Thumbs down for Council’s park sell off plans

Writers give a big ‘thumbs down’ to Council’s proposed rezoning and sell-off of 16 parks for development in the draft City Plan. Some parks were bought with environmental levy funds because of their important conservation status – and residents wonder what’s changed.

And in a interesting Tale of Two Cities, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk tells Redlands’ Amy Glade that Brisbane is expanding, enhancing and improving its parks and has no plans for sale of parks as surplus land.

61 McMillan Street, Alexandra Hills

61 McMillan Street, Alexandra Hills
61 McMillan Street, Alexandra Hills

I am appalled that land (61 McMillan St, Alexandra Hills) once deemed to be a significant koala habitat and wildlife corridor that was purchased by Council using environmental levy funding for $1.55m in 2010 can now be rezoned for medium density housing and sold to the highest bidder.

It still has active koalas and numerous bird species including owls and is adjacent to the squirrel glider conservation area that was recognised by Council when the land was purchased and houses knocked down and all non-indigenous trees removed.

I believe that any land set aside for conservation should be protected and not sold off as Council thinking changes.

The McMillan Street block is adjacent to my property in Middleton Court and I believe that this block and all other conservation blocks in our city should remain to enable future generations to enjoy our wild life.

To sell off this land may not be illegal but it certainly is morally and ethically wrong as the funding came from the “Environmental Levy Funds” and lands purchased with that funding should remain for the express purpose for which they were purchased. Not sold off to developers.

Daryl Wilson
Alexandra Hills

I live next door to this block of land at 61 McMillan Road, Alexandra Hills, that the Council is proposing to rezone to ‘medium density’.

The Council bought this land in 2010 for $1.55 million from the Environment Levy Fund because it was a significant koala habitat. WHAT HAS CHANGED???

Apart from koalas, other animals such as possums and blue-tongue lizards live on this block, as do many, many species of birds and in in particular owls.

Considering the use of the Environment Levy, I have to wonder if the proposed rezone, then sale to a developer would be legal.

Are you able to advise what avenues we, the local residents, should follow?

Jo Dillon
Alexandra Hills

Brisbane is not getting rid of its parks

Would you be so kind as to publish this letter with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s attached copy of his letter to me.

Bulletin story 23 October
Bulletin story 23 October

I’m concerned that a photo of me in the online version of this report in Redland City Bulletin may have given the wrong impression.

I’m looking very happy alongside the Keith Street Bushland Reserve sign that shows it as being “preserved and managed with your Environmental Charge”. And so I was happy that the Reserve was being cared for.

But…let me say I am not happy now – far from it! The secretive plans for rezoning and sale of sixteen (16) neighbourhood parks revealed in Draft City Plan show 62 Bowen Street, Capalaba, (part of the same Keith Street Bushland Reserve) marked for sell off. In Capalaba, where I have lived for past 27 years, this also incudes Elmhurst Street Park (entry to highly trafficked main road with highly valued old growth native trees that act as buffer from air and noise pollution) and Wills Lane Park.

Letter about parks to Amy Glade from Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk
Letter to Amy Glade from Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (click to enlarge)

May I say that having spent many a long year trying to care for parks going so far as to do my own planting in earlier times, this sell off is underhanded and callous.

I contacted Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, of Brisbane City Council, to find out if they were also selling off neighbourhood parks. I’m sure he won’t mind my attaching his letter where he states there will be no sell off of Brisbane parks. In fact, they are enhancing and improving their existing park network, plus acquiring and developing new parks.

Can the Mayor of Redland City say that? What a shameful exercise to secretly plan selling off our parks. I can’t wait to see the back of this current crop of public servants we voted in to look after our interests.

Amy E Glade

Workington Street Park

Workington Street Park (click to enlarge)
Workington Street Park

Cr Murray Elliott is very evasive on the issue of why Council is proposing to rezone Workington Street Park, Alexandra Hills, to residential low density in the Redland City Plan. Council’s scripted response of “surplus land” and Cr Elliott’s own description of “waste space” leaves me to conclude the only logical reason to rezone parkland is an intent to sell off ratepayer owned assets.

On Saturday morning (17/10/2015) I went to see Cr Elliott to put this question to him. After 20-30 minutes of discussion I came away with no real insight as to his or Council’s rationale for doing this.

Three other Councillors have publicly stated their position on the rezoning/sale of public parks. Why then can’t Cr Elliott?

Cr Elliott says this issue won’t be resolved before the next Council election in March 2016. But unless Cr Elliott declares his position on this issue, how can voters in Division 7 make an informed choice about who is best to represent local interests?

So Cr Elliott, using Cr Julie Talty’s (Council’s Planning and Assessment spokesperson) words … what IS your position on the rezoning and/or sale of selected “commercially attractive” community parks in Division 7?

Cam Finlay
Resident of Division 7

Park sale lacks financial imperative

The push by Redland City Council to divest itself of 16 areas of wasted space – known by the community as ‘parks’ – appears to be a flawed fiscal strategy.

These parks cost money to maintain and generate no income – they are referred to as idle assets. The fact that assets can have value that cannot be measured in dollar terms seems to escape RCC. Reference to the 10-year Financial Strategy yields some interesting information. RCC is not in major financial crisis or even in deficit; therefore this fire sale of these parks seems unjustified.

The Williams Council voluntarily scaled back revenue by capping rates; eliminating tip fees and reducing the environmental levy and now they have insufficient funds to maintain our parks. Their abandonment of the lucrative after-school care business, because it was not core business, now seems cavalier when they can no longer afford to look after green spaces, which are very much core business.

This graphic in the latest financial strategy (page 4) shows that the Community Plan should be driving the city's financial management
This graphic in the latest Financial Strategy (page 4) shows that the Community Plan should be driving the city’s financial management

Delving further into this Financial Strategy, it is shown to be framed by the Redlands 2030 Community Plan. I see no devaluing of Parks in this document. of greatest interest was the risk analysis provided regarding the sale of Parks and the effect on the status of council.

In summary, the sale of the Parks is LIKELY and the likelihood of this happening against community wishes is POSSIBLE when there is no financial imperative to do so. This is in stark contrast to adjacent councils such as Brisbane and Logan who are increasing their provision of parkland.

M Hardy
Redland City

Do you have something to say?

If you have something to say, and you want to say it to a lot of people, send an email to:

Further information about Council’s plans to rezone and sell parks

For more information is available in the Redlands2030 story:

Secretive plans for rezoning and sale of 16 parks revealed in Draft City Plan

Details about plans for rezoning can be checked in the Council’s Draft City Plan 2015 website

Redlands2030 – 29 October 2015

0 thoughts on “Thumbs down for Council’s park sell off plans”

  1. If and when these parks are sold off, lets see which developers buy them and if they donated to any particular councilors.

  2. Pauline & Max Veal

    We wish to continue to enjoy our Workington Street Park with the children and wildlife as we have done for 26 years, SO HANDS OFF OUR PARK.

  3. You can be a big fish in a little pond…or a little fish in big pond. Dangers are lurking and just when the little fish thinks it`s safe, the big fish devours it. Motto: Beware of big developers with deep pockets and little people with small pockets…..sooner or later…risky.

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