Letters about heritage assessment, the Bulletin, Council leadership and koalas

Letters to Redlands2030

What a grab bag of Letters to the Editor this week!

First, Council’s curious disregard for Redlands’ heritage that could cost ratepayers bigtime; accolades to retiring Redland City Bulletin editor, Jeff Freak, for fearlessly giving the community a voice; comments about Council’s dysfunction and leadership void and the Koala Action Group’s expert response to the proposed Shoreline development’s ‘koala plan’.

Have something on your mind about the Redlands? Drop us a line anytime.

Will hiding heritage cost the ratepayer?

For too long Redland’s heritage has been hidden in the cupboard.
And the key was thrown away when it was decided private property was not to be listed. So there was no need even to retain the services of an officer to deal with heritage.
Has that got Council into trouble? Ratepayers need to know. The purchaser of a private property was assured there were no heritage listings on it.
Were there?
No.
Correct.
But there was heritage value, significant value, on the property.
And this has been recorded in Council documents since at least 1995, with the latest study in 2012 and as recent as this month, August 2015.
How do we know?
Council itself submitted three documents to the current Heritage assessment on the Willard Farm that clearly indicate their knowledge of the heritage values of both Willard farm and the adjoining World War II site.
What has forced open the door of the cupboard is that the State itself has recommended the Willard Farm be entered as a place in the Queensland Heritage Register as A State Heritage Place.
That final decision is expected next month.
So the question has to be asked, was it enough to use “we don’t list private property” and so let a buyer get caught up in the fall out?
Perhaps a wider desk top study by the purchasers’ own planner might have picked up the relevant documents that warned them there were long standing recommendations for listing at both state and local level. Had their planner realised that Redlands had a statutory requirement to get heritage sorted for the New City Plan then perhaps they might have sounded a warning that things might change. This would have given any purchaser an opportunity to make their considerations.
The locked cupboard has been no friend to the purchasers of the property. Ratepayers need to know if this is going to cost.

Genevieve Gall, Birkdale

Respect – Jeff Freak, fair and fearless editor

The final editorial by retiring Redland City Bulletin editor, Jeff Freak, has come and gone. As the inaugural editor of “our local rag”, Jeff built and leaves behind a fine legacy.

Redlands2030 was created at a time of community concern about the direction of the local media. Local and metropolitan daily newspapers are a major source of information and help to form community opinions and attitudes. In Queensland the landscape is dominated by a single daily newspaper and so a single editorial voice.

However, in Redland City the marriage of the previous Redland Times and the Bayside Bulletin saw the birth of the Bulletin. Under Jeff Freak the role of the local paper has been strengthened and once again has earned a reputation as a reliable source of local news, well rounded stories and sometimes bold opinions. Even Letters to the Editor seem more diverse and thoughtful. Perhaps it is because more people are trying to make a contribution, knowing that diverse opinions now seem welcome.

Since the new Bulletin emerged, there seems little doubt that the weekly toll of delivered street litter has declined. It has, indeed, earned community respect and is a welcome intruder to our homes.

As Jeff sets himself to be “poised for adventures”, we at Redlands2030 wish him well and thank him for his contribution to public discourse in Redland City.

We also wish him good luck in authoring novels. But we also hope his “moving finger” is not completely lost to our community.

We are seeing massive changes in the operation of traditional media and there seems an unstoppable move to electronic format and delivery. If the end of the home delivered local paper is in sight…it will be a sad day.

For now, we at Redlands2030 look forward to working with the new editor and staff at the Bulletin. We join Jeff in wishing the new team success and prosperity in the pursuit of delivering quality news and services – and hope that it is done without fear or favour.

Steve MacDonald
Spokesperson
Redlands2030 Inc.

Redland City Council – breakdown in leadership?

As a resident and ratepayer of the Redlands, I find it quite disconcerting when there is so much controversy around the elected members of Redland City Council.

Residents pay good money for elected members through rates, who are meant to be the chosen representatives of the people. Yet all we hear are allegations of developer influence and other assorted details that are unbecoming of an elected official.

Where is the leadership in all this? How has there been such a breakdown in command and control. It appears the chaos is rampant and while some may be just rumour, the infighting and division is very clear to residents. How can elected members of the council move forward as they promise, when there is so much drama?

A team is only as strong as its leadership and yet there appears to be a complete breakdown. Is it time to do away with the chaos and start afresh? Have all the clever marketing during campaigns just been a smoke screen and individuals just aren’t up to the job – or see the role as means to play lord of the realm?

Paul Golle, Victoria Point

Koala Action Group unconvinced by Shoreline’s koala plan

Recently KAG replied to the proposed Shoreline development environmental claims and allowed The Reporter to publish it.

KAG remains unconvinced on the so-called ‘facts’ surrounding vegetation retention and replanting of the proposed Shoreline development site.

The BAAM Ecological Assessment report available on Council’s PD on-line states on pg.17 “BAAM have calculated that 728 non-juvenile koala habitat trees occur within areas mapped as Medium Value Rehabilitation, therefore 3640 trees will need to be planted to meet the offset requirement of 5:1”. Offsets are triggered by the removal of trees so it is difficult to make any interpretation other than trees will be removed.

KAG has not found any further detailed information on vegetation management that indicates how many trees will be removed from the Shoreline development site and our group has no firm commitment from yourselves to provide absolute certainty on vegetation loss and/or retention on the development site. Overlays in the Ecological Report show many koala food trees under areas such as the town centre and medium and high density residential. It is difficult to imagine how trees are to be retained in these areas and without being impacted on over time by surrounding development.

With reference to your claim that 350,000 new trees will be planted, our group has no confidence in your intention to do this and see no accountability if this commitment was not to occur.

Redlands Koala population is in a critical state, on the brink of extinction. Our group strongly believes that a development of this scale in the Koala Coast region will be the final nail in their coffin regardless of the replanting, corridor development and road crossing you have claimed will occur on the development site.

As we have previously explained, the danger to koalas from road hits is from traffic generated by the population of 10,000 travelling through the whole Koala Coast region, not only within the development area.

To summarise, the following facts support our position:
• The planting of new trees are of no use to koalas for 7-10 years
• Koalas do not confine themselves within corridors. Their ecology demands that they cross open areas for social and resource requirements.
• The many thousands of extra cars on roads created by a project of this size will have significant impact on koalas and other wildlife regardless of the mitigation measures implemented on the development site.
• The potential for the introduction of a couple of thousand domestic dogs increases the danger to koalas.

Debbie Pointing
Koala Action Group Qld Inc.

Redlands2030

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3 thoughts on “Letters about heritage assessment, the Bulletin, Council leadership and koalas

  1. Ref: Wynnum Herald article Sep 2nd 2015, entitled ” Koalas hover on the brink”.
    Professor Darryl Jones said numbers in Koala Coast were on consistent downward trend. There are an est.350-650 in Bowman. Koala sightings paint an even grimmer picture, with 760 reported sightings in 1995 and ONLY 70 in 2015..Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart said Bonner ‘s koala population was “on its way to extinction” …& called on Federal MP Ross Vasta to support an Australian Koala Protection Act and also ask Federal MP for Bowman Andrew Laming to support the Act..and ban any removal of habitat trees.
    Admitted to Australia zoo’s hospital in past 12 mths: Redland City Council had the third-most admissions with 53, BCC 30. Cleveland had the eighth-most admissions, 11, of any suburb in Queensland.
    Unless something changes, koalas in the Koala Coast will be extinct within two decades according to Griffith University ecology expert. .

  2. After reading FB news item posted by Cr Paul Bishop this evening that Willard farm has NOT been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register I remembered the above letter to the editor. It could be the writer was correct. Has Council now avoided paying compo by the skin of its teeth?
    Council messed up by ignoring heritage on Willard Farm so maybe the developer was pretty upset. They’ve had a bit of extra cost in fighting off the listing no doubt on top of being in danger of losing out on their application. Pity for the community and the family descendants whose stories struck a chord with the heritage officers who recommended it for STATE listing. Will there be another case where council says there is no listing but the community thinks there are values? Council has certainly avoided compo costs on this one so they’ll be thanking their lucky stars the panel said NO to listing. But the Recommendation for Entry exists. “NO” means it didn’t make the register but the community will always know they were on a winner. Experts assessed it at that level. Can Council grow up do you think?

    • Agree. Council has not had a win with the failure of the Heritage Council to list the Willard Farm. Nor has the heritage panel that said NO. They have not taken away the listed values. These were what they were supposed to address as they carried out their brief to help the state “preserve and protect” its heritage. One is left asking what was addressed that could shoot down the opinion of experts on three very specific criteria? Seems there must have been another agenda. That a developer was inconvenienced should not have been a consideration , though it must have been annoying for them, and they’ve tried hard to fit in. By its “do nothing” policy council is showing its ineptitude and disdain for Redland heritage. Now they will shift a very old house away from its true setting and pat themselves on the back.
      Potential candidates for next council take note: will you be a “do nothing” councillor because it gets in the way of development or find out how heritage is managed in the 21st century?