Why adopt the Redlands Draft City Plan?

One of six apartment towers of the Rhodes project under construction in Capalaba

The current planning scheme allows for plenty of development like the six tower Rhodes project

Redlands’ Draft City Plan 2015 is currently undergoing review by recently elected councillors in a series of non-public workshops. During their review process, councillors should be asking themselves this very simple question:

Why should we approve the new plan?

The current planning scheme, implemented in 2006 by the pro-development Seccombe council, allows ample growth in Redland City – many would say it allows too much inappropriate development.

It’s taken many years for the Redlands community to become familiar with the current planning scheme, what development it allows and what it doesn’t.

The draft plan put forward last year by the pro-development Williams council (2012-16) lacks any justification for adoption.It was a sloppy piece of work which offers no benefits for the community as a whole – though it may advantage particular landowners and developers.

When the document was put out for public consultation there was a massive community response which rejected most of the Plan. On a per capita basis the Redlands draft plan attracted 10 times the response to the Gold Coast’s draft city plan.

The Redlands local government election returned a majority for councillors that didn’t belong to the team which put forward the Draft City Plan 2015.

The best course of action for the new Council would be to jettison the flawed Draft City Plan 2015 because anything built on poor foundations usually turns out to be a mess.

Otherwise, the document is going to require a very thorough line by line review with councillors ensuring that they understand the implications of each and every departure from the current planning scheme.

Councillors may even need to commission a peer review by competent planning experts (with no vested interests) to fully comprehend the risks to the Redlands community embedded in the Draft City Plan 2015.

A poor strategic framework!

Planners and lawyers agree that “Strategic Framework” carries the most weight in the legal interpretation of a planning scheme. Problems for the Draft City Plan 2015 start with its poorly written Strategic Framework. This is supposed to set the policy direction for the planning scheme, it is fundamental to the interpretation of the Plan.

Yet when compared to the planning schemes of other Councils, and even the existing Redland City Planning scheme, the strategic framework of the Draft City Plan 2015 is poor. It “runs last”, giving little or no attention to vision or the identity of the Redlands.

The vision for the draft City Plan should be clearly aligned to the community’s vision as articulated in the highly regarded Redlands 2030 Community Plan. Sadly, there is no clear “line of sight” between the Draft City Plan and the Community Plan.

No community input

Cr Gleeson - no highrise?

Cr Paul Gleeson campaigning against hi-rise development in Capalaba before the 2012 election.

Evident in the thousands of community submissions is a widespread sense that the Draft City Plan 2015 fails to adequately deal with key community issues such as population growth, small lot housing, traffic congestion, the demise of koala populations, heritage and cultural heritage protection and the visual amenity of the islands and island townships.

The community was not consulted during Council’s preparation of the Draft City Plan 2015 but developers were – through the Development Industry Reference Group (DIRG).

Much more effort is needed to ensure comprehensive community involvement in the plan-making process.

Flawed assumptions

Koalas in Redlands face a grim future if the draft city plan is adopted

Koalas face a grim future if the draft city plan is adopted

Many of the assumptions, preconditions and drivers of the draft plan served up to the community last year have proven to be wrong, out of date or inaccurate.

Some of these issues came to light after the Draft City Plan was placed on public exhibition, but others reflect the flawed and incorrect assumptions on which the Plan was based. Examples include:

  1. The State Government’s projections for population growth in South East Queensland have been significantly reduced and so has the projection for Redland City. Council’s Land Supply Strategy should be revised to take into account the new projections.
  2. The recently released South East Queensland Koala Population Modelling Study (31 August 2015) makes it clear that urban sprawl is systematically destroying koala populations, including those in the Redlands. The icon of Redland City is on the brink of extinction, and a ‘business-as-usual’ approach is a dereliction of responsibility.
  3. A strategic intent of the Turnbull Federal Government is to create the 30 minute city’; the Queensland State Government and all local governments (including Redland City) should support this concept and strive to incorporate this intent through effective planning mechanisms. A bigger population in the Redlands, with more workers commuting to Brisbane City defeats this intent.
  4. Redland City Council’s 11th hour acquisition of the Willards Farm property at a cost of some $1.45 million throws into stark relief Council’s lack of a Heritage Plan. A Heritage Strategy should inform development of a new City Plan.
  5. Council has given preliminary approval to the development of 4,000 homes housing 10,000 people in Southern Redlands (‘Shoreline’). This is not part of the Draft City Plan 2015 and the flow on effects alone from traffic, and provision of infrastructure and services are critical omissions from the draft Plan.
  6. Council and the State Government are promoting the development of 3,600 units housing at least 8,000 people on land reclaimed from Moreton Bay at Toondah Harbour. This is not reflected in the Draft City Plan 2015 either. Again the impacts of congestion, necessary infrastructure and services should have been spelled out in the draft City Plan.
  7. Council and the State Government are also promoting the large scale development of a yet-to-be determined number of dwellings and people on land at Weinam Creek. This development is also not reflected in the Draft City Plan 2015.
  8. The Mayor and the previous Chair of the City Planning and Assessment portfolio gave public assurances that there was no significant change’ to the previous the Redlands Planning Scheme 2006 to create Draft Redland City Plan 2015. These assurances are incorrect. For example, the Draft Redland City Plan 2015 will foster higher density and more small lot development AND the draft City Plan provides for triggers that will lessen the public’s right to be consulted by increasing the proportion of code assessable development and reducing the proportion of impact assessable development.
  9. Further, assurances were made that the Draft Redland City Plan 2015 is to be ‘as prescriptive as possible. A comparison with other Councils in SEQ shows this assertion is incorrect.
  10. Draft City Plan Fact Sheets” were silent on the significant changes to the Zone Codes which would promote even denser development than under the current Redlands Planning Scheme within the existing residential zones meaning the community was not properly informed.

Out of date information

The Draft city Plan is based on an outdated transport plan

The draft plan is based on an old transport plan

The planning horizon adopted for the Draft City Plan is 25 years.

Extracts from the draft City Plan 2015 include:

  • the (draft) planning scheme sets out the Redland City Council’s intention for the future development in the planning scheme area over the next 25 years….the planning scheme horizon has been prepared with a 2041 horizon.
  • the strategic framework has a planning horizon of 2041, by which time the city’s population will have grown to over 200 000. To meet this growth, over 26 000 new dwellings will have to be built in the city and more than 28 000 new jobs created.

A plan with that ambition should be built on the most contemporary and the most reliable information possible.

Back ground studies and Most reports for the draft City Plan 2015 are dated and have a shorter planning horizon than that of the draft City Plan subject of community consultation.

Background studies and most reports for the draft City Plan 2015 are dated and have a shorter planning horizon than that of the draft City Plan itself.

Key documents underpinning the draft City Plan 2015 are clearly outdated as detailed in the table: “Selected Background Studies and Reports as Published by RCC”.

Only one document has a planning horizon approaching the draft planning scheme, that being the questionable “Redland Land Supply Review”.

A key issue raised in community submissions is traffic congestion. Congestion will be impacted by the new developments of Shoreline, Toondah Harbour, Weinam Creek that were not envisaged in 2003 when the Redlands Transport Plan was adopted.

The only background report on matters of environmental inventory, vegetation and the like included in the Council’s resource list is the “Koala habitats Review and Mapping Redland City-Version 2”. Clearly, care for the environment was not a major factor in Council’s preparation of the Draft City Plan.

Wait for the new SEQ Regional Plan

Proposed Shoreline Development area

Proposed Shoreline development area

Land use planning operates at both a council and regional level. The regional plan is supposed to provide the overall framework with each council’s city plan attending to the details.

With a regional plan undergoing review right now it would make sense for Redland City Council to take a lead from the higher level plan and ensure that any new city plan is consistent.

Otherwise we could see repetitions of the Shoreline situation where a major residential development was approved (with a very dubious decision making process) despite the proposed new suburb being clearly inconsistent with the current regional plan.

The State Government has begun its South East Queensland Regional Plan Review effective May 2016. The results of consultation about the revised regional plan should, logically, cascade into each city plan in the region including Redlands.

Where is the Infrastructure Plan?

Fixing cleveland - Redland bay Road should be part of an infreastructure plan - not just a vague election promise

Fixing traffic congestion should be part of an Infrastructure Plan – not just a vague election promise.

The community understands all to clearly that if more housing is developed there’s a need for new infrastructure. The Draft City Plan 2015 was going to green light plenty of extra development but failed to address consequential infrastructure requirements.

Instead of including the required Infrastructure Plan, the previous Council provided the community with a blank sheet of paper when it released the Draft City Plan 2015 for public consultation.

A planning scheme without an infrastructure plan has no substance. People need to understand the consequences of allowing more development.

Development control plans for Straddie

The Development Control Plan (DCP) for Point Lookout which protects this area’s visual amenity was removed from the Draft Redland City Plan 2015. If this planning control is abandoned the Point Lookout community would have no certainty about the nature of allowable development. An attractive coastal area could have its scenic amenity destroyed through inconsistent development.

There is a strong argument for Amity Point and Dunwich to have development control plans similar to the one currently in force for Point Lookout. So instead of winding back the clock to allow seventies style over-development, the next city plan should improve the standard of planning for these tourism oriented areas.

So where to now?

It is clear that resolution of the community’s concerns will best be achieved by simply retaining the current Redlands Planning Scheme for another four years. This would give Council the time to come to grips with the changing circumstances, update its source documentation and respond to community criticism.

This approach would align with a new planning cycle in 2018-20. (It is anticipated the existing Redlands Planning Scheme 2006 could be amended to comply with any essential State government planning directives.) This approach would be taken with a view to completing a new plan by 2020 after a timely review of supporting strategies and plans (transport, housing, open space, social infrastructure, etc).

The alternative must entail filling the gaps and correcting the deficiencies of the draft City Plan 2015.

It would be entirely reasonable and appropriate for councillors to discuss the way forward, not in a non-public workshop but in a normal council general meeting in front of the Redlands community.

That’s how transparent local government should work.


Redlands2030 – 14 July 2016

Draft City Plan 2015 was the subject of much community discussion before and during the publi

Draft City Plan 2015 was controversial attracting more than 6,000 submissions

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

17 thoughts on “Why adopt the Redlands Draft City Plan?

  1. I am appalled by the hasty release of the “revised” City Plan without proper opportunity for the community to understand the content let alone the comment upon it. Public consultation is an option provided for in the MALPI process guide for the implementation of Planning Schemes. Our Council has, in this case, opted to bypass another round of consultation.
    Upon inspecting the MALPI process and the Amendments document published on Friday, I begin to understand the Council’s predicament, and the Mayor’s continuing complains about being constrained by State Government requirements.
    As a result of correspondence with the Mayor, I understand that major issues are to be addressed by a series of parallel activities which may result in further amendents to the City Plan. Why do such a thing? Why not put all amendments in the Plan now?
    The answer lies in the provisions of MALPI, and in the paragraph entitled “Risk” in the review document. If the revised City Plan differs too much from the Consultation Draft, the Minister may remove the provisions that make it so different. This is the issue for Council. As a result Council has chosen to defer some major amendments to later process, to get the base plan through to implementation.
    So the major risk for the Council is not getting the Plan aproved.
    So much for the council risks
    How about the Community’s risk?
    1. Clearly there is a risk that the later amendments will be deferred indefinitely, or will not be approved. If they relate to submissions, those submitters have their issues now in limbo.
    2. There is also a risk, in my view the biggest risk of all, that Development Applications approved by council in the time between the adoption of the City Plan and the Major Amendments, should they come to pass, could radically reshape the Redlands, the very thing the submitting residents were afraid of. Astute developers and landowners will be quick to take advantage of this situation.
    3.Should the minister reject the Plan, or part thereof, the funds spent on the Plan to date will be lost.
    One could suggest that all this has come about because the Council chose to omit another optional consultation phase right at the start of the planning process, one that may have avoided the gulf that now exists between the planners’ desires, and the expectations of the community.
    The Council’s predicament is clear, and self-made. It has come about by opting for minimum compliance with the MALPI process, a process which was clearly intended to get good outcomes for communities.
    The risk to the Community outweighs the risk to Council manifold. It’s the future liveability of the Redlands we all love.
    The only decent and acceptable approach now is to write off the money, pull the pin, and start again in five years’ time.

  2. Why is there so much pressure to decide tomorrow, 28th Feb about the draft city plan? Why has it been brought forward by 1 month? Councillors need time to digest the enormous implications of this flawed plan, that will shape our City’s future. Please Councillors, remember the 6000 submissions made about this plan. This process must not be rushed through to serve the agendas of a particular industry, that already has too much influence in our future.
    Please allow the proper time to consider all the implications of your decision. Do not allow yourselves to be pushed to decide tomorrow.

  3. It’s just on ten days since I placed a comment on this article and I have been keeping up with the replies from other residents. Given the concerns about the draft City Plan, is there any indication of where it is going?
    Surely councillors are not being kept busy trying to be planners to turn the so-called-Draft into a proper City Plan? It might be a nice gesture but surely they could opt for the old Plan and throw out the new Plan?

  4. This article is a brilliant analysis of the hollowness of the Draft City Plan 2015 and the authors should be congratulated and thanked for putting in such a comprehensive effort on behalf of Redlands citizens.
    As the authors point out: why is Council even contemplating proceeding with reviewing the Draft Plan when the assumptions underpinning it are so hopelessly inadequate, wrong and/or just too dated? Even just a cursory glance at the sections headed “Flawed assumptions” and “Out of date information” should stop councillors in their tracks. For example, it is beyond comprehension that there is inadequate consideration of the full implications of the massive proposed Toondah Harbour, Weinam Creek and Shoreline developments which threaten to dramatically impact amenity in the Redlands. Not to mention signing the death warrant for the koala population.
    All councillors should be given a copy of this article to help guide their discussions which should be held in open forums and not in the proposed non-public workshops. These matters are just too important for Redlands residents to be kept in the dark about.
    In light of the submissions received and the reasoning put forward in this article Council must move to:
    • withdraw the current Draft Plan,
    • retain the current Redlands Planning Scheme for another four years, and
    • draw up a new Draft Plan consistent with the new State planning legislation, the new South East Queensland Regional Plan and the aspirations of the Redlands community.

  5. Note what you say Toni and hear that a 2nd tower same size will be built facing first one but considering we are now in gridlock as regards traffic in Capalaba with parking at both shopping centres becoming more difficult to find, it would be completely irresponsible of the State government to allow all six bldgs. to be built on the same corner…who don’t seem to care about anything other than giving the nod to any development…no matter how severe the impact on existing area residents with all six apt bldgs. being CODE ASSESSABLE. Seems Qld govt pollies get around with blinkers on..otherwise they would, like many of us, be horrified at the prospect of a future congested polluted health destroying environment.

  6. My attention is drawn to the text “…2041, by which time the city’s population will have grown to over 200 000. To meet this growth, over 26 000 new dwellings will have to be built in the city and more than 28 000 new jobs created”.

    This is an extraordinary statement. It is not the function of town planning to meet arbitrary projections about population growth. Nor to create jobs. Town planning is a tool to adjust property rights in order to secure the public interest. The public interest doesn’t necessarily require population growth and certainly not in a coastal municipality.

    It is the inherent features of the land and other natural abd built resources that should determine the population that can be accommodated, not the other way round. By seeking to satisfy a growth target, council could easily overshoot the environmental, water, traffic, infrastructure and other foundational capacities without realising.

    The appropriate approach is to start with an assessment of the land capability: the opportunities and threats posed by the land and natural resources of the study area, based on their inherent limitations; then to assess the state of infrastructure: hard, soft and green – and then factor in broader strategic considerations such as State policy including pre-eminently the SEQ Regional Plan.

    To the extent that the new draft 2015 plan is viewed by the authors as a tool to fulfil population growth, it should be withdrawn.

    G Edwards (formerly coporate member, Planning Institute of Australia).

    • Exactly right. The draft City Plan is an excuse for development and more development …clearly it is at odds with community values, and expectations. The weight of public submissions shows how out of step it (and the Council) is from the community.

      No doubt the authors are trying to soften up the new Councillors…probably trying to dismiss most objections as a pro forma …give the 6000 standard submissions a weighting of one (equal to any landowners claim for up zoning etc). That of course ignores the pathetic readability of the draft Plan…most people found it unintelligible, esp after the first chapter!

      WE have heard very little of public interest as an outcome of planning…all the talk is meeting population projections. G Edwards is right, the draft City Plan should be withdrawn. At least the Councillors could arrange for an independent review.

      But self interest will likely prevail, again

  7. All politics is local. Our local politics is in a shambolic state. The people speak clearly. The politicians ignore them. The draft City Plan does not reflect the will of Redlands residents. Scrap it. What do we want? Communities with schools, shops, churches, clubs, parks, bus stops within walking distance. People-oriented public spaces. Medium-density development no more than five storeys – allowing eye contact with people on the ground, fostering sense of community. Trees. Wildlife. Less dominance given to cars. Put people first. Think energy-efficiency, climate-intelligent design. Think access to unmediated nature. We want sense of place, not sameness. What don’t we want? Sprawling, treeless, energy-guzzling suburbs planted in rural, distant and environmentally marginal locations that necessitate huge infrastructure costs and guarantee clogged roads. We don’t want the quality of our urban environments left to the greedy one-eyed vision of developers whose only goal is to make a buck. Get back to the people’s vision.

  8. I endorse support for the Redlands 2030 Community Plan and frankly just cannot understand why the council would not wish to endorse it too…it was compiled with community input and it was supported by a previous council…what has changed so much in such a short time? Why do our councillors not LISTEN to Redlanders….they KNOW what the vast majority of Redlanders want re future development but they seem to thumb their noses at us all. The Community Plan should be essential reading for our councillors in the knowledge that it was what Redlanders wanted such a short time ago. Why would we have changed our minds so drastically and called for a reversal of so much of its content? WE HAVEN’T. It is the council which is out of step with we, the folk our councillors are supposed to be representing!

  9. The planning approach of the draft Redlands Plan & of the previous elected Council is that more housing development is inevitable & economic development is somehow founded on this development. Nothing could be further from the truth, as residential development only provides short term employment & profits only the few. This is a dinosaur approach to the future by continuing to follow a planning direction that should be dead & buried. Only a few Mayors have had the courage to stand up for a sensible change of direction against a development industry that is driven only by profits in the guise of economic development. Former Queensland Mayor & present Cr Bob Abbott & former Mayor Mike Berwick are two that were willing to aim for better living outcomes rather than development at all cost. I studied planning in the early 1980’s & unfortunately most Councils & Council planners are still being taught & following a planning mantra unchanged from the 1950’s. Ironically this planning direction is determined by infrastructure efficiency, that is, having consolidated urban centres such that water,sewer,roads & transport,etc can all be constructed at the lowest cost. Unfortunately this planning regime assumes that cities can be continually expanded without constraint & that all things can be engineered to a solution. We have clearly learnt little from the massive social & environmental issues from 1st world countries let alone the greater problems in the growing & undeveloped countries.
    The new Council should be committed to keeping our city liveable, something that will not be achieved if urban sprawl is allowed to continue into the rural areas. There is currently great pressure from vested interest property owners & developers that are relying on the development industry to continue in the Redlands for the long term benefit of very few.

  10. Redland City draft planning scheme has also opened up more land outside the urban footprint along Double Jump Road Redland Bay and Bunker Road, there are those who donated to the election campaign who also own land there, I am hoping that had no bearing on the amendments to the scheme.?
    I question how the Manager or co ordinater of the review the SEQ Regional Plan also has from what I believe a staff person working in Council on the draft Redlands planning scheme and I am aware there is a push to open up land in Woodlands, Springacre, Taylor and Eprapah Roads . How does the community have any confidence there is independence in the planning of these schemes.
    I witnessed the 1998 and 2006 Redland Planning scheme being driven by conflicts of interests by elected members and connections to election campaigns there has got to be an open and professional planning process undertaken this time as residents and the environment of Redlands deserve better.

  11. Noted Cr Paul Gleeson holding sign that reads: “Don’t turn Capalaba into a highrise ghetto”…at the time he ran the Capalaba Progress Association and supported local residents on Aramac Court and surrounds that the six 6-storey apartment Rhodes buildings would impact heavily on quality of life. This is the reason Paul Gleeson was voted into representing people of Capalaba to look after their interests. It didn’t take long before Cr Gleeson was tied to Mayor’s apron strings and turned his back on local residents affected by this CODE ASSESSABLE development, locals knew nothing about until reading about it on front page of Bayside Bulletin. Driving by the sign that 52 units were to be built cnr Moreton Bay/Mt Cotton Rds for best part of a year, it came as a shock to all of us that brought about a protest meeting attended by then Mayor Melva with no councillors in sight. Member for Bowman Andrew Laming attended the meeting with a phone attached to his ear. Cr Williams never attended a meeting on this issue, except for last one held in caravan on Winter Memorial Park standing behind door never entering to speak. One who did, had no idea what he was talking about…not well versed..and informed speaker later resigned. It was embarrassing with no solution offered to alleviate concerns of locals on how their lives would be affected by such a massive development.
    Surprised and relieved to see today the location has not, as first thought, overshadowed Aramac Court, and is well placed…so, apart from concerns about traffic congestion, all’s well that ends well. Another major undertaking with hundreds of apartments, is about to begin behind Bunnings Warehouse Capalaba. When will Council and State government bureaucrats say, enough is enough in one particular area?
    Noted when considering CODE ASSESSABLE development applications, they have to be approved before starting any activity or development and….does not require public notification.
    So the towering apartment buildings to be built at Cleveland rail station have been approved and no need to notify the public….which means then…that anything goes in Redlands…no matter the height, location, impact on surrounds, traffic, parking, environment, it’s all CODE ASSESSABLE. News reports this week mentioned traffic chaos on Delancey Street Cleveland two mornings running. Can we see promise of Williams Will fix traffic problem at this site…plus as stated on sign, Williams Will fix this road….i.e. Cleveland-Redland Bay Rd Thornlands. Lastly, will any provision be made in the new Town Plan for retaining koala habitat bushland areas? If not, then the Plan is to approve mainland extinctions in Redland City of this unique species by callous and cruel local and State government operatives who have no heart in my view.

    • Amy 5 more 6 stories towers to go up on corner of Moreton Bay road and Mt Corton Road , over shadowing will have a major impact of those residents to the south hope they enjoy this winter sun as next year it will be cold and dark, sadly a poor outcome for many

  12. Redlands 2030 Community Plan was just the best plan that the residents of The Redlands could possibly compile. We were so proud of this Plan, it covered everything from beautiful Moreton Bay to the mountains inland. It covered the islands that are so much a part of our area.
    The Redlands were so proud to be the first city to develop our own Community Plan.
    Others could follow but we were the first. Proudly we handed the finished Community Plan to the then Mayor Melva Hobson who said she would carry it with her in her briefcase wherever she went.
    And we trusted her and knew she would. But the next election changed everything and it seems the Community Plan was stashed away as others had different ideas.
    Get out the Redlands 2030 Community Plan and you will find all that is needed is in that Plan.

  13. Redlands City’s Redlands 2030 was the toast of the town. The only LG to have achieved such a comprehensive and consultative result. That was 2010. Where is it now? How did it not drive the new City Plan?
    I think you have provided the answer and embarrassing it is. Redlands had the best blueprint to get ready for the next round of city plans but alas! It looks like becoming the favourite teaching item for town planning classes at uni on lack of connect between vision and practice.
    Thank you R2030 for showing a way through: keep the current RPS for the next four years.

  14. Thank you!
    Councillors need to take this with them for the behind-closed-doors meetings where it seems they are trying to do the ugly sister thing of squeezing the new Plan into Cinderella’s shoe. Then coming to the general meetings with very pinched toes!
    You show the logical way to fit the shoe: “retain the current City plan for the next four years”.

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