Your letters this week cover the sad loss of Cleveland’s heart, the Toondah Harbour PDA sleight of hand, a reluctant resident’s move out of our city because of over development and the Mayor’s role in ensuring the Redlands hasn’t enough sporting fields and green space.
Keep those letters coming.
Has Cleveland lost its heart?
The ‘revitalisation’ of the much loved Bloomfield Street Park is an example of cleansed public space with little regard for users but every regard for commercialism.
In its time this civic park was a valued space for children’s adventurous play, a comfortable place for busy shoppers and lunchtime Council and Cleveland workers to rest a while – and a destination for visitors who could see something of Cleveland’s history in the artworks.
It was the product of thorough consultation with children about how they liked to play and advice from specialist consultants. This process and product won awards at the highest level. Prime Minister Keating said it was a benchmark in community art, environment and design.
So what have we got in its place?
– unimaginative landscape design with a play element that prescribes play, rather than allowing children’s imagination to create relevance. It sits as a stereotyped elements which barely acknowledges and respects the diversity of children’s play. The capable artist David Renn should have been given free reign to design this instead of what has resulted.
– limited seating and placed so that larger crowds can occupy the space (as in the Sunday Market commercialism). Where is the seating for busy mums to watch their children and seating with back support for the tired?
– removal of significant trees which offered cool spaces on hot summer days, and attracted birds and the poincianas (a Redlands cultural marker) which heralded the change of seasons. The artificial turf and shade cover is certainly robust but adds little to a park experience. This will be a scorching place at the height of our summer. And where’s the drink bubbler?
This is the geography of nowhere and doesn’t belong.
I was told by Council’s Landscape Architect that one of the reasons that the park had to be ‘redesigned, was that the original play element had to be removed based on a structural engineer’s report that it was ‘cracked’.
As one of the original design team for the playground I was faced with this, when it cracked in transport. Specialist advice then said that because of the material and process used it would survive children’s play. It was made from ciment fondue over a structural reinforced frame much the way a ship is built.
This comes at a time almost six months out from Local Government elections. Cynics might say this “park” is seen as value adding by our elected representatives. How that eventuates is yet to be seen.
But the biggest losers are the many children and parents who have grown to love the playground and returned time after time. They deserve better.
Shame Karen shame.
Landscape Architect & Urban Designer
You may remember the cartoon of a young boy asking for a swing to be made with a car tyre: one hanging on a rope from a tree branch. The picture with the caption “what the boy wanted” was simply that – tyre, rope and tree.
Subsequent frames show “improvements” under titles such as: “what the engineers designed”; “what the safety experts recommended” and finally, “what the Council approved”.
The “approved” design was a completely unusable, bureaucratic monstrosity which, in the final drawing, left the boy saddened and perplexed.
The PDA for Toondah Harbour is our Council approved tyre swing.
Nearly two years ago citizens were invited by Redland Council to discuss possible improvements at Toondah Harbour. At the end of the day participants readily agreed that the Toondah water transport facility needed upgrading.
Discussion focussed on better parking for those travelling to and from Straddie, ease of access to the ferries and water taxis and upgrading of amenities such as the cafe.
Now glance at the next frame. This modest proposal became the Toondah Harbour PDA – and its monstrosity ‘mate’, the Weinam Creek PDA.
The title of both proposals is entirely misleading. Neither Toondah nor Weinam is the focus. The two PDA’s are now massive residential developments in which Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek improvements are mere sideshows.
In both instances the Redland Council and former LNP governments have taken the boy’s car tyre and run off. The highrise apartments, the devastating dredging of Moreton Bay for marinas, the sacrifice of public parks and open space is a grotesque distortion of the modest improvements to island transit facilities that were desired.
Frustratingly, the new Labor government seems unwilling to call for a pause to hold a proper investigation into the need for and impact of these incredible intrusions into our bayside community.
As the saga drags on, it is clear that the “P” in PDA is not for priority – it is patently for profit. Profit that will go to private operators, not to island residents nor to mainland ratepayers.
Additionally, the “P” is for payment – the permanent burden of on-going costs for maintaining crowded roads, overburdened sewerage systems and the social and economic problems that such overwhelming developments will dump on present day citizens and generations of the future.
Like the little boy, we are all left saddened and perplexed.
Dr. Brian Whitelaw
Criminal overdevelopment forces resident to leave
Thank you for your regular Redlands news.
I am a long term Redlands resident who had planned for some years to remain here in my retirement and enjoy all that the area and the bay had to offer. Sadly, living in the Redland is no longer a pleasure. Thanks to Mayor Williams and others, the area has been criminally overdeveloped and effectively ruined and we have, reluctantly, chosen to relocate elsewhere.
It would be nice to think that there will be more sense and less greed in council planning meetings in the future but I doubt it – and, at least in the Redlands case, I fear it would be way too late.
Mayor’s decision causes lack of sports land and open space
Interesting that the penny appears to have finally dropped with Mayor Williams about the woeful lack of sporting land and shortfall of open space in the city.
She has had a convenient loss of memory about a well-researched solution that has been on the Council books for years.
Where was she in about 2007 when Council staff detailed a report highlighting these shortfalls?
Open space planning consultants were engaged and interviewed each councillor – including Mayor Williams and Cr Beard. Each councillor provided input about their divisional sporting groups and present and future needs. Council has also run many sports forums, which I assume Mayor Williams made an effort to attend.
The consultants, after meeting with ALL Councillors, and staff identified land in the central part of the city – land that was zoned “rural non urban” with easy access for everyone from Thorneside to Redland Bay.
Sadly, one of the first meetings under Mayor Williams’ administration dropped the whole project planned for this land. Strangely her administration has since approved that same land for housing development – yet the land is zoned ‘rural non urban’.
This proposed area was the perfect location for sporting facilities with large dams suitable for water collection and field irrigation. The land had both flat areas and other parts sloping – perfect for audience benching, similar to the Touch Footie fields at Whites Hill.
It was intended that Council would pay fair market price for the land and construct the work in stages.
I would hate to think that the property owners in this area were waiting for the planning scheme to change the land to “residential” to give them the golden egg of development.
What a missed opportunity for the community! Under the Williams’ administration, the community is down two goals to nil – and well behind on the score board.
Toni Bowler – Sheldon