [Bunyapa] Park,” Mr Mongard said.
Co-author, Gavin Hardy added, “I think we can use this occasion to remind the Council about best practice strategic planning in our rapidly changing 4101 area.”
Congratulations from Local Members
Deputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane, Jackie Trad passed on her best wishes to the team, saying:
“Congratulations to John, Gavin, Alvin and Michelle for receiving this prestigious award. I am aware of this strategy and appreciate the significant amount of community consultation that was undertaken through its preparation. It is vitally important that we get the balance right between development and ensuring we have the green space our community needs as our neighbourhood grows.”
Gabba Ward Councillor, Jonathan Sri, also added his congratulations.
“I’m really proud of the community and full congratulations to John and the team. Hopefully when Council sees how much community support there is for this project they will put some serious money towards it.”
Mr Sri said that he will continue to support the project and would love to see similar strategies in other parts of the Gabba Ward, including Wooloongabba and Kangaroo Point. “I appreciate that a number of people have donated their time, and it’s a pity Council does not fund people to do this work,” he said, “however, I am optimistic that things will change.”
The Green Space Strategy
The Green Space Strategy was outlined by John Mongard and team at a community workshop in Kurilpa Hall on Sunday 17th of July. The Strategy recognises that as housing density increases in West End, the likelihood that the peninsula will get new green space on the scale of Highgate Hill Park, or even the new Bunyapa Park, is decreasing. There is neither the space nor the funds for large new parks.
Rather than seeing this as a defeat, the Green Space Strategy proposes imaginative repurposing of road reserves and crown land.
Such approaches are not new to West End. In 1992 John Mongard and the West End Push (later West End Community Association) were instrumental in creating the Boundary Street Kiosk and the Lizard park site on the corner of Boundary and Russell Streets, when 100 square metres of the road was transformed into an urban park. For those of us new to West End, it’s hard to image that the Russell Street Parklet was once a service station.
“Imagine 50 of those [parklets] in our neighbourhood”, John Mongard urged participants in July, “we have done it, we did it beautifully, and it is a loved space.”
Sussex Street Parklets
A proposal to create two parklets, one adjacent to the Tangara Retirement Village, and the other in front of West End Uniting Church. West End has a lot of wide roads, like Sussex Street that, while still providing a carriageway for traffic, could have small sections excised to create pocket parks or parklets. See more on this project here.
Green Streets and Mobility
This project proposes working with the West End State School teachers, parents and students to create safe crossing areas, bus stop and rest stop niches, footpath and vegetation improvements, and bikeways and infill avenue shade structures on Hardgrave Road, between Vulture and Jane Street.
Biodiversity and Waterways
This “Gullies project” is up and running and already developing models for promoting biodiversity, access and community involvement.
For further information and updates on these projects see the Kurilpa Futures website