Cleveland’s Linear Park and nearby Cortes Canal Park are threatened by plans for development of a memorial path and wall which would reduce open space and visual amenity.
The proposed plans are not consistent with the designation for these areas which is: “Reserve For Park”.
The Cleveland Open Space Action Group – COSAG speaks on behalf of residents in the Cleveland area who are concerned about inappropriate development in community parkland.
COSAG has raised two petitions:
- a hard copy petition that has already been signed by more than 680 people, and
- a change.org electronic petition called: Save Linear Park
Who wants a new memorial?
Why are Mayor Karen Williams and Federal M.P. Andrew Laming persisting with plans to build a new ANZAC memorial in Cleveland’s Linear Park?
Cleveland already has a fine cenotaph erected in 1919. There is no public demand for a new memorial structure. What our community needs are intelligent plans to cater for the increasing crowds who attend the two services held each ANZAC day.
The population density around Linear Park is increasing as more and more multi-storey unit blocks are developed. People living here value the nearby open space parkland. They do not want a hard grey structure built in a place that should be soft green.
The ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Scheme
When the the Gillard Government introduced the ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Scheme in February 2013 it announced that grants would: “enable and empower communities across Australia to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac in their own way”. This message was repeated when Labor’s Minister for Minister for Defense Science and Personnel told Parliament on 16 May 2013 that: “Community participation will be the main way we ensure the Anzac legacy is passed to the next generation“.
The current Grant Program Guidelines state that: “The input of the local community is a key priority of this Program”.
Grants have already been approved for projects in more than a third of the 30 Federal electorates in Queensland. Just a few examples are:
- To develop, publicise and deliver the performance, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ at the Mousetrap Theatre (Petrie, $4,735)
- Production and launch of book, researched and prepared by year 9 students from local schools, compiling biographies on local service men and women who served in the First World War (Wide Bay, $4,782)
- Construct a new First World War Memorial archway at Anzac Park, Cooktown (Leichhardt, $34,084)
- Plant an Avenue of Honour in Samford to commemorate servicemen and women from the district who served in the First World War (Dickson, $34,000)
Whats happening in the Redlands?
Federal M.P. Andrew Laming said in March 2013 (soon after the Local Grants scheme was announced) that he would soon invite representatives from local groups to participate in a Redlands Anzac Centenary Community Grants Committee to provide advice and recommendations on applications made by the local community. But according to the local RSL Bugle: “This committee never met, instead being passed to a committee chaired by Mayor Karen Williams.”
Council encourages RSL to build a new memorial
At its General Meeting on 12 February 2014 in item 13.3.1 the Redland City Council was told that The Redlands RSL and National Servicemen Association of Australia – Queensland (NSAAQ) joint committee proposed construction of a new memorial precinct in a large area of Linear Park.
One of the key risks advised in the report to Councillors was: “Following community consultation – surrounding community members reject design proposal.”
The Bayside Bulletin subsequently reported on the RSL’s plans for a new memorial to be built in Linear Park which was described by Redlands RSL president Alan Harcourt as “vacant” land. Mayor Williams was quoted as saying that the proposal was “a whole of community approach” but no evidence was provided by her to support this statement.
The Bulletin reported on 1 May 2014 that the RSL’s proposed design for a new memorial in Linear Park featured a 60 metre long brick wall.
COSAG is formed
Local residents were outraged by the RSL’s plans to turn Linear Park into a second memorial area. They immediately formed the Cleveland Open Space Action Group (COSAG) and commenced raising a petition against any such development in Linear Park.
COSAG’s Louise Callaghan told the Bayside Bulletin that Linear Park is “state land held in trust by council for public use and as emergency access for canal repairs under council’s Open Space Strategy 2026”.
The RSL’s Linear Park proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Redland City Council on 16 July. By this time COSAG’s petition to Council had attracted more than 600 signatures from people all over Redland City.
Council takes over the project
Council decided to take over management of the project. A commitment was made by Council to consult with the community before proceeding with any proposal.
It is understood that the RSL was asked to consider plans for upgrading its current ANZAC memorial area instead of constructing a new memorial in Linear Park. It seems while this idea received some support from within the RSL, it was not supported by the Mayor and Andrew Laming. Perhaps they think that opening a new memorial will give them a better photo opportunity.
Council has now released its design for a new ANZAC memorial in Linear Park. It is slightly smaller than the version put forward by the RSL in April and the location is a little closer to the main road. Local residents are still unhappy and would prefer that any memorial structures be confined to the current ANZAC Memorial Park.
For more information about this issue including the importance of the existing ANZAC Memorial Park read Jackie Cooper’s post What does the ANZAC Centenary mean for Redland City?
Redland City Council is seeking comments about its proposal for construction of an ANZAC centenary memorial in Linear Park. The consultation period ends on 27 October 2014.