Regional Plan prepares us for the big squeeze

Flyover near Brisbane Airport

Flyover near Brisbane Airport Photo

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:

Grow Live Sustain Prosper Connect

Exploring the ‘Live’ theme

Sardines, packed in the can

Sardines, packed in the can

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

Life in the fast lane?

Life in the fast lane?

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.

Regional lifestyle?

Farmland in Southern Redlands

Farmland in Southern Redlands, soon to be covering housing.

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.

Do koalas contribute to regional livability?

Do koalas contribute to regional livability?

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.

Standards, slipping?

Planning is improved

Standard housing

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?

Community Action

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


Redlands2030 – 27 June 2016


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

5 thoughts on “Regional Plan prepares us for the big squeeze

  1. R2030

    You guys seemed to have nailed it again. The Regional Plan this time around looks more and more a pale imitation of the first version.

    Isn’t planning about some end point or a target. Managing growth and more growth does seem like a plan…it is responding to trends and forces. More like hands off rather than trying to find or make the future.

    And the trend is destiny approach at the Regional level has infected the Redland City council’s draft City Plan…

    The current “discussion the regional plan looks more and more like a process looking for a problem!

    My suggestion, the Premier should replace the Minister for Planning asap. She seems more and more like the LNP’s Geoff Seeney…top down “consultation”.

  2. Seeing photo of flyover in Bne reminded me of the time people had a say on how Capalaba Central should be developed. It was to be a people friendly place but as you can all see today, its a place for park, shop, go. There was to be an overhead walkway between the Central strip shops and Redland Bay Rd connecting with Capalaba Park shops. There was, in the Plan, a flyover from cnr Mt Cotton/Redland Bay Rds where the newly built apartment building is now ready for occupancy, and where, we the people, were fooled into believing there would only be some 52 units built there that Cr Gleeson and Mayor Williams were fully aware of for best part of a year when we were shocked into learning by front page of BB that there were in place of the units to be six 6-storey apt buildings. As a result, the flyover from there through to Alex Hills never happened and today we have gridlock in the a.m. traffic. Residents have complained too about the tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars wasted on creating a so- called beautiful park made up of several spindly non-native pine trees, obviously with no public consultation, that we all have to live with where some sections on trees have long bare patches that will never grow into anything worth looking at…feel embarrassed for tourists…noticed last evening the lovely welcoming stone marker with the words “gateway to the Redlands”…then noticed a ribbon of light from base of each tree to the top straight down the centre…that ends in ‘nothingness’. Asked my driver’s opinion, reply ‘unimpressed’. Anyone lighting and decorating a Christmas tree finishes it off with normally a bright shining star on top…without which it would look ‘unfinished’ …as this corner does. You can’t get the best outcome when there is no public consultation. Seems to me that Cr Gleeson and predecessor have acted like a ‘one man band’….shame. 3 leafy trees as we see in Victoria Point’s lakeside, adorned with pretty flickering fairy lights would have been a lovely setting had our local operatives consulted with experts at Indigiscapes who could advise on one or more lovely native species to add a bright spot in an otherwise unfriendly Capalaba CBD.

  3. So that is what we are in for! It definitely will be squeezy and we will be adding to the list of threatened species if this type of development goes ahead. Where are the plans to protect the sort of life style, e.g. enjoying the outdoors, natural bush areas and so on, or are intensely developed areas such as Toondah Harbour, Shoreline are going to become the norm?

    I would like to see developments that are designed so that people get the best out of the peri-urban environment and the natural environment. It seems to me that SEQ is going to become overdeveloped concentrating even an larger population while the rest of Qld remains neglected. I wonder what happened to the idea of decentralising, something which we desperately need in Qld?

  4. Sadly we have once again become aware that Mayor Williams has approved more development in breach of the State Regional Plan and the Redlands planning scheme. These development are in areas of scenic landscape and are rural NON urban . The two developments in Taylor and Woodlands Drive will set a very unacceptable prescedent, giving other opportunists the chance to get more land in this area approved for development. The state only months ago directed the Council to remove any zoning for development in this same area, just shows how arrogant Mayor Williams is and weak the State Government is for allowing her to ignore professional planning rules. I guess the old ongoing argument “donations by developers” needs to be addressed and how if affects council decisions

  5. The Raby Bay Marina needs to remain as it is. The only enhancement should be , the repainting of the ‘blue’ railings. The ‘cleaning’ of the ‘white’ pillars and the addition of ‘lights’ onto these pillars. This would certainly beautify and add A safety feature to this area as it is quite dark at present. When walking from the train station it is very dark and quite unsafe at present. There are lights on the marina on the other side and they look very inviting.

    I walk to the train station every day, and I am always hearing from people waiting at the marina saying….. ” IT IS REALLY LOVELY DOWN HERE” and I want to say to them ” YES I AGREE, HOW ABOUT LETTING OUR COUNCIL KNOW THAT!!!”

    The uniqueness and beauty of the Village Community shopping and living is something to be treasured and preserved. Once you let the high rise and high density in, you will never get this back. IT WILL TOO LATE THEN!!!



    I honestly hope that RCC can put some measures in place to ensure that it maintains it ‘uniqueness”. for the future generations to enjoy.

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