ARCHIVE OF A COMMUNITY DAY OF ACTION
Approximately 300 supporters of sustainable development from West End and more distant suburbs such as Calamvale, New Farm, Paddington, Spring Hill, St Lucia and Toowong, united in West End last Sunday 2nd of August in a day of action for better development.
The Kurilpa Futures Campaign Group (KFCG) and West End Community Association (WECA) led a march as part of the day to celebrate the Brisbane City Council’s recent move to consult the community on its expectations and to rethink planning decisions on the peninsula. It was followed by a Welcome to Country in the afternoon, and an evening candle-light vigil.
Pam Bourke of the KFCG warmed up the assembling marchers saying that their walk would take them between two mega developments, which she referred to as ‘the Twin Peaks’.
The two sites of concern are the Pradella development on the former School of Distance Education site at corner of Montague and Ferry Roads which is to have 1070 units built and 1491 car park; and the Absoe (West Village) development on the former Peters Ice Cream factory near the intersection of Boundary and Mollison Streets which propose 1350 units and between 1800 to 1900 car parks.
Ms Bourke said the basic message of the day was:
“If you can’t manage the impacts of development and you can’t provide the infrastructure, schools, open space and affordable housing to support the increased population, then you have to lower the density.”
Ms Bourke said that the organisers will be coordinating a number of community actions in the lead up to the Council elections in 2016, “…to tell our local representatives that we want a new South Brisbane neighbourhood plan that doesn’t wreck our community.”
To chants of “what do we want: better planning” the marchers moved off from the former Distance Education site, gathering people along the way, and surprising brunching café patrons down Boundary Street as it converged on the corner of Mollison Street for a rally and speeches.
— Jan Bowman (@JanB_QLD) August 2, 2015
RALLY AND SPEECHES
A rally on the corner of Boundary and Mollison Streets was addressed by WECA President, Dr Erin Evans, retiring Councillor for The Gabba Ward, Helen Abrahams, Greens spokesperson Jonathan Sri, Jo Bragg from the Environmental Defenders Office, and Associate Professor Phil Heywood from the KFCG. Former Mayor Tim Quinn chaired the rally. Links to their speeches are below.
Citing the independent report into the Cedar Woods development by planning expert Greg Ovenden, Cr Helen Abrahams said that residents have been ‘frozen out’ of planning processes and that this has been a pattern across the city.
“The city cramming of the LNP administration will be the number one issue in the election in 2016,” Cr Abrahams said.
Dr Evans stressed that the people of West End are not against development but said that development should respect the local area plan. She welcomed the intervention of Brisbane City Council which has asked the Absoe site developers to rethink proposed building heights. She also welcomed the comments of Cr Cooper, who said that the community has expectations about what is appropriate for their area.
“Public space is vital for the area to uphold our quality of life”, Dr Evans said.
Both Cr Abrahams and Dr Evans thanked representatives from other Brisbane residents’ groups for supporting the rally. Dr Evans passed on apologies from resident groups in The Gap and Woolloongabba.
Dr Evans said the residents of Brisbane are uniting.
“We will not stop speaking about the need to have appropriate development,” Dr Evans said.
Greens spokesperson Jonathan Sri said that,“Council and State Government should work to replicate what makes West End great, across the city”.
“We all understand that urban sprawl is deeply problematic but a sustainable Brisbane doesn’t have to mean skyscrapers from Milton to Dutton Park,” Mr Sri added.
Mr Sri said that property developers are using political donations to influence politicians and he called on the major parties to join The Greens in refusing donations from for-profit companies.
Associate Professor Phil Heywood of the KFCG said that “…the best cities are progressive combinations of past, present and future”, adding that planning should be values based rather than clearing the way “to obliterate the old… to make way for maximum short-term profits”.
The South Brisbane Riverside neighbourhood plan needs to be replaced with a new plan, Associate Professor Heywood said, in a process that could involve a collaborative process between local people, community groups, and the three tiers of government.
To cheers the assembled crowd supported resolutions demanding the Lord Mayor and Brisbane City Council:
- maintain the provisions of the current neighbourhood plan;
- guarantee a review of the current 2010 South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan and replace it with a new neighbourhood and community plan that reduces the proposed density of development to sustainable levels; and
- base the reviewed plan on systematic consultation with the local community through open collaboration with community groups.
A full report of the day and the resolutions can be found on the KFCG website, or you can hear them below.
The event attracted media attention from Channels 7 and 9, and from the Brisbane Times.
Click here for the 7 News Report.
— Alison Ariotti (@AlisonAriotti) August 2, 2015
— Kim Skubris (@Kim_Skubris7) August 2, 2015
— Environmental Defenders Office – Brisbane (@EDOQldLaw) August 3, 2015
NEW PARK AND WELCOME TO COUNTRY
In the afternoon, WECA invited residents to celebrate the announcement of the new park on the corner of Thomas and Vulture Streets with a welcome to Jaggara Country hosted by local elder Aunty Mulinjarlie. Darren Godwell of WECA launched the event.