A proposal to continue providing incentives for developers will be considered by Redland City Council at its general meeting on Wednesday 21 June.
Councillors will also:
- discuss an update on activities of the Redlands Economic Development Advisory Board
- delegate to the CEO a number of powers under the new Planning Act
- adopt a revenue policy for 2017/18 to support Council’s budget preparation
- consider various routine reports.
Here’s a link to the 21 June meeting agenda.
But with Redland City Council, it’s often more interesting to write about the things which are not being discussed publicly in general meetings.
Sporting fields acquisition
Council’s decision to purchase 150 hectares of land in Redland Bay, supposedly for use as sporting fields, is the subject of much gossip around Bloomfield Street.
It’s understood that the deal is for about $7 million but questions have been raised about the property’s suitability, value, and about the process used by Council to obtain valuations.
The property’s vendors are understood to be a long established Redlands family well known to some councillors.
The matter was discussed in closed session on 24 May 2017. The minutes show that the deal was approved by all ten councillors present (Cr Mitchell was absent).
No declarations of conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest were recorded in the minutes.
On 13 January 2017 Council issued a news release stating that it was looking to buy land for new sports grounds because studies had shown that the Council has a shortage of suitable land to meet residents’ future sporting and recreational needs. The news release said interested landowners could contact the Council up a deadline of 3 February.
An alternative way to acquire land for civic purposes such as sporting fields is for Council to undertake a detailed planning study, identify one or more suitable properties which meet predetermined Council requirements and then attempt to negotiate the purchase of land which best meets the City’s needs for a reasonable price.
Tourism accommodation and Cleveland CBD incentives
Councillors are being asked to extend the incentives packages for investment in Tourism Accommodation and the Cleveland CBD for another 12 months.
The Cleveland CBD incentives package was initially adopted by Council in February 2013.
On 30 July 2014 Council decided that eligible tourist accommodation projects anywhere in Redland City could also have the same incentives.
Eligible projects can save 100% of development assessment fees and 100% of infrastructure charges.
The amounts budgeted, expended and reamaining are shown below:
|Infrastructure charges concessions||$1,500,000||$403,233||$1,096,766|
|Development application fee concessions||$650,000||$335,861||$314,139|
A number of projects have benefited from the 100% concession on development application fees but relatively few projects have qualified for the concession on infrastructure charges.
One notable exception is the Alexandra Hills Hotel expansion by McGuires’ Hotels which was opened recently.
Redlands2030 has asked Redland City Council to advise the total amount received by McGuires’ Hotels under the Tourism Incentives Package but no response has yet been received.
Mayor Karen Williams received a $4,000 political donation from McGuires’ Hotels (the Colmslie Hotel) before the 2016 local government elections.
Toondah Harbour development questions
There’s been a lot of silence from Redland City Councillors about the Toondah Harbour project and the Council’s deal with Walker Group.
Seems that the Council’s agreements with Walker Group contains clauses which prevent any critical discussion about the project.
The Council said in December 2015 that the Infrastructure agreement would be made public in the New Year. That was about 18 months ago.
Walker Group’s revised proposal appears to have significantly reduced the scope for community benefits. The foreshore park on the eastern side of the proposed development has been removed from the plan to be assessed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
While the project revision may be good for roosting shorebirds it means that the project will offer the community less publicly available open space.
Another worrying concern is that the delivery of public infrastructure benefits is understood to be conditional upon the developer first being able to sell 25% of the planned 3,600 apartments. Selling 900 apartments in the Cleveland market could take quite a while so when will the new ferry terminal be opened?
So many questions and so few answers coming from Redland City Council and our elected representatives.