Why rush to approve a half-baked city plan?

city plan

Amendments to the Draft City Plan are on the agenda for a special meeting of Redland City Council

After months of post election wrangling over the proposed new Redlands Planning Scheme Mayor Karen Williams has ambushed councillors and the community by calling for the new City Plan to be approved at a short notice special meeting tomorrow.

Councillors have indicated that they were expecting proposed amendments to the Draft City Plan 2015 at a meeting next month.

They were surprised by the Mayor calling a special meeting for Tuesday, 28 February 2017 giving them very little time to digest the final package of  proposed changes.

Confusion about the meeting date

Spot the difference – the agenda published on Friday 24 February and the amended version published on Monday 27 February

It seems that Council’s administration staff were surprised also, they published an agenda  prominently displaying the special meeting date as “28 March 2017”. Perhaps a foretaste of other problems which might result if the draft planning scheme is amended and approved without full consideration.

If the plan were to be considered on 28 March instead of 28 February, councillors would have plenty of time to consider the implications of the proposed package of amendments and they would undoubtedly get some feedback from the residents who they are supposed to represent.

People familiar with building or construction would understand the importance of good foundations. The Draft City Plan was developed on the bad  foundations of inadequate community engagement at the drafting stage. Some developers were engaged secretively via the infamous Development Industry Reference Group but everyone else was excluded from having any input.

When the Draft City Plan was finally put out for public consultation the Council received thousands of submissions, many objecting to the basic assumptions and intent of the Plan.

It seems that some within the Council wish to ignore community values, public interest and community feedback.

The key question for the City is will a majority of councillors share this arrogant and dismissive approach?

The Mayor, her bureaucrats and her “yes m’am” councillors are desperately trying to avoid the need for any further community consultation about the City Plan which could, and should, result from adoption of major changes.

The State Government’s guidelines say:

If changes have been made to the proposed planning scheme or amendment that has been released for public consultation, the local government must determine whether those changes result in the proposed planning scheme being significantly different to the proposed planning scheme that was released publicly for public comments. If changes have resulted in the proposed planning scheme or amendment being significantly different, additional public consultation is warranted as the public has not had the opportunity to comment on proposals which may impact on them directly or on the community.

So instead, a plan is being put forward for approval which does not deal with many of the community’s concerns.

Anything in the ‘too hard’ or ‘don’t really want’ baskets are notionally to be dealt with in a package of planning scheme amendments which would  go through its own consultation process.

This has been characterised as a parallel process but pigs don’t fly and any major amendments package would take years to resolve.

Any councillor who has been told that they can have a change that they want made in the package of amendments should consider the risk that they may become victims of ‘bait and switch’ tactics.

Since the Draft City Plan was first conceived in 2014 important issues have arisen and assumptions have changed. The projected rate of population growth has been trimmed slightly but we have also found out that our koala population numbers are declining alarmingly, heading towards extinction in the lifetime of our City’s younger residents. Such issues should be addressed in finalising the new planning scheme.

If Redland City has a Council committed to community values the City Plan will be properly finalised as a single well made package. Then the properly finalised draft City Plan will be made available for further public review through another community consultation process.

Redland City Council has recently been the subject of an investigation by the Queensland Ombudsman which found that the Council’s decision making processes in a particular matter lacked integrity.

Councillors should take all the time necessary to ensure that the process of making amendments to the City’s planning scheme is 100% full of integrity.

 

Redlands2030 – 27 February 2017

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5 thoughts on “Why rush to approve a half-baked city plan?

  1. One man’s ‘rather petty’ is another man’s poison. This is toxic behaviour in a soup created by it’s designer. Don’t be surprised if the cover of the City Plan is blurred by a pixilated image, underscoring the blurriness of the issues it raises.

    As we know, this Council uses fear based tactics to control people such as sending out legal threats to residents. Is it cowardliness of the “yes ma’m” councillors or is it fear that come the next election “if you haven’t been good to The Machine, you will be gone kids? “

  2. After many months and, we’re told, several hours of discussion by our Councillors, the Mayor has called, at ridiculously short notice, a Special Meeting to consider the 204 paged Redland City Plan. While heed has been taken of some of the high volume of earlier community feedback, there are still areas of contention needing to be addressed by, apparently, a “parallel” running amendment process. Rather than now proceeding with indecent haste, perhaps some more time should be devoted to ironing out these areas as part of the Plan rather than putting them on the back burner perhaps allowing advantage to be taken of any loopholes in the meantime. This might also allow consideration to be given to the emerging SEQ Regional Plan. There are better ways of planning for the environment, heritage and the Redlands lifestyle than those reflected in the City Plan.

  3. Sounds familiar. Before anyone can comment, instead of holding meeting on the Redland City Plan planned for March 28th, bring it forward a month to February 28th to surprise everyone involved with Special Meeting so Mayor & Co have it just the way they want it for the good of the people of Redlands. Any chance survival of our remaining mainland koalas have been included in the Plan?
    This method was used at final meeting in RSC by bringing forward to FIRST on the agenda instead of THIRD (entry blocked until… Cr for Wello Pt stated, on being allowed entry, ‘it’s all over Amy ‘) when our Specially Protected wetland site 29-37 Moreton Bay Rd was approved with Cr John Burns (Cr Talty’s father) along with Cr Alan Beard & commercial bldg. developer with deep pockets Mr Endacott, plus using Wildlife Pres member Adrian Caneris for a short time as wildlife officer in Council, escorted into meeting while Cr Burns swivelled around in his chair to announce developer was generously giving $$$$s for his parks dept. I was used..silly me… recalling belatedly, Adrian, aware of importance & value of the wetland site under Koala Coast Policy, asking I write letter to Super A Mart, who had sought approval to build on the site, giving reasons why not. LNP Env Min at the time requested an EIS from any prospective developer. However, being replaced with Labor’s Env. Min. no need for an EIS. Tall concrete walls along our once beautiful creek bank was transformed into a haven for society’s misfits with locals warned to not enter beyond 20 Crotona Rd through to Capalaba Central.
    Where’s the transparency and integrity in all levels of government we keep hearing about lately?
    Certainly our mayor will become well known to Redlanders as at Victoria Pt movie theatres a close up facial photo of her appears on screen stating ‘ready Redlands ‘. So councillors, are you all ready for approving the new Redland City Plan?

  4. How does a council approve a 200 page document with only 3 days to read the detail, a plan that does not include a Transport Study, an open space Study, a Regional Fporting Facility Study and a Hertiage study. The state is just going through the public consultation process of the latest Regional plan, why wouldnt the council wait till that overarching document be approved as Council must comply with that document. The whole process is going back to front, is it a case of pushing it through to benefit a few. Cant believe that Cr Talty has been able to convince the Council to remove the Conservation Zoning on all private land in 40% of the City, the rural land which makes up much of our koala habatit. Land that has been protected for many decades through the Conservation zoning. To say it will be dealt with by an Overlay is disappointing to say the least. Stop the abuse of the planning process and allow the community to view the changes and make comments, it is their future, should be their say

  5. Unfortunately for those who would force-fit the plan as currently reviewed, the result of a complete package is most likely to be a rejection of the plan by the Minister, as outlined in the Guidelines, and as referenced in the Review document under “Risks”.
    It appears the current answer to this is to deliver the “as reviewed” plan without all amendments to stay beneath the Minister’s radar. I have been unable to find any reconciliation against the community’s submissions. How would we know what has been addrressed, and what else we can expect to be addressed sometime in the future.
    The risk to the community of “catastrophic” development approvals in the interim far outweighs any embarrassment then Council or Mayor might feel as a result of plan rejection or wasted expenditure. It’s the future of the Redlands.