OPINION: WHY SUCH POLITICAL TURMOIL IN THE REDLANDS?

All of the political turmoil in the Redlands in recent times can be explained by one simple question, asked of the current Mayor and her supporting councillors – whose values do they hold?

THE COMMUNITY’S VALUES

The community’s values are clearly articulated in the Redlands 2030 Community Plan: Creating Our Future (April 2010) – the community’s plan to achieve the community’s vision for the future. It describes in great detail the kind of Redlands we want to be living in when the calendar page turns over to 2030.

Redlanders have long understood that land is finite and that the natural resources that sustain life and provide quality of life (water, trees, wildlife, marine life) are also finite. The proposition that population growth can occur forever and without consequence was rejected by our community years ago. Within the Vision Statement of the Redlands 2030 Community Plan are these words –

“We will lead Australia by acknowledging there are limits to population growth and having our planning documents reflect this…”

We expect that the men and women elected to Redland City Council – today, tomorrow, always – will honour the Community Plan as their first and foremost guide, for their task is to make sure the community’s values are upheld and that genuine progress toward the community’s vision is incrementally realised, year by year by year…on the way to 2030.

Accordingly, we expect that any Redland City Council elected over the years would deliver Planning Schemes and other land use planning decisions that work to define the limits of population growth and protect our natural resources – and intrinsically, protect our quality of life.

THE DEVELOPERS’ VALUES

The Development Industry on the other hand appears to hold a different set of values, seeing only the opportunities to profit by developing our green lands (foreshores, parks, rural lands); the back yards of older homes built on large blocks of land (infill) and even the lands beneath the sea (RAMSAR-listed Moreton Bay, part of the Toondah Harbour proposal).

There is nothing surprising here. Indeed, it is the nature of the beast. Let off the leash, the Development Industry will likely consume the land (and build into the sea) until there is nothing more to take. The lasting consequences of overdevelopment are neither their responsibility nor indeed their concern, for they will have moved on to other, still-green pastures.

WHERE IT ALL GOES WRONG

In truth, the Development Industry should be easy to contain, held on a short leash by good governments and good planning until they can be put to good use, released to build what needs to be built, then held tightly again.

Unfortunately however, the Development Industry can make political donations. And where donations occur, the focus on community vision and values can become blurred by pro-development perspectives. In addition, the Industry has learned that the temporary jobs that come with construction can be used to influence Local and State Governments, desperate to demonstrate job creation and bereft of ideas beyond building houses.

Having bought into building houses as a means to create jobs, governments must now promote the mantra that “you can’t stop population growth”, which of course is a nonsense. We have to hand a letter dated 14 September 2010 from then Premier Anna Bligh advising –

“Accurate dwelling targets are particularly important for making sound decisions about the location and funding of new infrastructure. Accordingly, councils including Redland City Council, are encouraged to revise dwelling targets should they wish to do so as part of the dialogue around infrastructure requirements.”

(What a great idea – matching population growth to the capacity to provide infrastructure!)

THE PARAMOUNT QUESTION

And thus the anger and political turmoil currently occurring in the Redlands are easily understood if you ask the question – whose values do Mayor Williams and her supporting councillors hold?Markets 15 November koala City Plan

And the answer? It appears they have a diminished focus on the vision and values of the community. Indeed, evidence of their pro-development perspective abounds, with the big ticket items being:

  • a Draft Redlands Planning Scheme (Draft City Plan 2015) that drives massive population growth (about 50,000 more people) through urban expansion and densification, promotes sell-off of parklands, removes much habitat/tree protection, and removes conservation and environmental protection from important and sensitive areas
  • the Proposed Toondah Harbour Development Scheme that would see 10,000 more people (with 7,000 more cars) in 3,600 units in 10 storey towers on land reclaimed from Moreton Bay
  • the Redland City Council preliminary approval for the ‘Shoreline’ development in Southern Redlands, (another 4,000 houses for 10,000 people bringing 7,000 more cars) despite this application being clearly out of sequence and in direct conflict with the State Government’s South East Queensland Regional Plan which designates the land as ‘Regional Landscape & Rural Production’.

SAFEGUARDING THE FUTURE

We Redlanders have a long and proud history of stepping in when those we elect lose their way. We are willing to volunteer our time and energy to safeguard the future.

Redland City koala

Redland City koala

We don’t do it for joy.

We don’t do it for profit.

We do it for all that makes life in the Redlands unique and worth fighting for – the bush, the Bay, the last of our red soil farms, our much-loved koalas and the leafy green semi-rural environment that sustains them.

What we want to do however, is elect a Mayor and Council whom we can trust to hold fast to the community vision and values that will safeguard the Redlands, now and into the future.

As we head into the last week of the election, the fundamental question to be asked of every candidate is therefore very simple – whose values do you hold?

Lavinia Wood

Spokesperson

Community Alliance for Responsible Planning (CARP) Redlands Inc

17 March 2016

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

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6 thoughts on “OPINION: WHY SUCH POLITICAL TURMOIL IN THE REDLANDS?

  1. I couldn’t agree more, development can and should match infrastructure. I feel the current Council has no regared at all for the balance needed in the Redlands. Its not necessary to provide this much housing, as stated by the Government. The whole plan needs restructuring.

  2. At what cost is the RIC – Redlands Investment Corporation to ratepayers. I have asked Karen Williams this question and the RIC directly several times but no answer. They gave me a link to the Budget but this of course does not expose the salary packages for those employed by the RIC.
    There will be a continued push by the Redland City Council in particular Karen Williams to develop sensitive areas and bulldoze every single piece of native habitat in our region. The reason why may lie in the expenditure of the RIC and large salary packages for the position of Mayor. This has become a self serving circus and we need an enquiry into finer details of RCC balance sheet. I moved to this region purely for the amount of native habitat left in the region. I visit the GJ Walker park daily and the majority of visitors are under the impression that only the ferry terminal area is to be developed. We need some answers but I’m sure I won’t hear anything until after the election. Looks like your just have to be a real estate agent or entertainer to be in council. Where are the credentials??

    • If you look at the minutes of the Council meetings you will see Maria that is the same councillors who vote with the Mayor. I believe they have a closed meeting before the official one to discuss voting. The people who are excluded from the inner cabinet have been Wendy Boglary, Lance Hewlett, Paul Bishop, Craig Ogilvie and Murray Elliott. Before some meetings those five have frequently been denied access to information required to make an informed vote. A few minutes before a meeting they are given maybe thirty pages to read, which includes quite technical data. Then they are then expected to speak to a motion in an intelligent way. Toxic management. All councillors should be treated equally. Redland 2030 and others have done a great job informing the public of the disaster waiting to happen at Toondah Harbour. Eighteen long years of dredging and building endless blocks of units. Thank you to Wendy, Craig, Murray, Lance and Paul for staying strong for your communities. Good luck on Saturday

      • And we expect our Councillors to be able to make an informed judgement on each issue. Fat chance of that when information is withheld from them until the last minute. We don’t need an autocrat who uses this sort of tactic to get her own way in charge. Shame!

  3. I’ve posted a link to this article to all the residents of our estate who joined together last year to prevent our bushland refuge conservation area from being re-zoned to low/medium density residential which would have allowed the construction of townhouses.