Not everyone wanted to talk, but a surprising number of shoppers and sightseers in South Brisbane’s Fish Lane and West Village in West End were happy to offer their view of the Lord Mayor’s plan to allow developers to build up to 90 storeys in South Brisbane. Those who weren’t against the plan were ambivalent at best. One man said it was inevitable; another said it would be okay if the buildings didn’t block views or negatively impact others, and one supported going high. But most were against it.

What people said.

“I just think with all the floods we’ve had and the increase in population, we need to think about how we then find the resources for everyone who already lives here and for the people who will probably move in into the area,” Sue said.

“And I disagree with the 90 stories – we haven’t got the infrastructure. The car parking would be a big problem, and the traffic and the population growth around this area would just be enormous,” Sue’s friend Julie said.

Margaret said she lives in Scarborough, but her son has lived in West End for a long time.

“I love seeing the mix of cultures and all the lovely old things.”

“And I work in real estate, and I know what happens when a high-rise goes in. And I know about the intensity of the population in a small area, and the effect that it has on the area. West End has always had a very special sort of atmosphere and culture and I think it’d be a shame to see that lost.”

“I think the more we expand the more we will look like Melbourne and Sydney whereas Brisbane has a different way about it. And I think that’s a good thing,” Ella.

“I think it’s really going to impact the community here because there is more of a sense of community in West End. And we don’t have the infrastructure and the roads to deal with that type of capacity. There’s going to be a huge impact.”

Mary said we don’t need more development.

“We don’t really need any more high rises in this area, because it’s becoming extremely difficult to find a park anywhere for visitors and too many buildings, and the ends got to come.”

Amy said she has friends who live in the 90 storey Sky Tower in Margaret Street and she finds riding in the lift a scary experience. When asked what they say about living there, she said, “Don’t do it, don’t live there.”

Chloe said she would not advocate for extra height in the area, and thinks the community found a good compromise between open space and height at West Village.

“I think we’ve benefited from the Village in a way that has helped both sides, the developers, and a community, and I feel going above that would jeopardize that space. It is a village rather than a city. Across the river is more city I think.”

Mary was one of several people who raised traffic as a concern.

“And I don’t think we have the space for that sort of traffic. Car wise and people wise. It’s just too overwhelming already. We have so many high rises even if they’re 20 storeys. 90 stories is stupid really. Not what we want in this tiny little village.”

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to be honest. There’s not the infrastructure here to cope with such an influx of people,” said Barry.

Barry’s partner Emma agreed.

“I agree with what Barry’s just said, the infrastructure has got to be created before you start putting in buildings where people basically haven’t got schools to go to, more buses and the transport to get to work. So yeah, it would be a bit silly to do that the other way around.”


Cover image, the view from South Brisbane July 2023 looking south towards West End, other images, Kurilpa Futures pop-up in Merivale Street. All images by Jan Bowman