Letters to the Editor 17 March 2016

This week a SMBI writer says “Do we follow the illusions of the big juicy Williams’ carrots like donkeys”, a Straddie local questions a proposal to establish a sailing school on Sibelco land at Deanabilla Bay, and a Redland Bay resident questions how a small lot development that contravenes the City’s road design scheme could be okayed.

Voters have been kept in the dark

Would it vote for Toondah?

Do we follow the illusions of the big juicy Williams’ carrots like donkeys?

Craig Ogilvie was right to sound warning bells in his letter published in the Redland City Bulletin on 2 March 2016

The Williams’ team has created a 40% oversupply of housing potential with Shoreline and Toondah. They have, in doing so, created an unknown and unacknowledged financial black hole that could swallow the Redlands ratepayers.

Because Redlands is primarily a residential area, it already struggles to raise enough cash to fund its needs. Recent rampant development approvals will make matters worse, not better as claimed.

Rates have been kept steady for the past four years by adopting main strategies:

  • Staff reductions, thus limiting Council’s ability to get things done;
  • Not spending, therefore doing little by way of community or infrastructure building (Council has a history of under spending its capital budget)
  • Diverting the excessive profit of the Council’s water business (to which we all contribute anyway with our rate demand)
  • Raiding reserved funds, e.g. SMBI ratepayers paid $4.8 million into reserves last year – money that could have been used to surface half the remaining dirt roads.

Council borrowings stood at $52.4 million in December 2015. Mayor Williams tells us she’s reduced debt by 10%. SMBI’s $4.8 million was used to pay off debt.

‘Debt is bad’ was the incoming Williams’ mantra four years ago. Now the dark cloud of debt is presented as the saviour with ever wilder and attractive promises of road congestion fixes, SMBI and Weinam Creek parking fixes, free buses, cycle tracks, new jetties, new ramps and more.

The decisions voters make on Saturday 19 March are critical to the survival of a sustainable, pleasant Redlands yet, sadly, most voters are completely in the dark about what is at stake and reliable, accessible, measures of performance are not readily available. We are also very vulnerable to the well-crafted spin of the Williams’ team.

Do we follow the illusions of the big juicy Williams’ carrots like donkeys and end up dragging huge debt so we become just another overcrowded Brisbane suburb?

Or do we see the true financial and infrastructure challenges facing our city and restore a more balance approach to building a delightful place to live and work.

Robin Harris
Macleay Island

 

Dunwich sailing school plan raises questions

Deanbilla Bay is just south of Dunwich

Deanbilla Bay is just south of Dunwich

I have concerns about Karen Williams’ announcement last week of plans for Deanbilla Bay and Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.

Could this, like Toondah Harbour, morph from a small plan to a big development? I don’t like to be negative, but you have to admit the council has form on this.

My concerns are based on a media release last Friday from Mayor Williams that Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) will establish a sailing school at Dunwich

Being of a naturally curious nature, I read beyond the Mayor’s media release (it’s on her private website but not the Council website) and followed a download link in the last line of the release.

There I learned the RQYS “initiative,” as the mayor calls it, involves the sand mining company Sibelco offering to transfer its Dunwich land on which it has barracks to RQYS.

A very generous offer on the face of it, particularly to an organisation with total assets of $32.8million.

I adhere to that quaint old adage to  “follow the money” to ascertain legitimacy when such plans are mooted.

However, no money is mentioned anywhere in the RQYS’ glowingly illustrated and ebulliently worded document.

Since RQYS Commodores past and present include some big large property developers who would certainly know the value of a dollar, wouldn’t you think this would be addressed?

I would like to know, before I vote on Saturday, how many more moorings will there be, what is the long term plan for the Sibelco land at Dunwich, what will be the effects of increased activity on oyster leases, fishing, the Marine Park environment and public access to the bay and foreshores.

Liz Johnston
Point Lookout

 

Small lot development in Redland Bay

House demolished to make way for small lot development in Redland Bay

House demolished to make way for small lot development in Redland Bay Photo F. Ogilvie

Recently as local residents of Redland Bay, we discovered that a small lot development had recently been approved at 46-54 Queen Street, Redland Bay. There was no notification period for this subdivision, as through the Council’s planning scheme they are not obligated (and don’t) advise local residents. (Code assessible vs Impact assessible)

This development has 12 individual 4 bedroom residences, 11 on less that 400sm with 10m frontages and direct driveway access onto Queen Street, a Redland Bay arterial road (trunk collector). The access to Queen St by the Council’s own road design scheme is classed as restricted (ie. should not be allowed).

By approving this it sets a precedent that will allow any resident backing onto the arterial roads to apply and be granted access, thus further congesting our main carriageways and creating potential safety incidents.

A group of residents met with the Council planning department and some councillors (Edwards and Talty), to understand how issues such as density, conformity to surrounding area and driveway access to Queen St., were ignored, even though they did not conform to their own development code.

The responses were weak or non-existent, with much of the blame aimed at a State planning scheme being outcome based. When the question was raised “what outcome was desired?” no response was offered.

I have since received and examined requested supporting information and am appalled at the logic that allows avoidance of key parts of the Council’s own development code.

Following this and a meeting with the Mayor, it is obvious the Council will not change their decision. They suggested that our only avenue for objection was through the courts, a dangerous path to tread for individual residents, with no known financial downside

I am disappointed, and disillusioned that a development such as this gets through with little resistance from the Council. It is a bad idea for the area and I believe the Council is in error approving it. With the Villaworld and Fitini invasion in Redland Bay, we are being surrounded by small lot development and concrete blocks of units, where effective pubic transport is non-existent. Think of traffic, social issues etc.

From this recent experience with the direct interaction of Council planners, Councillors and the Mayor, I truly believe that the Council can do a lot better in managing the development and growth in this area, but they choose not to.

As a result I don’t believe that the current council should have the mandate to continue administering our rapidly degrading living standard at Redland Bay.

Peter Hoare
Redland Bay

 

Letters published by Redlands2030 – 17 March 2016

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

3 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor 17 March 2016

  1. It is a real shame that Queensland legislation does not allow Australian citizens who are ratepayers of Redland Council to vote in Council elections although they own property. Should fairness and equity prevail, as they do in other Australian jurisdictions, our collective voice would decide the reality of the status quo. Give us a true voice. It is time for transparent accountability to ratepayers

  2. Re sailing school at Dunwich: Follow the money, indeed. And cui bono, who benefits? Living on the island, I have heard nothing yet of this project promoted as a good fit with eco/nature-based tourism for Stradbroke. I am immediately curious about the project’s bona fides: why no reference to QYAC? Why no Environmental Impact Statement in the glossy colour brochure? And how does this work: Sibelco will ‘simply transfer’ (sell?) its lease to the RQYC – when the land surely reverts to the owners, the Quandamooka estate? Some sticky questions. And the proposal has been developed with no local discussion or consultation.

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