The local government election has generated much discussion about the future of the Redlands.
Across the City some community groups have collaborated to seek the views of all candidates on issues critical to the community and public interest. These organisations are:
- Stradbroke Island Management Organisation Inc. (SIMO),
- Koala Action Group Qld Inc. (KAG),
- Community Alliance for Responsible Planning- Redlands Inc. (CARP),
- Birkdale Progress Association Inc. (BPA)
These groups will use the results to inform their members about making informed decisions when voting for a mayor and divisional councillor. Questions on issues of community concern are being presented to all candidates with the aim at clarifying their positions.
All candidates have been sent the same five questions (by email).
The questions are published below. They may require some thought and maybe a little research about the “public interest”, but this is no more than we would expect any elected councillor to be able to do.
Candidates have been asked to respond by 5pm Sunday 5 March 2016, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The community will be advised of candidates’ responses through web based posts and the social media of participating community organisations.
In addition to the questions, back ground material is provided in this article so candidates and the community are fully aware of the context and history of the issues. This may involve a bit of time and effort but nothing compared to the timelines given and time required for the elected councillors to respond to some matters that come before Council meetings.
ISSUE NO 1: TOONDAH HARBOUR PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT AREA – PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT SCHEME
BACKGROUND TO THE QUESTION 1
During the last term of office, Redland City Council asked the Queensland State Government to create a Priority Development Area (PDA) over land comprising Toondah Harbour and the adjacent GJ Walter Park (17.9 hectares) as well as 50.5 hectares of the Moreton Bay Marine Park – total of 68.4 hectares. This was done. The subsequent Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area Proposed Development Scheme represented a massive overdevelopment of the site including reclamation of Moreton Bay for residential towers. The proposed site includes part of the Marine Park and internationally recognised RAMSAR locations. Since the Walker Group was awarded development rights on the site, the proposed development has grown exponentially.
The proposed development ignores the community’s wishes as embodied in the Redlands 2030 Community Plan and as documented in the Toondah Harbour Community Engagement Report 2013. The people of the Redlands indicated support for renewal of the Toondah Harbour facility; they did not give the thumbs up to the massive overdevelopment of the Harbour, adjacent land and Moreton Bay itself.
The amenities at Toondah Harbour for travellers to Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island need improvement. The proposed development creates a township on the bay rather than just improving the port. This will conflict with the needs of Island residents and visitors particularly in making parking more difficult and more expensive. The commercial activities at the Toondah Harbour development will likely draw business way from the Island.
Accordingly, the community has been actively campaigning to influence the State Government to withdraw the ‘Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) Proposed Development Scheme’ as released January 2014 and start again, ensuring that the process of drafting a new Proposed Development Scheme:
- honours the Redlands 2030 Community Plan (April 2010)
- honours the findings of the Toondah Harbour Community Engagement Report (August 2013) , and–
- is done in close and continuing consultation with the people of the Redlands.
QUESTION 1 FOR CANDIDATES
If you are elected to Redland City Council will you lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council to ask the Queensland State Government to withdraw the ‘Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) Proposed Development Scheme’ as released January 2014 and start again?
Please answer only YES or NO.
ISSUE NO 2: DRAFT REDLAND PLANNING SCHEME (DRAFT REDLAND CITY PLAN 2015)
BACKGROUND TO THE QUESTION 2
During the last term of office, Redland City Council developed a Draft Redland Planning Scheme (Draft Redland City Plan 2015). The community was omitted from the development stages of the Draft Planning Scheme and was only consulted once the Draft Plan had been fully formulated and signed off for release by the Queensland State Government.
Concurrently, the Redland City Council had invited representatives of the development industry to form an internal advisory group entitled the Development Industry Reference Group (DIRG) a clandestine group operating under ‘Chatham House rules’ ie – what is discussed in the room stays in the room. Ultimately, the community became aware of its existence and reluctantly Council released the DIRG meeting minutes. These revealed Council’s briefings of the Development Industry on the preparation of the Draft Planning Scheme and an ongoing dialogue of over a year between Council and the Industry. On a “confidential basis” the DIRG was provided with copies of Council’s draft ‘Land Supply Study’ and was invited to review and comment before completion of that Study. As perhaps the most commercially sensitive documents associated with the preparation of a new Planning Scheme, customarily such documents remain confidential within Council until adopted by the elected Council.
The Draft Redland City Plan 2015 promotes excessive development and significant relaxation of environmental protection measures including but not limited to:
- Rezoning and sale of Council-owned parks, bushland & open space throughout the Redlands which will reduce our greenspace amenity, destroy koala habitat and intensify development in already-developed urban areas.
- Further densification through subdivision (‘infill’) of the heavily developed urban areas of the Redlands when there is enough land already designated to accommodate population growth. . Within the residential zones significant decreases in minimum lot sizes and increases in site coverages together with the deletion of certain maximum density controls are proposed.
- Removal of all habitat/ tree protection on lots under 2000m2 as this comprises most of the Redlands’ leafy urban areas – where our urban koalas live.
- Further expansion of small lot housing developments as planned in the area between Bunker Road and Double Jump Road, Victoria Point.
- Removal of habitat/ tree protection on properties in the Rural Zone, enabling the clearing of 2500m2 of bush per property without Council control or approval.
- Designation of huge tracts of rural land in Thornlands (area bounded by Taylor Road, Woodlands Drive & Springacre Road) AND in Southern Redland Bay as future urban growth investigation areas – ie, more urban expansion.
- Changes to the Rural Zone which allow extra dwellings, new uses and associated clearing without Council control and approval (including the creeklines and significant, old growth habitat) and which, if abused, could lead to systematic degradation of Redlands’ rural lands as a precursor to even more urbanisation.
- Removal of the Conservation Zone and the Environmental Protection Zone from private properties, leaving most of Redlands’ highly important and sensitive environmental areas unprotected and subject to clearing.
- The proposed planning scheme does not include the Development Control Plan for Point Lookout with severe consequences for the visual amenity and character; the DCP for Point Lookout should be included in full as a ‘Local Plan’ within the planning scheme and local development control plans should be prepared for Amity and Dunwich.
- No protection is provided to Aboriginal cultural heritage and the protection of non-Aboriginal heritage places is inferior to that in the current Planning Scheme.
When the formal community consultation closed 27 November 2015, there were 6407 submissions received, the great majority of which did not support one or more aspects of the Draft Plan.
QUESTION 2 FOR CANDIDATES
If you are elected to Redland City Council will you lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council to withdraw the proposed Draft Redland Planning Scheme (Draft Redland City Plan 2015) and begin the plan-making process again, this time with full and proper community consultation?
Please answer only YES or NO.
ISSUE NO 3: PROTECTION OF ABORIGINAL & EUROPEAN HERITAGE
BACKGROUND TO THE QUESTION 3
During the last term of office, Redland City Council released its draft Planning Scheme, the Draft Redland City Plan (City Plan 2015).
The Draft Redland City Plan 2015 makes some major changes that reduce protection of heritage places:
- the protection given to heritage places in the proposed Planning Scheme is very inferior to that in the current planning scheme:
- the main objective, in regard to heritage, of the current planning scheme is conservation and protection
- this changes under the proposed scheme to an objective ‘to better manage the impact of future development’
- the proposed Draft Redland City Plan 2015 calls for the community and developers to ‘acknowledge and respect’ Aboriginal cultural heritage but provides no measures to ensure this occurs
- the proposed Draft Redland City Plan 2015 does not have an adequate definition of ‘heritage’ or ‘heritage place’ and this will make it difficult to secure protection and conservation; and –
- Redland City Council is lagging behind other local governments in identifying and documenting heritage places, providing assistance in their conservation and in allocating specialist resources.
As an example, what happened with Willards Farm shows the inadequacy of heritage protection by Redland City Council, even before the proposed changes in the Draft Redland City Plan 2015:
- the Queensland Heritage Council recommended that Willards Farm should be placed on the Redland City local heritage list
- however, the Redland City Council local heritage list does not include places recommended for protection as long ago as 1999
- Redland City Council has a policy not to list ‘private properties’ on the heritage list
- other Councils including Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Noosa, and Sunshine Coast have much more developed processes.
QUESTION 3 FOR CANDIDATES
If you are elected to Redland City Council will you lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council to establish a comprehensive Heritage Protection Scheme that:
- applies irrespective of the type of ownership or tenure to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage
- allows the public to nominate places for heritage listing?
Please answer only YES or NO.
ISSUE NO 4: PROTECTION OF KOALAS
BACKGROUND TO THE QUESTION 4:
It is clear that the current Council has done very little to stem the rapid decline of koalas in the Redlands. The most pressing threats to koalas are:
- habitat loss (including disease which is directly attributable to habitat loss)
- road mortality
- attacks by domestic dogs. *
The Draft Redland City Planning Scheme (City Plan 2015) further entrenches the planning processes that are leading to most of the loss of koala habitat. For example, there is no protection of trees in the urban footprint on private properties less than 2000m2. This means that the all-important links between larger areas of habitat will be lost. Council’s own studies and strategies all emphasise the importance of these links. The Urban Habitat Koala Tree Study and the Koala Management Plan have been largely ignored.
The currently proposed ‘Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) Proposed Development Scheme’ will wipe out one of the best koala populations in the Redlands. The foreshore is an important movement corridor for koalas as it connects to the creek estuaries.
* Note: It is recognised that the recent proposed changes to regulations in identified koala areas currently out for public comment will help protect koalas in those areas.
QUESTION 4 FOR CANDIDATES
If you are elected to Redland City Council will you:
(a) Lobby in favour of and vote for a Redland City Council koala recovery program that includes a moratorium on koala tree removal and strengthening of habitat protection laws?
Please answer only YES or No.
(b) Lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council to ask the Queensland State Government to withdraw the ‘Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) Proposed Development Scheme’ as released January 2014 and start again, ensuring that the process is done in close and continuing consultation with the people of the Redlands?
Please answer only YES or No.
(c) Lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council to withdraw the proposed Draft Redland Planning Scheme (Draft Redland City Plan 2015) and beginning the plan-making process again, this time with full and proper community consultation?
Please answer only YES or No.
ISSUE NO 5: ‘SHORELINE’ – DEVEOPMENT APPLICATION FOR MATERIAL CHANGE OF USE 013287 SERPENTINE CREEK, SCENIC & ORCHARD ROADS, REDLAND BAY
BACKGROUND TO THE QUESTION 5:
In November 2015, Redland City Council granted a Preliminary Approval for a Material Change of Use to vary the effect of a local planning instrument for a masterplanned urban community comprising town centre, town centre frame, residential and open space precincts at Southern Redland Bay, subject to conditions (that is, the proposed Shoreline Development – Council reference MCU01328 – comprising 4000 homes for some 10,000 people).
The Preliminary Approval and related conditions are detailed in Council’s Decision Notice dated 25 November 2015.
Many of the conditions of the Preliminary Approval require the Applicant to lodge submissions to Council on a wide range of matters which require Council’s approval prior to the lodgement of further development applications, which in turn will require Council’s subsequent approval in order to implement the development. For your reference the Conditions of Consent are linked.
The conditions which require Applicant submissions and Council approval as a pre-requisite to the lodgement of development applications are numbers 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 22 and 23 – covering a range of matters including but not limited to updating the Plan of Development, Precinct and Master Plans, Open Space Landscape Strategy and Biting Insect Management Plan and some roadworks, cycleway, open space as well as environmental matters relating to migratory birds
Future development applications for the Shoreline proposal will, in themselves, be of a scale, complexity and public interest greater than almost all other applications assessed and decided by the Redland City Council.
The prescribed period of the current approval is fifteen (15) years and it would be reasonable to anticipate that the Applicant will seek many changes to that approval over time.
Currently most Council decisions on development matters are made by the Officers acting under delegated authority rather than by Council itself. Relatively few decisions, classified by either the Officers or Councillors as Category 4 – Major and Significant Assessments are determined by Council (after the Officer assessment reports are placed on the public record and debated by Councillors in open Council meetings).
Given the level of community concern about the Shoreline development and the scale of the development, the community is entitled to have assurances that our elected members will be directly responsible for decisions and will closely monitor the implementation of and compliance with these decisions; further, that decision-making and compliance with the decisions are dealt with openly and by vote of the Council rather than by delegation to officers.
Redland City Council wrote to Shoreline and detailed the conditions of consent.
QUESTION 5 FOR CANDIDATES
If you are elected to Redland City Council will you lobby in favour of and vote for a resolution of Council that will:
a. categorise all matters relating to the Shoreline proposal as Category 4 – Major and Significant Assessments. and
b. direct all matters requiring Council approval to implement the Shoreline proposal (other than Operational Works and Building applications) to be openly determined by Council and not by Officers acting under delegated authority?
Please answer only YES or NO
Responses to these questions will be collated and each participating community organisation will consider the results and what the results mean for that organisations members.
The participating candidates will be acknowledged. Note a no response or incomplete response to any or all questions will be reported but in the interests of clarity and transparency all candidates are asked to answer either YES or NO.
A report card will be compiled from the responses and the results distributed to the participating community organisations and the candidates themselves.
Redlands2030 appreciates the time and commitment of the candidates who make this information available to the participating community organisations.
Each participating organisation will consider its own response to the outcomes of the questions.
Redlands2030 – 3 March 2016