Trees, donkeys and an elephant in this week’s Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editorLetters this week are about trees, the Draft City Plan and Toondah Harbour and the letters really do feature donkeys and an elephant.

The importance of trees in the Redlands

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This tree will tell no more stories

According to our mayor, when she opened a recent workshop on Aboriginal Scar Trees: “Trees tell stories”.

According to the draft city plan very few trees in Cleveland will be telling tales in the future – they will simply have their tongues cut out like the one pictured to be replaced with more and taller blocks of units.

The Poinciana tops the crest of Redland City Council. Now they are just being topped. The Latin inscription at the foot of the Council crest is: “Crescat” May it Grow – “Floreat” May it Flourish.

The only things likely to grow and flourish now are developers. Public or private land; down the trees come.

But we have an opportunity – with the new plan up for comment. Let’s all promote a green city rather than a concrete one.

Brian Whitelaw

Draft City plan is bad…really bad

The Redlands Draft City Plan 2015 is so bad that it is hard to respond to.

Fundamentally the State framework is wrong. The Performance Based planning model is a failure because it presumes a development outcome that the developer wants.

The community expects that when a zoning states 3-storeys that is the end of it but the planning model allows more by tweaking ‘outcomes’. The 16 unit development proposed for St Rita’s was considered allowable by the developer because the individual buildings were of similar form to nearby 2-storey houses. Ignored density, traffic etc.

The elephant in the room is the ‘injurious affection’ law that prevents councils from rectifying major errors in Plans for fear of compensation claims. Queensland is the only State where this is in play.

Margaret Hardy

Only donkeys could vote to develop Toondah

Would donkeys vote for Toondah?

Would it vote for Toondah?

In Redlands, our leaders are donkeys.

These donkeys have set the city on course for failure – big time – at Toondah Harbour. They bray about illusory benefits of a brazen overdevelopment for this environmentally-challenging, clogged bottleneck site. Just like cussed donkeys that won’t budge, they ostentatiously ignore even basic tenets of urban planning and simply refuse to recognise the eminently suitable location for a prime development attraction in Cleveland: Raby Bay.

Two development options:

  1. a cramped waterfront scythed by stiff south-easterlies 300 days a year, protected Ramsar marine environment, waterlogged and prone to storm surge flooding, heavily polluted, muddy at low tide (remember the hapless Governor Sir George Gipps in 1842), already problematic barge and water-taxi parking and traffic; or
  2. a benign north-facing orientation sheltered from prevailing winds, expansive kilometre stretch of underused waterfront parkland, no mangroves, sandy beachlets rather than mudflats, pleasant walking distance from both the railway station and CBD, no traffic bottleneck …

Which option would a shrewd local government plump for? Why are the obdurate donkeys plumping instead to turn Toondah Harbour into a choked mini-me Gold Coast? It’s not as if they possess any special planning insight or sensitivity that could justify choosing Toondah over Raby Bay. No, this is dumb-ass politics.

The map of Cleveland tells you everything. The eastern flank facing across Moreton Bay to the islands is historic and ’natural’ in character: green. In contrast, the north-facing water frontage of canal estates is man-made, ‘artificial’: blue.

The competent planner knows how to approach Cleveland’s binary natural/artificial urban condition (and to emphasise this authentic attribute of the city’s identity): exploit it. Reinforce and protect the historic/natural green identity of the east peninsula, and enhance and consolidate the contrasting ‘artificial’, north-facing blue water front.

This is Planning 101: analyse the entire urban context, not just a single site in isolation.

At Toondah Harbour, the barge and water taxi facilities are dreadful. Parking has grown like Topsy. Swathes of sun-scorched bitumen disfigure the waterfront. It’s a confused, tatty, dismal entry to Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island. Third world, as someone accurately noted.

Fix the port. Throw in a cafe and restaurant for good measure. Above all, reinforce the natural character, a fitting prelude to Minjerribah.

Pay for fixing the port not out of public funds but by allocating development rights at Raby Bay – including the right to build on portions of public land if necessary, and to construct wide ‘finger wharves’ out over the water, like Sydney’s Walsh Bay where the likes of Russell Crowe enjoy apartment living: create new ‘land’! Realise Raby Bay’s natural potential as Cleveland’s focal leisure destination.

Both developments can be undertaken rationally, successfully.

Why has Lang Walker not twigged to this potential double bite of the Cleveland cherry?

As things stand, Redlands ratepayers will be exposed to exorbitant and ongoing infrastructure and maintenance costs if the unsuitable Toondah Harbour development goes ahead. Ask the team of leading urban design professionals who held a design workshop in 2014 to assess the question of where best to develop in Cleveland. Their unanimous answer? Raby Bay.

Seize the vision for Cleveland from the donkeys. Banish them out to pasture. It’s our city’s future and our money they are messing with.

Jackie Cooper
Point Lookout

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Published by Redlands2030 – 2 October 2015

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8 thoughts on “Trees, donkeys and an elephant in this week’s Letters to the Editor

  1. Re: Second option. There are seagrass beds all along the front of the Raby Bay Beaches. The Marine Park is not the place for future development. Why a second option. What do waterfront units add to the quality of life for existing residents? If you build a multi story building in an area zoned for that purpose the higher floors already get bay views. If you add more high denisty zoned areas it wont stop the ultimate deveolpment of the existing areas so you simply add to the problem.
    Ruining the Raby Bay foreshore and damaging the Marine Park won’t help the ecosystem at Toondah.

  2. Why propose a second option: Raby Bay was planned. It has open space. Don’t mess it up. It wont save Toondah to undo the planning already finished at Toondah.

  3. This development will in a few years be like the Fisher and Paykel site at Thornlands. A big white elephant.

  4. When the original Toondah plan was released and the President of the Institute of Architects QLD Chapter explained ever so succinctly how Toondah was the wrong place for such a development and that Cleveland/Raby Bay was the more obvious situation with the transport hubs, shopping precincts etc close at hand, one would have thought that expert opinions would have been taken into account when individuals wanted development that catered for the want of development for a coffee and a meal with a view of the water. Notwithstanding the RAMSAR conditions of migratory seabirds and red listed endangered dugong feeding areas of sea grass meadows. No, our council apparently listens to the developers information. Even when we are facing the loss of properties like the Willards property, our council has to take into consideration – you can’t buy history, you can’t manufacture history, Our local history is what makes the Redlands different to every other district in Australia to be of interest.

  5. This morning I had to pick people up at Forest Lake, a suburb on the fringe of Brisbane, but this morning at 6am considering there are thousands of homes there, the landscaping on the road reserves and along frontages of homes makes it a nice leafy place to live, I then travelled along through Graceville, Sherwood and Corinda and again the large old trees on the footpaths and along boubdaries of homes make it a beautiful place to live, the prices are high in this area and one of the main selling points are the trees, in Forest Lake it is the trees, even in parts of Mt Cotton it is the trees and landscaping, since 2012 the Mayor and Councillor of Division 6 have paid lip service to good urban design, there has been NO retaining trees throughout housing estates to give that cool green feel to an estate, When do they get it, the developer if allowed will go for the slash and burn easy option but there has to be political will and Council officers need to step up to the mark with good decision making for a change. The council organisation has become lap dogs to the political wishes, Cleveland and Thorneside and many of the older suburbs have great trees, they are valuable assets to a surburb when is ” Williams Will destroy what we Love” going to start to think about the long term big picture. Only have to see the latest poor results at Thornlands, Mt Cotton, The great Error opps Era of Capalaba and the list goes on and on.
    Jackie Cooper your comments are great, wish the Williams Team were listening

  6. Well said Jackie. Why are the Council members such idiots? They get an idea in their head and they don’t budge! They don’t give a rats about what the experts say nor what the community wants – so obviously it’s about feathering their own nests. Something has to be done. Tick tock Karen and cronies. The elections are looming nearer every day and when the day finally comes – you’ll all be out on your `asses’ as Jackie would say!

  7. Yes, Brian Whitelaw, I noticed this tree had been amputated last week. I hope it survives. We need more trees, not fewer.

  8. Well done, Jackie Cooper. That’s exactly what should happen! Fix the port, but the high-rises and the marina should go to Raby Bay. People will love it! Then we have both – natural and man-made.

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