Should Redland City Council approve permanent operation of the new market at School Road, Capalaba?
Since 7 September a market has operated at this State Government owned site on a temporary basis. The Capalaba State College is currently seeking Redland City Council’s approval to allow permanent operation of a large market every Sunday.
Finding a new home
When the State Government decided to upgrade sporting facilities at Chandler, the Sunday market, operated by Mark and Cheryl Fairbairn for many years, had to move.
Relocation to Capalaba State College is being facilitated by Redland City’s Mayor according to the Redland City Bulletin 12 August 2014.
The proposed site is College land on School Road with houses on the other side of the road.
According to the College’s August 2014 newsletter, neighbours were informed by letter of the plan to establish regular markets and offered one on one meetings to discuss any issues.
Benefits to the College of having the new market include rent from stall holders and improved car parking facilities for school events.
Operating on a temporary basis, the markets appear to have achieved strong patronage particularly from people in the Redlands.
With nearly 300 stalls there is plenty of variety for shoppers including live music and a food court.
Traffic and noise
A market attracting thousands of people early each Sunday morning has significant noise and traffic impacts for near neighbours. It seems that little consideration was given to their interests when the College site was put forward by Mayor Williams.
Don Brown, Labor candidate for Capalaba at the forthcoming state election, has issued a media statement calling for “full and open consultation with the community, especially those in the immediate vicinity”.
He goes on to say:
No one is saying the markets have to stop but Mayor Williams and Councillor Gleeson need to do what they should have done before the markets opened and consult with locals to minimise the impact.
The Mayor appears to be reluctant to meet with local communities who are unhappy with Council decisions so it would be surprising if it happened in this instance.
Local Councillor Paul Gleeson has distributed flyers to affected residents on three occasions.
He told Redlands2030 that because these markets are being held on State-owned land, Council is somewhat limited in its jurisdiction. He said that Council has acted to respond to residents’ concerns about traffic and noise including:
- Establishing restricted parking areas and distributing residential parking permits to allow residents to be able to park in their streets
- Enforcing parking restrictions – with 24 infringements issued on 21 September
Capalaba State College and the market operator have worked to provide plenty of off street parking in the school grounds. Cr Gleeson has stated that there should be enough off street parking for everyone visiting the markets.
A visit to the market on Sunday revealed that the off street parking is well managed but there is still heavy traffic through the area. Many people are still parking on School Road and nearby streets.
Koala habitat trees
A number of koala habitat trees were removed by the Market Operator as part of site preparation for the new markets. This was authorised by the College but staff were “surprised” at how many were removed according to the Redland City Bulletin 14 August 2014.
The College has been asked to provide Council with site details of all koala habitat trees and plans for replanting of trees.
The Council has drawn the College’s attention to the fact that koalas are now listed as vulnerable under Federal environmental law and Federal Government approval may be required for any action that might have a significant impact on them.
Council’s approval process
The Mayor has claimed credit for attracting the market to Capalaba and has declared that she does not want the market stopped because of “red tape’ so it seems likely that approval will be a “tick and flick” exercise.
At the market on Sunday, Steve Davies the LNP member for Capalaba and other people in “Steve Davies” shirts were soliciting signatures for a petition to keep the market operating.
Was this a reaction to the concerns raised publicly by Don Brown?
What do we think?
Planning rules and regulations exist for good reasons, not to frustrate development but to ensure that all interests are properly considered and a good outcome is achieved for the whole community. With good intent and capable management, urgent matters can be dealt with quickly while retaining the essential planning principles.
In this case it seems that there has been some “blurring” of process and responsibility: the horse is following the cart. The Mayor’s comments about “red tape” are becoming a standard excuse for avoiding community scrutiny.
If a better process had been implemented at the beginning, up to 10 koala habitat trees might have been retained. Inconvenience and distress experienced by local residents might have been reduced.
What do you think?
While Council is considering the a material change in use application there is an opportunity to have your say about questions such as:
- What benefit does the Redlands community receive from the market?
- Should more consideration have been given to traffic and noise impacts on near neighbours?
- Should the mature koala habitat trees have been retained?
- What do you think of the way that the State Government and Redland City Council have handled the whole relocation process?
- Should Council give approval so that the market can operate permanently and under what conditions?
You can make a comment below and/or contact the Council about Development Application Enquiry: MCU013300
Published 28 September 2014
Updated 2 October 2014 to make the correction requested by Steve Davies in his comment on this post