Councillors comment on making a new City Plan

Neighbours

The Draft City Plan 2015 promised increasing residential density in the Redlands

Community reactions to the Draft Redlands City Plan 2015 are clear and consistent. With 6,400 submissions Redlands’ response was ten times greater than that of the Gold Coast City (on a per capita basis).

Community concerns included risks to lifestyle, livability and quality of life through traffic congestion, small lot development, medium and high rise development, loss of habitat and loss of parks and other open space.

The outcome was a vote of “NO CONFIDENCE!” in the Draft City Plan, a view reiterated in the 2016 local government elections when the Williams team failed to get a majority.

After the elections, in late August, Redlands2030 wrote to each Divisional Councillor pointing out concerns (shared by a number of community organisations) about the foundations and construct of the draft Plan.

Today we look at what many local councillors have to say about the Draft City Plan.

City Plan questions put to all Councillors

Since mid 2014 Redlands2030 has expressed concerns about the Draft City Plan 2015. We remain concerned that the foundations of the Draft Plan are flawed.

It is understood more than 6 400 submissions were lodged in response to the draft City Plan 2015

More than 6,400 submissions were lodged in response to the Draft City Plan 2015

The template submission provided to the community by CARP raised the same problems and over 6,000 people iterated the same concerns.  Some voices in the community would dismiss these submissions as the voice of the noisy minority or the result of people being pressured or forced to make a submission.  These assertions are wrong and cheapen the views of the thousands of people who expressed their views this way.  A more realistic assessment is that the voice of the community represents an “inconvenient truth” and any councillor (or staff advisor) attempting to dismiss the voice of the community should put their concerns in the public arena.

The City Plan letter (from Redlands2030) was sent to all ten divisional Councillors on 29 August 2016, including nine key points as to why the City Plan is flawed :

  1. Population projections for SEQ and Redlands have slumped
  2. SEQ Koala Population Modelling Study confirms koalas are in trouble
  3. No regard of the Federal Government’s 30’ City agenda
  4. Ignores impacts of well-advanced developments at Shoreline, Toondah Harbour PDA and Weinam Creek PDA which is a naïve approach given critical impacts these developments will have on population, traffic, infrastructure and congestion as an extra 9 000-10 000 dwellings are in addition to the parameters given for the draft Plan.
  5. The reliance of old or outdated studies notably for Land Supply; Social Infrastructure; Transport etc are flawed foundations for the new City Plan
  6. The lack of an approved Heritage Strategy fails to meet community expectations of a new City Plan
  7. The lack of a plan for rural and peri-urban areas and the failure to adopt the Redland Rural Futures Strategy leaves the draft City Plan largely silent about the planning for more than half of the City.
  8. Alignment with the new SEQ Regional Plan is impossible given its revision is still underway by the State.
  9. Redlands is the only Local Government in the whole of SEQ that has not used Local Area Plans.

The letter to Councillors gave an undertaking that their response would be “faithfully” reproduced and published.  We believe the community has a right to know what Councillors are thinking and what they are doing to advance the draft City Plan including how they are responding to the flaws, dated foundation documents and the weight they (i.e. Councillors) put on the  community submissions.

What we know about City Plan consultation

Social media in Redlands is alive with questions about the progress of the draft Plan.

Response from the elected members of Council will appease some people while for others more questions will arise.  But at least arising from these responses might emerge a discussion about the future of the City.  Detailed and “informed” consultation in the preparation of the draft City Plan was limited to the Development Industry Reference Group (DIRG).  This was very much a top down planning process.

The vision for the City Plan is supposed to be linked to the Redlands2030 Community Plan where as there is a more obvious line of sight to the “Open for Business and Investment” mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs”; “putting Redlands on the map” and “open for business”.  

It is understood the City Plan is still being advanced through an extensive series of councillor workshops.  This is done in the form of “secret and confidential” policy meetings.  These meetings are closed to the community.  Such levels of secrecy were not applied during the development of the 2006 Redland Planning Scheme.

No explanation was given for the different approach this time around. Equally, no explanation has been presented for the “Fort Knox” treatment being given to the review of submissions, the process for the review or how the Council will reconcile the obvious hiatus between the Draft City Plan and the community response to it.

From the outside the program of Council workshops looks designed to keep everyone busy.  It is a challenging task, but one wonders how the “workshop” process can make progress when key aspects of the draft Plan remain at odds with community values and aspirations and do not deal with the issues.

One suggestion emanating from Council sources his that the draft plan can only be amended in response to submissions (in line with State Government guidelines) while that is accepted practice the actual guidelines provide for changes that “address new or changed planning circumstances or information”.  There are many aspects of City Plan2015 that are new or changed.

Given the pre-election commitments by many of the current Councillors to abandon the Draft City Plan their reasoning for pushing ahead with the review of submissions seems, reasonably, to be of public interest.

What councillors said

The responses to the questions posed by Redlands2030 are varied but the efforts of all who responded is appreciated.  Each response opened the door for more questions, but at this stage the community might like to suggest follow up issues.  The full response by all Councillors linked (blue) to the respective Councillor.

Cr Wendy Boglary

Division 1 –  Cr Wendy Boglary

Says (Redlands2030) your concerns and your feedback is greatly valued as a pro-active community group

 

 

Cr Peter Mitchell

Division 2 –  Cr Peter Mitchell

Says ‘Noted’

 

 

Cr Paul Golle

Division 3 – Cr Paul Golle

Says We (councillors) are working hard right now to get the job done, I have read the R2030 and will take on board your points with vigour.

 

 

Cr Lance Hewlett

Division 4 – Cr Lance Hewlett

Says the biggest issue (in my opinion) is the apparent subjectiveness of the current planning scheme document

 

 

Cr Mark Edwards

Division 5 –  Cr Mark Edwards

NO response

 

 

Cr Julie Talty

Division 6 –  Cr Julie Talty

NO response

 

 

Cr Murrary Elliot

Division 7 –  Cr Murrary Elliot

Says I believe we can achieve a good outcome for the community as we progress thru the submissions but I will consider all options while there is some control into the future…

 

 

Cr Tracey Huges

Division 8 – Cr Tracey Huges

Says please know that Councillors are working very long hours addressing the 6000+ submissions to ensure that all issues are discussed with rigor and that the process is very thorough

 

 

Cr Paul Gleeson

Division 9 –  Cr Paul Gleeson

NO response

 

 

Cr Paul Bishop

Division 10 –  Cr Paul Bishop

Says Redlands City Plan 2015 will be a significant policy for RCC to deliver and it will arguably be the most significant legacy of this (and previous) term.

 

Not all councillors replied

Seven of the Councillors responded to the Redlands2030 letter of 29 August 2016 but Division 2 Councillor Mitchell’s reply was very brief and uninformative.

Three councillors (Gleeson, Edwards and Talty) didn’t bother to respond.

Mayor Williams was not asked to comment because it was assumed that her position would (not unreasonably) reflect the “corporate” line which has been her ongoing position since well in advance of the public consultation period.

Next steps

Given the critical and fundamental changes being proposed under the guise of the Draft City Plan a broader conversation with community stakeholders is warranted.

Clearly the new City Plan is too important to leave to Council employees and elected Councillors. It would be entirely reasonable and appropriate for councillors to discuss the way forward, in public in council general meetings in front of the Redlands community. Other steps councillors could take could include:

  1. Establish a Community Reference Group to help sieve through the community concerns about the draft City Plan.
  2.  People in the divisions of those “silent” Councillors should seek comment from their representatives on the issues raised by Redlands2030.
  3.  An undertaking that, if the draft Plan is not abandoned, that further community consultation will be undertaken.

Redlands2030 – 21 October 2016

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

12 thoughts on “Councillors comment on making a new City Plan

  1. Maybe the Cleveland Councillor Peter Mitchel hasn’t had time to look at the city plan submissions because he’s the only Councillor singled out on Councils web site who’s ‘listening to business’.
    If he’s the only Councillor taking all the calls I imagine he’s running at full capacity with all engines fired to be able to make a direct and significant impact to resolve all the business problems.
    Talty and Gleeson are the two who walked out during the scheduled presentation by Lavinia Wood because it’s considered offensive or childish to put your hands over your ears when people talk. There’s probably a clue in there.
    Credit may be due to the Redland Bay Councillor because I think he’s been called in to help Mitchel with his work load. Some has to. Fixing the parking in Cleveland would cause some degree of anxiety without the pressure of fixing the City Plan. Maybe when the City Plan is fixed the other councillors will have time to listen to us businesses too.

  2. Sadly what once was a lovely area to live is soon to become a concrete Jungle . The roads are not coping with the influx of all the extra population and the council only seem to care about the big developers and what suits them. They allow extra houses to be built in backyards with no consultation or consideration of the neighbours. We have had a house built in the back yard next to us they built the land up by 1.1metres above what it was and now the people next door can walk around their house and we can see them from waist height up. We cannot extend our 1.8 metre fence for privacy as we have to pay for the permits etc as the council don’t care l bet if it was next to a councillors house it would be stopped.And the Redland Bay rd is impossible to get onto from Anita st now without the new sub divisions that council has allowed to go ahead even being built as yet. Once they go ahead it will be an accident waiting to happen. The council is getting richer with all the handouts that the developers put in to their pockets but the long term residents are the ones that are suffering and loosing their health and happiness due to the lack of consideration of the over population that is happening. Next elections will hopefully see the council got rid of as our Koalas and residents no longer need them. They will not respond as they need to check what they have to say and make sure that the developers are happy with their comments.

  3. I would love to read the Councillors’ comments but all I get is:
    Oops! That page can’t be found.

  4. Prior to Paul Gleeson being voted into council he had a voice..a strong one, for a short time, & we had in Capalaba, finally, a Capalaba Progress Association. Sadly, it died when Councillor? Gleeson forgot he was a well paid public servant representing issues of importance affecting his constituents, and instead became firmly attached to our pretty mayor’s apron strings to where he does not feel the need to return phone calls or be a willing listener to those needing answers to issues of importance. Cr Murray Elliott is to be commended for being there for his constituents at a table outside Woolies at Alex Hills shops every 2nd Saturday willing to listen to their concerns. Why do we elect councillors if they do not make the effort to establish contact with their constituents?…if that were the case, perhaps we wouldn’t see in Capalaba by cnr Redland Bay & Moreton Bay Rds cnr park seating under the blazing Qld sun with no shade tree in sight nor would people be denied the use of Coolnwynpin Creek track where the metal fence at Capalaba Central has been replaced with a tall, residential style timber fence my neighbour used to run his two dogs along through to Old Cleveland Rd now ideal for muggers. Bad things happen when there is no community input. Found on my front lawn booklet entitled “Lakeside”. Had we in Capalaba had good planning, we too could have had a “Creekside”…instead of dirty concrete bordering the timber fence between a tavern and liquor outlet the people never wanted.

  5. I also would have to ask why haven’t 4 of the Councillors made a comment? Surely they can’t be so much under the Mayor’s thumb that they are still waiting for her to tell them what to write.
    It’s been holidays so we have to allow the lady to take a break. Maybe when she is back at work the 4 Councillors who are hanging out waiting to see what they should write will soon be put out of their misery.
    Shameful to see that these four councillors can’t think for themselves. And these are our elected representatives. How sad.

    • As we know the answer is all too obvious… Mitchell, Edwards, Talty and Gleeson are the “rusted on” cheer leaders for Ms Williams!

  6. Celebrity and authority opinions undoubtedly sway. Consider how enthusiastically members of our elect embraced Johnny Depp during filming recently. So, if the public wants to guarantee a response to community concerns, perhaps we should honour that edict, and invite a public debate involving our Council Elect and Executives and invite globally reputable authorities on the subject to air, address and qualify community concerns. UN Sustainability Leaders, World Health Organisation Consultants, Who’s Who international peer elected authorities have expressed their willingness to attend. I would welcome the clarity provided by hosting a public hearing. In the interests of truth and transparency, lets make it happen and set the date. Given that tax and rate payers are forced to finance the results of decisions allegedly made in “our best interests”, I think it only fair to provide us with input and evidence on how well our public dollars are being representatively invested, to enjoy the integrity of those efforts being expended on our behalf…..or expose the lack of it.

  7. How are our councillors working through the 6000 plus submissions and what are the directions that they may be taking from them to build towards changing the draft city plan or is it still a case of decisions made then consultations occurring. We havent heard any public notices of anything coming from the 6000 plus submissions from the public changing any announcements from council or councillors!

  8. This post confirms the complexity and challenges of preparing a new Planning Scheme. More concerning is the lack of a comment by 4 of the 10 Councillors. The story opens up some of the thinking of the Council but what about the rest of the elected officials…one can only assume they don’t know or is it they haven’t (as yet) been told what to think.

  9. It is with interest I noted that the Williams sheep don’t have an opinion or are they waiting to be told the answer. I would hate to think that any election donations had a bearing on their silence. This plan is too important to brush aside the community views , sadly for Division 6 where there are so many controversial issues the representative of the people doesn’t have an opinion

  10. I just can’t understand the thinking behind the majority of Councillors. They only need to come down to the area around the ferry terminals, the Grand Hotel, Cleveland Point, Oyster Point to name just a few to realise what beautiful open spaces would be ruined by the amount of development that is currently proposed. Upgrading the ferry terminals is a great idea, but building more high rise apartments when car parking in particular is already a monumental problem is ridiculous.

  11. Why are some in the community cranky that what is going on with the City Plan seems to be hidden away.
    “line by line”;”behind closed doors”…..
    Meanwhile the trees keep coming down, the traffic gets heavier, the blocks get split, the new houses rub eaveless roofs with the neighbour and the family car waits to get out onto the road.
    Toondah and Shoreline attempt to add new suburbs to the City no matter what. Mt Cotton biomass wants to have another go.
    Is there a deliberate time waste to keep our Councillors busy so the real issues don’t get addressed ?
    Well…..
    Redlands 2030 Community plan was to be at the forefront of Council’s planning, policies and strategies.
    Annual operational reporting was to show how Council’s activities contribute to achieving the community’s goals.
    A community committee was supposed to help with monitoring and measuring how well that happened. Then give input at a five yearly review.
    Didn’t happen, did it?
    Instead Community Plan replaced by Mayoral Plan and community input replaced by development meetings behind closed doors.
    What now?
    Is it because the Community Plan was abandoned that we find ourselves without policies and strategies?

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