Residents in Victoria Point will find out on Wednesday if a major developer will be allowed to convert a court mandated environmental buffer zone into 230 extra shopping centre car parks.
This long running saga has already seen local residents in Sycamore Parade betrayed by Redland City Council when it handed back its trusteeship of this open space land to the State Government.
On 8 October 2014 the Council unanimously approved a mayoral minute (Item 12.1.2) which put forward flimsy excuses for handing back the land because of alleged social problems. The real game plan, enabling the expansion of Victoria Point Town Centre, was not disclosed.
The State Labor Government has been equally complicit in allowing Lancini Property Development the opportunity to snap up this land parcel to the detriment of neighbouring residents, without proper community consultation.
After the local 2016 government elections the newly elected Redland City Council voted to ask the State Government to reverse the deal.
The resolution approved unanimously at Council’s general meeting on 27 April 2016 was:
That Council resolves that the Chief Executive Officer writes to the Minister, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, and advises that Council has changed its view regarding its earlier request to relinquish the trusteeship of the property described as 32A Teak Lane, Victoria Point; and requests that trusteeship be returned to Council to maintain it as public open space.
It’s pretty simple stuff: have an election, the people have their say and a smart Council listens and does what the people want even if changing its mind gets reported as a backflip.
But the State Labor Government, only in office because its predecessor didn’t listen, wasn’t listening to anyone, excect perhaps the shopping centre developer. The newly elected Council (and residents) were fobbed off with statements such as:
- A decision was made by the Minister to revoke the trusteeship in October 2015
- The Department has made a valid offer of sale to the developer
- There is no valid reason from their perspective to change this position
At it’s meeting on Wednesday 23 November Redland City Council will consider a report (Item 11.3.6) by officers which proposes that a shopping centre developer be allowed to build car parks on a well treed environmental corridor which currently provides resident with some buffer from the noise and disturbance of a large shopping centre.
The Teak Lane development application
On 21 March 2016, immediately after the 2016 local government elections, Council received development application MCU013719 which proposed to convert the existing Teak Lane environmental buffer zone into 230 sealed car parks.
The officers report to Council notes that there is a conflict between the proposed “urban activity”and the land’s current zoning Open Space.
The officers then mount arguments that this conflict should be ignored because it “does not strongly achieve the intent of the Open Space Zone code” even though “It is possible that the potential does exist to make this site a useful space that complies with the general intent of the Open Space Zone.”
The officers report recounts that in the Teak Lane area over many years there have been well documented instances of ongoing anti-social behaviour which has affected the wider community, in particular the nearby residents and the tenants and visitors to the Town Centre Shopping Centre.
In preparing their report Council officers appear to place undue reliance on the developers’ self serving Social Impact Report which attributes various social problems including drug use to three factors:
- Locality demographics
- Site proximity to the Victoria Point State High School
- Characteristics of the site.
If there really are significant social issues affecting residents in this area then they should be resolved through a well managed consultation process run by competent experts or perhaps this could be dealt with by a community jury.
To say that the only way to fix the problem is to let the shopping centre developer have the land, clear the trees and build more car parks is ludicrous.
The community opposes this development
The development application is impact assessible which means that the public had an opportunity to make comments on the proposed development.
The community feedback was that there were 31 properly made submissions and ten other submissions which were accepted.
Only 9 submitters (less than 25%) were in favor of the development, according to the officers report.
A petition was also received with approximately 300 signatures.
Will councillors support residents – or the developer?
After the 2016 local government elections many Redlanders hoped that their voting would result in better Council decision making with more focus on caring for the community and safeguarding the environment.
Many residents will also have hoped for Council decision making to become more transparent and accountable.
On Wednesday councillors have an opportunity to demonstrate to residents that things have improved by rejecting the development application.
Councillors should then follow up with a strongly worded message to the State Government saying it is time to listen to the people, not the developers.
But if councillors give the thumbs up to this development application then this plan shows what the local residents can expect instead of their environmental buffer zone.
If you want to contact councillors to let them know what you think about this issue, here are their contact details.