Imagine receiving a letter from Council telling you that your home is located on land earmarked for a new park.

In the first week of August, eleven homeowners of character homes and town-houses in Rogers, Ida and Raven Streets in West End and residents in Gloucester Street in South Brisbane were distressed when they received letters from Council about “proposed changes” to park “acquisitions and embellishments” in Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP).

Residents were desperate to get clarification about the intent of the letters and feared their properties are flagged for resumption by 2026 to make way for a new park.

The critical questions about the status of the park [Item WES-A1-002 in the LGIP] were:

  • whether the park identified for the area is indicative or confirmed in Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP);
  • whether Council could or would resume homes to make way for the park; and
  • whether Council has plans to complete the park by 2026 as indicated in its initial letter to residents.

What Council Says


Council has indicated that the answer to each of these questions is No: the park is not confirmed, rather it is indicative or proposed; homes will not be resumed to make way for a park; and there is no confirmed time frame for achieving a park.


“We will certainly not be resuming residential homes for parks when there is a shortage of housing. Any suggestion that this is what is proposed is incorrect,” a Council spokesperson told the Westender.


Council admitted their letter was “ambiguous” and subsequently wrote a second letter to reassure homeowners that there are no plans to resume their homes for new parks.


“Residents have until 14 September 2023 to provide feedback, and this will likely result in changes to the plan,” a Council spokesperson told the Westender.


14,995 letters were sent to property owners across Brisbane concerning draft changes to the Local Government Infrastructure Plan and Long-Term Infrastructure Plan. 875 of them concerned parks.

Deputy Mayor’s Apology


Residents were sent a letter of apology on 13 August, ten days after the first letter was sent, and Deputy Mayor Krista Adams apologised to residents on ABC radio last week. 


Cr Adams advised listeners that the park in West End is indicative only and that there will be no resumptions of properties. 


“There is no confirmed plan to turn any land into parkland. What we have at the moment is a process of planning for the future with some indicative park areas in places that are lacking in the required level of service. And we’re going out to consultation and part of that consultation is very clearly to let residents know that their properties have been indicated as somewhere that may be possible for park in the future if the site became available – because I’ll say it again and I said it to you on Friday morning: we do not resume for parklands.”


Cr Adams said that if residents in an area identified for a park wish to sell their properties at any time, they will be offered full market value by Council. However, she stressed Council is providing an opportunity for consultation for all residents.


Apology not the end of the matter

However, the apology and reassurances have not ended the matter for Ida, Rogers, and Drakes Streets residents. They remain concerned that they have received contradictory advice and that their properties are confirmed for a new park. They also questioned how and why the area was identified for parkland in Council’s infrastructure plans, particularly given that Orleigh Park is within easy walking distance of their streets.

At a street meeting of residents held on Wednesday last week, one of the affected residents, Heather, said she was stressed and confused.


“I am still confused about the process. I called Council on Wednesday last week; it is now Wednesday of the following week and I’ve still not had a return phone call from Council. “


Heather said she finds the Council’s website incredibly difficult to navigate. 


“I’m very grateful for my neighbours who are amazing and have been able to devote lots of time to trawling the website to find the relevant information, but very, very stressed and really concerned not just about losing my house but also about what this does to the community.”


Another resident, Dr. Felicity Meakin, received Council’s letter and subsequent apology but said she was still in doubt.


“I guess if the Council didn’t have an intention to resume our homes, our question is why is there still a submission process? If there is not going to be compulsory resumptions, then how do they imagine that they’re going to be able to complete this project by 2026?”


“We have spoken to Christa Adams on the radio, but we haven’t yet had a face-to-face meeting, and we’re not satisfied with her response.

“Currently, our houses have red marks over them, and we don’t want for those red marks to be shifted from our houses to other people’s houses.”


In her response to questions from the Westender this week, Cr Adams confirmed her earlier advice to ABC listeners, saying:


“Council does not resume homes for parkland. This is a draft only (Item WES-A1-002 is a draft item). Residents are encouraged to be part of the consultation process which may result in changes to the plan.”


Residents told the Westender that once a park is confirmed and no longer indicative, Council “has the power” to purchase their homes. We asked Cr Adams if this is the case:


“Council does not resume homes for parks. Any suggestion otherwise is false. At times, Council purchases properties for parks on the open market when they are put up for sale. This has happened just 31 times over the last seven years. If a home is not sold, the property does not become parkland,” Cr Adams said.


As to why residents need to go through a submission process, Cr Adams said the State Government legislation dictates that Councils can only make changes to the plan in response to formal submissions. 


“Community consultation has been extended two weeks to 14 September 2023. Residents are encouraged to have their say.”

Failed approach to consultation


Councillor Trina Massey, who attended the residents’ street meeting last week, told the Westender that Council’s letter was a demonstration of Council’s failed approach to community consultation and a failing LNP administration, noting no Councillors, not even those in LNP wards, had been informed by Council that it was sending the letters.


“Council is now chasing its tail,” Cr Massey said.


Pocket Parks


Residents supported the idea presented at the meeting by landscape architect Alvin Kirby, a co-author of the award-winning Kurilpa Greenspace Strategy, that the Council needs to shift its planning approach to include pocket parks by using available road reserves, government land and by purchasing vacant land when available. 


Cr Massey said she and former Councillor Jonathan Sriranganathan have had a long-standing practice of suggesting to Council purchases of properties when they come onto the market.


“Most recently I wrote to the Chair of the Park Committee, Counsellor Davies about purchasing 24 to 26 Archibald Street which is the property that burned down recently in West End.”


“The specified 0.5 hectares of green space in the area could be distributed across multiple pocket parks. Bunyapa Park at only 0.1 hectare is incredibly successful,” Cr Massey said.


“Residents in this area believe that green space is important, but they don’t want to displace anyone else for it.”


Mr Kirby said the Greenspace Strategy proposes that Council could reclaim at least 11 hectares of unused public spaces to create the public realm that the community needs. 


The Result of Poor Planning


Residents say the issues they are experiencing now are a direct result of Council’s failure to provide adequate green space in the new high-rise developments west of Montague Road. 


Andrew, who lives in Rogers Street, said he accepts that there is a requirement for Council to address the challenge of population growth, saying West End has taken more than its fair share of growth across the city. 


“My concern primarily is that there hasn’t been the commensurate investment in the delivery of infrastructure to support that growth. All the parkland pretty much was already here before that growth commenced. …. In terms of this specific park issue, my concern is that it’s just poor planning. There have been opportunities to get better outcomes for open space, and Council just hasn’t negotiated them through development approval processes when they had the opportunities.”


“And there are better local park outcomes than what’s being proposed here.”


The meeting identified a range of options they think Council could consider for new parks without displacing people. 


Update from Councillor Massey

Following the meeting, Cr Massey took residents’ concerns and questions to a meeting with senior Council staff, asking them to clarify the park’s current status in the LGIP.  Council officials confirmed with Cr Massey that there will be no compulsory resumption of homes to make way for new parks in four streets in West End and South Brisbane. 

“Council’s model is to purchase properties when they come to the market, then Brisbane City Council will try to purchase if there is a specified park in that area. “

“They were very clear, and I pushed back multiple times, that there will be no change to that practice,” Cr Massey said

Cr Massey also confirmed that while the area around Ida Street had been earmarked for a park in the Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) since 2011, there is no allocation of funds for a potential park, and there are no plans to complete a park there by 2026.

Council officials also told Cr Massey that if residents should ever choose to sell their homes, they would not be required to sell to Council.

However, residents have told The Westender that they will not be satisfied until the indicative park is removed from the LGIP entirely.

Residents say that having homes earmarked for parkland in this way can result in a slow decline in the area. They argue that once one owner sells to Council, other potential buyers will be reluctant to buy any of the remaining homes, making Council the only potential purchaser. 

“It is resumption by stealth,” one resident said.

Next Steps

Cr Massey said anyone concerned about the location of the indicative park in Ida, Rogers, and Ravens Streets, and the park in Gloucester Street, should make a submission by 14 September. 

“I will be making my own submission and I will make that available publicly. I will be specifically pointing to other potential solutions for this challenge of lack of greenspace in the area.”

Residents want to see Council take up ideas presented in the Kurilpa Greenspace strategy for new parks and continue their campaign by letter boxing to encourage people to use their template submission letter to provide feedback to Council. Their submission template can be found here.

A factsheet on providing feedback to Council can be found here.


Rally and  Community Meeting

In an escalation of their campaign, residents and Labor Party candidate for The Gabba, Bec Mac (Rebecca McIntosh), are holding a rally in King George Square on Saturday 26 August at 1:00 p.m.

Cr Massey is planning a community briefing to discuss this issue and the long-term transportation infrastructure plan at Jagera Hall on Sunday, 3 September, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.