More than 900 ideas have been put forward by the community to help with development of south east Queensland’s new regional plan. If you haven’t told the Government what you think there’s still time to have your say, but only until 5:00 pm on Wednesday 29 June.
Ideas can be suggested on the Government’s Shaping SEQ website under five key themes:
Exploring the ‘Live’ theme
The Live theme is meant to be about:
creating a diverse range of enjoyable and attractive subtropical places which contribute to and reflect SEQ’s unique lifestyle.
But it’s more about crowding people into a ‘Sardine City’ where the can is 200 km long stretching from Noosa in the north to Coolangatta in the south.
The Shaping SEQ web site does a poor job of explaining what sort of ideas the general public could usefully contribute to the “Live’ theme. There is inadequate framing of the available choices – rapid growth is assumed with the Government saying:
As some areas within the region move toward more compact communities, good quality design becomes more important.
Which is planner speak for “we are going to pack people into smaller dwellings closer together”.
Questions that might kick off more usefull discussion about the region’s future could include:
- What is good development?
- What are the places I like to see developed in the future?
- What is important to keep in our lifestyle, as the region moves forward?
No looking back, 200 km city straight ahead
The Government’s preliminary consultation fails to make the public aware of previous discussions about regional planning in south east Queensland. It’s as if it never happened, as if communities haven’t already spent thousands of hours over many years telling governments what they want.
Redlanders have made significant contribution to previous iterations of the SEQ Regional plan, yet Shoreline and Priority Development Areas at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek all breach Urban Footprint provisions of the existing SEQ Regional Plan.
Non-complience with the current regional plan begs the question: why bother with a regional plan if it’s going to be regularly ignored by the State Government and irresponsible councils?
What the community is currently experiencing is uncontrolled urban sprawl, sprawl unmatched by other metropolitan areas of Australia.
Peter Spearitt’s assessment of growth allowed by poor planning and governance alerts us to the dismal prospect of a 200 kilometre city from Noosa to Coolangatta. The Government doesn’t want to know if we’re happy about this.
Surely a regional plan should be concerned with the region as a whole and planning for the non urban areas (or more correctly the peri urban areas) or the Regional Landscape and Rural Production Area of the existing plan. But non urban areas barely rate a mentioned in this ‘Live’ theme.
The region’s outdoor lifestyle is underpinned by places such as national parks, state forests, beaches, rivers, coastal reserves, major water storages, Moreton Bay and the open waters of the Tasman Sea. All these places are sad omissions from the web site’s narrative.
There is a Fast Fact reference stating “there are 53 national parks on the mainland of SEQ contributing to around 350,000ha of publicly accessible areas”. Without clarification many people might assume this to be a statement of “well done”. But this public estate is about a third the size of the greater Sydney network (despite the regions being comparable in size). The SEQ national park system is woefully inadequate for the conservation needs of the region, never mind the outdoor recreation needs of the expected growing population.
The demise of koalas in the State’s south east is widely seen as an international tragedy. But the Government doesn’t want to find out if growth should be limited to maintain biodiversity in areas close to where people are already living
In addition, the available public greenspace is poorly located in relation to existing and proposed population centres.
There is also a need for a proper recognition and planning of the peri-urban (semi rural) areas of south east Queensland in the SEQ Regional Plan. A couple of relevant publications include:
In all, the Department’s planners might have done a better job by bringing recent research into focus as opposed to asking people to make a wish list!
Industry v community consultation
It is also interesting to see the words used on its public web page and the words used in more formalised consultation with industry groups. While the public gets feel good buzz words like”well designed communities” the property development and building industries get “attitudes to increasing population growth”.
It seems like the “Live” theme is really about finding what degradation of current lifestyles people will accept, as they are crammed into apartments and small lot housing.
What’s missing is a discussion about community values – instead the Government is more interested in urban design and how it can be better utilised in creating places that not only function, but also result in places that people want to live in.
In reality most recent ‘built form’ outcomes are seen as poor by the communities on which they’ve been inflicted. This raises questions about the building ‘standards’ that are determined for us by engineers and planners: standards relating to road hierarchies; lot sizes; site coverage; park design; car parking rates; or street landscaping to name a few.
Walk around any new residential estate and you see the sameness created by the collective adherence to standards. Will the SEQ Regional Plan advocate for a tossing out of these standards? We know the answer to that, but hey the Government wants your ideas!
The development industry loves sameness and standards. It provides the certainty that it craves. Only when they want to push the envelope and achieve greater development intensity do they call for more flexibility. With standards they know what is expected and generally they arrive with a fixed template they can apply to most sites with some variations as to local site conditions.
Good design and places do come at a cost. Whether this is: requiring car parking to be placed underground or at the rear of premises; lessening building heights or bulk; providing more outdoor spaces for socialising within centres; or providing more facilities and trees with our public parks. These all have a cost component above what is required by the ‘standards’.
But how important is neighbourhood character and quality of life?
If you don’t want a future in a small standard sized box in a 200 kilometre city, let the Government know what you think.
The Government’s call for ideas closes at 5 pm on Wednesday 29 June. You can share your ideas on the Shaping SEQ website.
You can also share your views with the local community via Redlands2030. Tell us what you think by comment to this post or send an email to thereporter@Redlands2030.net
Redlands2030 – 27 June 2016