From the Gabba Station

I was lying in a burned out basement
with the full moon in my eyes
I was hoping for replacement
When the sun burst thru the sky

– Neil Young

I recorded my own narration for the State Government’s Gabba Station promo video. This is publicly owned land, and we need to demand a plan for this site that meets the needs of the local community. Selling off development rights to the private sector would be a massive missed opportunity.

So far, the government has not been very transparent about its plans for what will happen above the underground train station. They’ve made vague mentions of ‘affordable housing’ in some press releases, but there’s no indication that this will be the genuinely affordable public housing that our neighbourhood so desperately needs.

Although it makes sense to include some residential development on this site, building 8 to 10 highrise towers is over the top. Woolloongabba already lacks sufficient green space for existing residents and workers. You can’t cram thousands more apartments and offices into this area without also providing significantly more public green space.

The current concept plans seem to propose removing the existing Woolloongabba Place public park, and providing roughly 5000m2 of new green space. Whereas I think the site should include at least 20 000m2 of new green space, and perhaps even more than that if the government is planning to accommodate thousands of additional residents there as well.

I’m definitely not against including a bit of high-density development on an inner-city train station site. But a significant component of any new develompent needs to be public housing, and there has to better pedestrian connections to the existing surrounding neighbourhoods.

This site represents a huge opportunity to deliver a range of community facilities, including:
– non-profit music venues
– community theatre
– workshop spaces for craftspeople and artists
– rehab facilities and drop-in centres for people in crisis
– community halls and bookable meeting spaces
– library, tool library, hackerspace/share shed
– affordable office space for non-profit community orgs
I could go on all day. My point is that it would be a wasted opportunity to simply use the whole site for private sector residential apartments and commercial office space.

Jonathan Sri

You can read more of my thoughts at this link:

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