They say you can’t beat City Hall but here someone who’s really having a go. Jonathan Sri Councillor for the Gabba Ward
2/63 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba
P: 07 3403 2165 • E: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope everyone’s doing ok in this wild weather. Thankfully we’ve been spared the destruction that other parts of Queensland have experienced, but summer hasn’t even started yet, so I hope everyone is making sure your homes are ready for storm season.
At times like this, where both droughts and storms are increasingly severe, and thousands of people are dying overseas due to weather-related disasters, I’m particularly mindful of the urgent imperative to reduce fossil fuel emissions and transition rapidly into a more sustainable city.
While it’s crucial that we move away from a ‘suburban sprawl’ model of development, many of Brisbane’s new high-density developments are also incredibly unsustainable, with high dependency on air conditioning and other energy-intensive features, as well as unsustainable and non-renewable building materials with high carbon footprints, such as concrete and steel. Many people don’t realise that concrete is among the top three sources of carbon emissions worldwide (alongside motorised vehicles and coal-fired power plants). We need to move away from pretending that highrise towers made of concrete and steel are a sustainable means of accommodating a growing population.
Alongside shifting to renewable energy, the other key element of transitioning to a more sustainable city is to discourage reliance on private cars, and support as many people as possible to travel by active and public transport. This is why I’m particularly concerned about big new developments that feature lots of carparking (thus encouraging car use) but aren’t accompanied by improvements to pedestrian safety and public transport.
Another big development gets the tick from council
We’ve received word this week that council is approving the massive development at 117 Victoria Street, West End. This is the one with four huge towers (the towers are either 12 storeys or 14 storeys tall depending on how you define a ‘storey’) containing a total of 473 apartments and about 480 carparks (originally it was 446 apartments but the number seems to have crept up after the developer ‘tweaked’ the plans).
When the intersection of Victoria St and Montague Rd is already a death-trap, the long-promised CityCat terminal still isn’t getting built, and the provision of essential community infrastructure like public parks, public housing and community centres is falling well behind population growth, it seems obvious to me that council should not be approving developments of this scale and density in such a crowded neighbourhood.
Earlier this year, we held a protest against this development leading to our State MP, Jackie Trad, also publicly expressing concerns. Despite its scale and impact, this is a code assessable development application, which means ordinary residents have no legal objection rights. Now that Brisbane City Council is approving it, the only remaining legal mechanism to stop it is for the State Government to call in the development on the basis that it is contrary to the State Interests in ‘Liveable Communities’ and ‘Housing Supply and Diversity’. I have already contacted the office of our State MP, Jackie Trad to ask her to support calling in this development. I encourage you to write to Deputy Premier Trad and also to the Queensland Planning Minister, Cameron Dick to request that the State Government intervenes to stop this project going ahead.
In other news, I’ve been asked to recommend a name for a small new street (about 50 metres long) which will be created between Lytton Rd and Laidlaw Parade in East Brisbane as part of the widening of Lytton Road. Obviously I continue to remain strongly opposed to the road-widening project itself, and I find it a bit patronising that council gives the community a say on street names, but doesn’t give us a say as to whether we want an overpriced highway rammed through our community.
Nevertheless, I’m holding a public vote to decide on the name of the new street.
The first step is to collect suggestions, which I invite you to make via email or by calling my office on 3403 2165. Suggestions will close on 31 October, after which a panel of local residents will create a shortlist of names that reflect the character and identity of East Brisbane, which we’ll then put to a public vote. If you have a strong personal connection to East Brisbane and would like to volunteer your time to be on the shortlisting panel, please nominate via email. If there’s a lot of interest in being on the panel, we’ll cap it at 11 members on a first come, first served basis.
I encourage suggestions that refer to the local history and identity of the area – particularly Aboriginal names. Please note that while I have a good sense of humour, it’s possible the Lord Mayor might veto names which he considers silly or offensive.
On Sunday afternoon, I met with a couple of residents to kick off a new bushcare group for Dutton Park. We’re interested in protecting existing trees and vegetation around Dutton Park from unnecessary clearing, as well as weeding and revegetating different parts of Dutton Park and the South Brisbane Cemetery to reconnect wildlife corridors and improve the ecological values of the area.
Many parts of Dutton Park are mowed regularly and kept clear of undergrowth even though they are too steep to be used for picnics or sporting activities. Revegetating some of these bare lawns would provide crucial habitat for small birds, native mammals, frogs and other reptiles. If you’d like to be involved, send an email to email@example.com and follow the Dutton Park Bushcare Group Facebook page.
Currently in Orleigh Park, the dog off-leash area has one fully-fenced pen which I organised to install recently, and a second older pen that’s fenced on three sides but is open to the river to allow dogs to access the water.
A couple of residents have asked if this older pen can be fully fenced, so that users have a choice between two fenced areas (this would allow for one pen to serve larger dogs and one pen to serve smaller dogs if necessary). I know some residents like having a dog off-leash area that’s open to the river. However it should be possible to include a riverside gate to allow this use to continue while making it more functional for other users. Please let me know whether you think this is a good or bad idea by voting in the online poll, and encourage other park users to jump online and vote too.
Where: Gabba Ward Office – 2/63 Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba
When: Monday, 22 October 6:30pm
This coming Monday, we’re holding our next campaign organising meeting to strategise about building political pressure to restore and hopefully buy back the Broadway Hotel site. If you have the time and energy to get involved in this community campaign, please come along. You can invite friends via the Facebook event.
Entry to the meeting room is via the rear door of the office, accessed through the Crown St carpark.
That’s about it for now. Details on upcoming community events can be found below.