Q&A comes to the Redlands

We still have a situation in the Redlands where builders who haven’t made contributions to unprincipled councillors’ campaigns, can lose out to those who have

And those who have get spectacular returns on their investment

Making such contributions may not be illegal … but is it right?

We made some videos and wrote a website because we felt strongly about it here: www.balance.org.au

We have to look back over the last four years and ask 10 questions about the decisions that have been made by Council to find out where our concerns lay

1. Let’s first ask about the cumulative impacts of various changes embedded in the Draft City Plan 2015. These include increased density, reduced minimum lot sizes, reduce minimum lot frontages and increased site coverage.

Answer: These changes have been made to optimize lot-size profit and are purely the initiative of Council; they are not directives of the State. Nor are they in the communities interest.

2. The Toondah ferry terminal needed upgrading – but the community has asked why the recommendations of a 2 day workshop in March 2014 were ignored. This team of highly qualified planning and marine experts suggested that the harbor should be relocated to the western side of Cleveland Point, a plan that would overcome all environmental issues and preserve bay vistas and beautiful waterside parkland.

Answer: This 60 hectare land reclamation from the bay was scaled up to provide 3,600 units and thus had real estate development as its prime purpose.

3. What about the wisdom of the other project of similar scale – Shoreline – that is proposed near the southern boundary of the Redlands?

Answer: This development is so far from the main urban area, that at least the first 200 lots being developed will have their sewage tanked out by truck to treatment plants elsewhere. The site for a sewerage treatment plant and its design has still to be determined for it and for the reticulation of waste water. A council decision that approves a housing estate for up to 10,000 people without these vital facilities boarders on the insane.

4. Questions are being asked about the large increase in traffic from these two developments, and how this will impact on the already congested roads of the Redlands. Also how the planned Toondah harbour-side shops and restaurants will drag business away from a dying Cleveland Town Centre.

Answer: It appears that Redland Council’s default position with all development proposals has been to uncritically fast-track commercial outcomes above community and environmental imperatives. A case of speed and greed over common sense and proper enquiry.

5. What does the science say about the need for these developments?

Answer: In February 2016, the State Government Planning Information and Forecasting Unit, revised their population projections for SE Qld. Redlands figures have been reduced by 18,000. Yet Toondah and Shoreline totals alone are estimated at 20,000 residents and these developments were not included in these State forecasts.

6. What effect will this gross over-development have on the Redlands?

Answer: Traffic and liveability are a major concern. Also local builders are understandably worried that it will suck the lifeblood out of the locally based building industry. Particularly that the developer for Toondah harbour is Walkers, a NSW based company.

7. What is the essence of sound Council development and planning approvals?

Answer: It should strike a balance between development, community needs and environmental issues.

8. Which decisions of the 3 levels of government –  Council, State or Federal level – have the greatest affect on the liveability of the Redlands?

Answer: It’s choices made at the council level that affect our way of life more than any other. And there are many issues crying out for attention. Moreover, the most divisive issues are planning decisions, which use up precious time and money: the Toondah proposal alone has cost almost $1 million to date. This diversion of resources starves the Redlands of funds for social infrastructure.

9. What are the other determinants of a good council?

Answer: A good council is one with ideas; it listens to the community and looks around and optimizes opportunities from the areas natural assets. Proposals that enhance its amenities, conserves its cultural, historical and natural features, create business opportunities and provide employment. Throughout the last 4 years, we’ve seen a council bereft of civic enhancing ideas.

10. Who is more likely to provide an informed and impartial decision regarding a development approval? Someone who refuses to accept donations to support their campaign or a person who takes a huge coffer of donated developer’s money?

Answer: You don’t need to be a psychologist to know that gifts create obligations …and donations distort electors’ choice

Let’s ensure that our Councillors act in the community interest when considering development applications and that they listen to the community and follow up on ideas that will enhance the Redlands.

Graham Carter