At its General Meeting on 10 December the Redland City Council will be considering a request by property developer Villa World Developments Pty Ltd to approve a 44% reduction in infrastructure charges.
Villa World Pty Ltd is considering a 134 lot subdivision on land at 401-451 Redland Bay road, Capalaba.
The reductions sought by Villa World would reduce its contribution to the cost of “trunk infrastructure” by more than $1.6 million (44%), from $3,724,000 to $2,058,547. Trunk infrastructure is external to the area of the development. Non-trunk infrastructure is the responsibility of the developer.
In accordance with state planning laws, the charges that Council can impose for provision of trunk infrastructure are now capped at $28,000 per block. Trunk infrastructure costs are normally much more than this and the excess over $28,000 per block is now paid for by ratepayers.
The site has had an interesting history. Part of the land used to be used for poultry farming. Indeed a report to Council dated 26 April 2005 noted that parts of the site were included in the State’s Contaminated Land Register due to “previous land uses including dead bird disposal”.
When development was originally proposed on this site in 2005, Council officers recommended against the proposal on grounds that:
- It did not comply with the Council’s planning requirements in force at the time
- The site was regarded a as major koala breeding and dispersal area so any development would conflict with state planning policies
Back in 2005 the officer’s report noted koala populations were significantly affected by development. An example was cited of another area in Capalaba (Ney Road/Koala Place) where koala populations reduced from 70 in 1995 to 15 in 2004.
Although the officer’s report recommended that development not be approved, this was overturned. The 2005 Council voted 6 to 5 in favour of allowing the site to be used for residential development. Councillors who voted to allow this koala-unfriendly development included two current councillors: Karen Williams and Alan Beard.
Time moves on and so do planning schemes. And the number of koalas in Redland City continues to fall. But developers still want to develop, and they work hard to improve their margins and returns.
Villa World’s argument for a $1.6 million reduction in trunk infrastructure charges is made for three specific categories of infrastructure: parks, stormwater and sewers.
In each case it appears that the officer’s report to the Council Meeting on Wednesday 10 December is suggesting that Council should just accept the “reasonable” arguments put forward by the developer.
There is no evidence that Redland City Council has any willingness or capacity to enter into hard nosed commercial negotiations with developers to improve the City’s finances and reduce the burden on ratepayers.
Redlands2030, 9 December 2014
Update 11 December
At the Council meeting the councillors voted to reject the officer’s recommendation. For more information refer to: