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?
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
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
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
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.