The agenda for Redland City Council’s meeting on 8 February is remarkably empty, raising questions about the many important issues which councillors are not discussing in front of the community.
Building certification fees to rise
Apart from routine noting of routine reports the only agenda item scheduled for discussion publicly is a proposal to increase the cost of building certifications.
The officers report to Council doesn’t explain:
- The likely impact of the proposed fee increase for a typical building certification
- The expected total increase in Council revenue resulting from the fee increases
But it is expected that the recommended increase in fees, to take effect from 1st of March, will “reduce the number of new building applications lodged with Council.”
Redland Investment Corporation
In closed session, without media or the public present, Council will discuss the financial statements of its property company, the Redland Investment Corporation.
This entity was set up in 2014 supposedly to make money for ratepayers by selling off Redland City’s parks and other open space areas.
A backlash from the community resulted in a backflip from Council in late 2015.
With no parks to sell off for development it was difficult to see why the Council still needed a property company until the unpopular sale of a much used parcel of Cleveland CBD car park in Wynyard Street was unveiled in September 2016. This deal will enable real estate company L.J. Hooker to build a new office.
Councillors should be considering if ratepayers’ interests would be better served by shutting down the Redland Investment Corporation and adopting a more traditional and transparent way of dealing with Council’s real estate.
One item of business discussed recently by councillors is recruitment of the Council’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
It’s understood that not all councillors are happy with the person picked by the Mayor and divisional councillors to replace current boss Bill Lyon.
Bloomfield Street scuttlebut suggests that the new CEO has had close links with former LNP leader Campbell Newman.
Council’s response to the Ombudsman’s report
Another item of business strangely absent from the next meeting’s agenda is Council’s response to the Ombudsman’s recent report:
In his investigative report, the Ombudsmant raised important questions about the integrity of decision-making by Redland City Council’s Mayor Karen Williams, CEO Bill Lyon and General Counsel Andrew Ross. This was discussed in an earlier Redlands2030 story:
Other business not on the agenda
Here’s a few examples of issues which councillors could usefully be discussing publicly at a Council general meeting:
- Changes to the current planning scheme and the extent to which the community should be given further consultation opportunities.
- In particular, changes to planning scheme and local law requirements about tree vegetation to better protect Redland City’s koalas.
- Redland City Council’s submission about the south east Queensland regional plan – why are the Commonwealth lands in Birkdale included in the draft Plan’s urban footprint?
- It’s time for an full and open discussion about the Council’s poorly conceived plans for development at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek.
- Improvements to the way Council consults and engages with the community, including use of community panels.
- Status of the 2010 Cleveland Centre Master Plan which doesn’t have any real force according to discussion at the last council meeting.
- Despite election promises to the effect that traffic congestion would be “fixed” there’s no evidence available to the community that any useful action is being taken.
- What should actions should Redland City Council be taking to help North Stradbroke Island’s community transition to a post mining future?
William Ross Park
Local residents recently noticed marks on trees and survey activity in William Ross Park and raised concerns with councillors. The Council’s official response is:
Council is currently investigating an upgrade of William Ross Park, including new amenities and park infrastructure focussing on all ages play.
The marks on trees in the park are as a result of a survey recently undertaken by Council in preparation for this project. The marked trees are not being removed; they were marked to show which trees had been surveyed, a common technique used to record surveyed objects. The markings are non-toxic, and will fade over time. No trees will be removed as a result of this project.
A major part of this upgrade will be community engagement and Council plans to speak with local schools and residents in the coming months to get their thoughts on the project.
Community consultation about coastal adaptation
Redland City is soon to begin community engagement on a Coastal Adaptation Strategy which will confirm community values and long-term concerns for coastline areas allowing the Council to better plan for the long-term sustainable management of coastal and foreshore areas.
Birkdale Waste Transfer Station to close temporarily
The Birkdale Waste Transfer Station will temporarily close from Monday 13 February to Sunday 5 March 2017 as part of the final stage of landfill remediation works at the site.
Attending the next Council meeting
The next general meeting of Redland City Council is on Wednesday 8 February commencing at 9:30 am in the Council Chambers, Bloomfield Street Cleveland.
Here’s a link to the 8 February meeting agenda.
Members of the public can observe proceedings from the Public Gallery (except the item to be discussed in closed session).
Members of the public may also address the Council meeting. This can be an excellent way to raise public awareness of an issue. Details about applying to address a meeting are available here.
With such an empty meeting agenda, there should be plenty of time for the Mayor and councillors to hear residents express any concerns about what Council is doing, or not doing.
Redlands2030 – 5 February 2017