Redlands rural future in the balance

Eddie Santagiuliana Redlands Mayor 1994-2001

Eddie Santagiuliana Redlands Mayor 1994-2001

Former Mayor Eddie Santaguliana  said that development in the Redlands should be evenly balanced: half town, half bush.

He envisaged urban development concentrated around Cleveland, Capalaba and Victoria Point, with the southern half of the Redlands remaining a largely rural area.

Eddie’s common sense planning concept is still with us. A little over 50% of the Redlands mainland is currently categorised as Regional Landscape & Rural Production Area under the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031. The balance is included within the City’s Urban Footprint.

This evenly balanced approach to development is supported by the Redlands 2030 Community Plan.

Can Redland City retain its balanced approach, with an even mix of urban and rural development?

Who wants urban sprawl?

Sourced from Redland City Rural Redlands report

Redland City – rural and urban areas (click to enlarge)

Urban sprawl is expensive for the community. Costs to provide infrastructure like roads, water supply and schools are much higher for remote “greenfield” areas than when development is near existing urban areas. Each block of new residential land can cost the community (taxpayers and ratepayers) more than $120,000 for infrastructure development.

South-east Queensland is a classic example of what happens when urban development is not properly planned. We now have a “city” that stretches 200 km with “freeway-led suburbanisation” from Tweed Heads to Noosa, according to Peter Spearitt who wrote  The 200km City: Brisbane, The Gold Coast, and The Sunshine Coast . He notes that in 2005 the State Government “belatedly recognised that urban growth was proceeding in an extraordinarily haphazard manner” and introduced the first  statutory Regional Plan for south east Queensland.

This plan identified an ‘urban footprint’ and gave developers some certainty about where new subdivisions could take place. It also made plain what rural land would stay for productive purposes.

The current South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 protects a large part of Redland City from urban development by categorising it as Rural Landscape and Rural Production Area (RLRPA) .

Redland City’s long term Community Plan, approved in 2010,  recognizes the importance of retaining farmlands. It includes a goal to “retain agricultural land for primary production and to retain the Redlands’ farming heritage”. The Plan includes the following target:

The urban footprint as defined by the South-East Queensland Regional Plan is not extended into rural or agricultural areas.

Redlands rural and peri-urban future

Redlands Rural Precincts (click to enlarge)

Redlands Rural Precincts (click to enlarge)

Following the approval of the Community Plan, the Redland City Council commissioned a study to establish a reinvigorated strategic direction for rural areas of the Redlands and to inform development for the City’s next planning scheme, City Plan 2015.

The Redlands Rural Futures Strategy was prepared by AECOM in conjunction with Think Food and Energetic Communities. AECOM is a well-credentialed multi-disciplined consultancy firm. It brought to the project companies versed with solutions for rural and peri-urban economies.

The proposed strategy gave direction that could reinvigorate the rural areas and rural enterprises based on a range of rural, tourism, peri-urban, outdoor recreation and rural living activities. It also recognised conservation needs, especially for koala habitat. The strategy proposed seven specific precincts and a summary of proposed activities for each precinct.

The Redland Bay Food Precinct is a major pillar of the proposed Rural Futures Strategy. Valuable aspects of the Redland Bay Food Precinct include:

  • Only remaining area of strategic cropping land
  • Attractive agricultural landscapes
  • Concentration of nurseries and market gardens
  • Large properties
  • Some large barns and chicken sheds
  • Extensive remnant bushland areas

This Precinct generally coincides with an area of land now proposed for the 4,000 home Shoreline development.

The Redlands Rural Futures Strategy was received and “noted” by the currently elected Council in 2013. It has been watermarked “Background study, not endorsed Council policy”. It is not known if the Council’s secretive Industry Reference Group was given an opportunity to review and comment on the Rural Futures Study, before the Plan was considered by the Council.

The first indication of how serious the current Council is about a rural future for the Redlands is likely to be when the draft City Plan 2015 is released for public consultation.

 Great food, wine, and local cuisine

Food for 'Restaurant Redlands" ?

Food for ‘Restaurant Redlands” ?

In 2014 Tourism Australia launched its Restaurant Australia marketing strategy to increase the economic value of tourism.

Conducted across 15 of Australia’s key tourism markets, the research shows that ‘great food, wine, and local cuisine’ is a major factor influencing holiday decision making (at 38%), ranking third ahead of world class beauty and natural environments (37%).

In response to the growing demand globally for food and wine as part of the travel experience Tourism Australia has evolved our ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ campaign to put the spotlight on Australia’s finest array of produce served in the most stunning locations in the world.

If your business provides food, wine and beverages experiences that international visitors will enjoy you are encouraged to share it through our Restaurant Australia campaign.

 Increasing local food production to support tourism would be a logical opportunity for the Redland Bay Food Precinct. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking did not feature significantly in the current Council’s Economic Development Framework, despite the Redlands’ past reputation as a salad bowl.

Shoreline would un-balance development

Shoreline farming land 10 November 2014 comp

Redlands’ rural future is in the balance

Plans for the  massive south Redland Bay Shoreline housing development are being considered by the Redland City Council despite the fact that this area is in the Rural Landscape and Rural Production Area. The area proposed for housing development is a significant part of the proposed “Redland Bay Food Precinct”.

Any decision to approve the proposed Shoreline real estate project would undermine prospects for the Redlands to retain a rural future.

This would put an end to “balanced” development in the Redlands.

Further Reading

Peri-urban case study: South-East Queensland by Darryl Low Choy et al,  2007

Redlands2030 – 10 April 2015

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

10 thoughts on “Redlands rural future in the balance

  1. There is something wrong with a planning system that only delivers a slow (or fast) drip of land for urban development. That seems to be the sole aim of the Councils City Plan.

    What does the city look like when there is no more land to subdivide or the community finally sees the folly (urban) planning.

    The growth rates experienced in the last 20 years or so will see a doubling of the population every 30 years…the lead time for major infrastructure probably exceeds this and yet we continue with the growth mantra leading to sprawl, congestion and declining livability for existing residents.

    A debate about population growth is long over due, especially when it is driven by surcharged levels of immigration from overseas.

    • this is a good point. Strategic planning for adequate land and infrastructure used to be the job of Councils, until they figured they could get rid of all their staff and let the developers do the sums (to their own advantage, of course). Compare how many media / spin doctors are employed in Council vs strategic land use planners / engineers = 10 / 1 ! Sad but true.
      We need factual basis for future planning not developer lead thought balloons.
      Incidently, the population rate in Redlands is decreasing – remind me again why we need more land for development ?

  2. I do not see the current Council’s commitment to balance, environment, bushland, infrastructure in any of their plans. The vision seems to be bricks and mortar wherever this can occur – residential mainly and some commercial. Without the concurrent infrastructure in the form of roads, schools, shops, access to transport, etc. Where is the plan for roads, for integrated transport, assistance for seniors and disabled, easier shopping, parking, etc.

    • Rob…. Good social planning is what is missing. Maybe a community centre, 10,000 people planned probably be children in that mix, as Redland Bay State School has over 1000 students and they have been building classrooms on their ovals, dont think they can handle many more. Victoria Point High School has over 1200 students and they are taking the ongoing increase in population from the bay Islands and new estates popping up daily in Redland Bay and Victoria point.
      There has always been poor public transport in Mt Cotton and Shoreline planned at the southern end of Redlands is twice as big. Friends who have moved to Redland Bay tell me it takes them over 40 minutes just to get to Capalaba most mornings.
      Much of the land along the foreshore of our rural lands in the southern part of the city have major Midge and mossie problems, wonder who will be expected to deal with that, I expect the ratepayers in the rest of the city.
      Rob there is no balance in this Council, it could be all about who donated to the election campaign and making sure the developers getting a huge discount at the expense to the ratepayers.

      • What a load of rubbish that it takes 40 minutes to get from Redland Bay to Capalaba in the mornings. I have been travelling between Redland Bay and Capalaba for 6 years twice every day and the journey is a comfortable 20 minutes. Maybe you should not quote a third party if you have not verified the information or doesn’t that suit your aims?

  3. Unfortunately the non volcanic land is not viable for farming and the costs of primary production have risen so much imported goods, and goods from large farms as have been established in the Bundaberg region are for the public interest and good. Even moreso when you consider the harmful pesticides and weedicide sprays that farmers have to use to produce their crop.

    It might be time to reconsider our little backyard vegetable plots though?

    We need to retain “the green” but it ought to be bush with public access and trails with native animal habitats, not unviable farm land and smelly chicken shed farms. We are living in the 21st century, not the 20th century and we must go forward.

    • Sadly Marc you must not be aware of the ongoing farming on this land south of Redland Bay, there are small crops growing all year. I know farmers that grow beautiful corn, only yesterday the people farming this land have just planted more crops.
      There are Farmers markets all over SEQ, even Capalaba State School has successful markets weekly, Wellington Farm grows crops on site and sells from a small shed successful and maybe a visit to Muriel Palmer in Seaview Road Mt Corton will give you the values of growing organic and is financially supporting 2 families.
      The Lunar Fam at Birkdale is another successful organic farm and Franko has a great financial connection with Farm Connect.
      I agree getting people to grown their own veggies is such a great idea, as a member of ROGI irregularly meet great gardeners sharing their ideas.
      The tracks and trails throughout Redlands are accessible for all, horses, cyclist and walkers all enjoy our great outdoors. There are maps for these trails at the Council officers, these trails are throughout all suburbs. Actually you can cycle or walk on trails that go from Redland Bay, through Victoria Point, Cleveland, Wellington Point, Thorneside, into Brisbane, through Wynnum, there is now a special walking bridge over the Gateway Bridge and into the north of the river this trail will finally travel through to a Bribie is called the Moreton Bay trail. Let’s support our local successful farmers and buy fresh fruit and veggies.

  4. Yesterday I had the pleasure of driving a visitor around the Redlands, my children call it the Toni Tiki Tour, it started in Sheldon and drove along Boundary Road and travelled south, the road from Victoria Point to Redlands Bay is a traffic nightmare, two lanes of congestion, and yet more homes being developed in Redland Bay. I recalled driving along Queen Street, School of Arts Road and Collins Street only a few years back and buying bananas on the side of the road and fresh veggies. As we travelled south the view of the bay and islands was breathtaking and the farms under cultivation, I told my friend that this area is owned by developers and they pushing to have it covered in small blocks and a three metre fence along the road, she couldn’t believe what short sightedness some Councillors have. The beautiful rich soil covered in concrete, as we drove down Scenic Road, such a suitable name, the land is ready to be planted with crops, more amazing farming land. The greed driving this poor outcome for this land, which should be protected for farming is shameful, farming is viable and as more people are shoved into Redlands the need for food increases. I recall a farmer who was elected to council back in 1994 and within weeks of being elected his push to have Redland Bay rezoned for residential was mind blowing, thankfully the Government at the time put a hold on any rezoning, but the sneaky ones who benefited got a report logged showing farming was not viable and cheaper to grow tomatoes in Bundaberg, The 1998 Planning scheme was approved and all this farming land gone, Coming back through Double Jump and Springacre Roads and Woodlands Drive I explained that landholders are pushing to have these blocks covered in concrete all this outside of the urban footprint, they have the ear of the Mayor and some councillors, I hope Eddie Dreams is fulfilled, as this is nothing more than bad planning and would be a massive financial costs to the rest of the Redland Ratepayers. The property owners and developers make the millions and the rest of the community pick up the tab,

  5. As only 6% of Australia is arable land, an agronomist I once volunteered with mentioned that some of Redlands volcanic fertile soils are up to 30 feet thick, and we are quickly covering them with concrete any that could be used for production of food close to major population areas has to be a plus for Australia. When you consider our recent bad examples of imported food, local has to be the way to go!

    • Australia is today the most expensive country in the world to live in accordng to news report this week and considering we are seeing more homeless people, more pensioners and low income families struggling to pay what is said to be the highest council rates in SEQ, with the Big Two, Woolies and Coles having dominated the food market in Australia for decades while Feds were asleep at the wheel far too long. (Cr Elliott convinced ex-Mayor Melva, Aldi was not needed in Alex Hils but lost their case in court ..a needless waste of money). I agree with Jan some Redlands rich red soil must be reserved for food production on which our lives depend. Food must be affordable for everyone.

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