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Has Redland City Council done enough to ensure that there is an effective plan for Straddie’s future when sand mining finishes in few years from now?
In 2010 the Bligh Government announced the 2019 end to mining. Five years later Council has no plan on how it proposes to work with the State Government on this.
In 2012 the Newman Government was elected. It passed legislation that put the mining deadline out until 2035. That decision was to be tested in the High Court by traditional owners. Their argument was that this State legislation was over ridden by Federal Court legal agreements. Many native title lawyers agreed that the State legislation was, at best, legally risky.
In 2013 I argued that the State Government should be planning for ‘transition’ in case they lost in the High Court.
In 2014 (after prompting) the Mayor co-convened with Mark Robinson MP a Straddie Transition Group. It had one meeting before the election and produced a ‘terms of reference’. I wasn’t invited to be part of the group, so can’t vouch for it’s efforts, but you can see their website here.
In 2015 a new State Government has been elected and they are returning to previously pledged timelines and moving VERY quickly indeed.
At the last Council meeting I moved a motion to ask Council officers to prepare a proposal to put to the state government to source funds for Councils participation in the ‘Straddie Transition’ package.
In June of this year the Mayor and I met Minister for Environment, Stephen Miles who is heading up the Straddie transition effort. He indicated a eagerness to get going and that $20 million would be allocated in the budget. At that meeting I made the point that Council had many projects that could be ready to go quickly that would assist a transition. He invited a proposal from Council. My motion was intended to get that to happen.
The Mayor countered my motion with a do-nothing option. You can see her’s below also. The reasons for my motion were simple:
- The Bligh government has previously prepared a ‘Planning for Action’ document that outlines future actions.
- Advice from the Minister has been that they will be using that document as their blueprint for action.
- If you survey the document it becomes quickly apparent that the Council will have to be lead agent on a lot of the ‘actions’.
- There is a real sense of urgency in the government and there is no time to waste on getting a proposal done.
- Council needs to get active for the next few years.
- It makes sense that with our local knowledge we provide direct input into their considerations.
- It makes sense that we seek to offset the money that ratepayers would spend on the island with State government funds
- The State is thought to be finalising budget allocations now.
This is not the time for politicking. Straddie is not a political football. Its community and its future deserve better than this.
See my speech on the video recording – fast forward to 1.23.50 minutes which is when discussion about Straddie begins
That Council resolve:
- To prepare a funding proposal for submission to the State Government in order to access funds they have allocated to ‘economic transition’ on North Stradbroke Island.
- That this proposal includes any possible activities or infrastructure that currently are part of Council’s jurisdiction, or would sit on Council tenure.
- That the proposal include, but is not limited to; events, infrastructure and grants programs.
- That the proposal reflect and draw from the already existing, NSI, Planning for Action (Draft).
- That the proposal draw from Council’s already existing; Capital Works program, NSI Commercial Use of Public Open Space Strategy, Tourism Strategy, NSI Signage Plan and any other documents that officers think are relevant.
- That priority be given to projects that will offset ratepayer contributions to NSI ‘transition’.
- That the proposal be brought back to Council prior to November.
- That the proposal form a basis of any amendments required to Council’s Capital Works Program and Operational Plan.
- That the proposal form the basis of future discussions with State Government representatives on how we can partner with the State Government. This includes any participation in future consultative mechanisms that they State may set up.
The Mayor’s Motion
That Council resolve to:
- Request an urgent presentation to Council from the Interdepartmental Government Committee on NSI Economic Transition outlining:
a)Governance Structure of the NSI Economic Transition Committee (NSIETC);
b) Relevant ministerial office contacts for NSIETC;
c) The suggested 180 short, medium and long term actions sourced from various State Government and Council plans and strategies;
d) Update on North Stradbroke State Government planning outcomes;
e) Consideration of other sources of funding beyond the $20mill NSIET commitment including other State Government, Commonwealth Government and private enterprise;
- Forward any outstanding plans, strategies, programs and projects such as the NSI Commercial Use of Public Open Space Strategy that has not already been received by the relevant State Government Departments that could assist in positive opportunities for the economic transition of North Stradbroke Island.
- Consider the information presented before allocating Council resources in preparing further submissions to the State Government.
- Reconfirm commitment to working with the State Government to ensure the best possible outcome for economic opportunities, jobs and financial sustainability of residents of North Stradbroke Island and Redland City.
- Confirm Councils concerns on delivering sustainable economic outcomes within the stated transitional timeframe.
After almost ten years, the Council has come kicking and screaming to an acknowledgement that there is a emerging crisis in lack of playing spaces within the Redlands – but has no vision about how to fix the problem.
Adequate sports fields for our growing population have not been included in the community and land use planning done by Mayor Williams. There are a number of sporting clubs who are turning away potential players – because there is no room for them to play.
This is an area of special interest to me. I am a qualified Sports Administrator, and have worked at the Australian Institute of Sport. I believe that access to sports fields is nothing short of an Australian birthright 🙂
As Patron of the Redlands United Soccer Club, I know that half ‘their’ playing fields actually belong to Cleveland High School. They burst the boundaries of their own space a long time ago, and they have only managed to grow because of the school’s goodwill, and a great relationship with the Principal. But even now, the club is maxing out the space.
Likewise the Redlands Touch Association, which is also spectacularly successful, has grown into what used to be the Redland’s premier event space – the Cleveland Showground. Over 1000 people play touch footy at the Showgrounds each week, but they are forced to share their space with other users, causing great disruption to their legitimate, healthy and worthy activities.
These clubs aren’t, as they say, “on their Robinson Crusoe”.
The shortfall of open space and sporting fields has been known for as long as I have been in Council. The Open Space Strategy of 2004 was probably the first sign that Council needed to act. Nevertheless it wasn’t until 2008 that studies were done. Unfortunately, the area between Cleveland and Victoria Point (South East Thornlands) could not be considered in that study. By then it had been committed for housing and commercial development in the 2006 ‘Seccombe Six’ Planning Scheme. So had many other areas.
Significant progress was made in 2008. In association with the State Government, Council completed a ‘Southern Redland Regional Sports Facility‘ study. Following this report, Council approved plans for a major sporting facility in Thornlands. The cost of the facility was estimated at more than $50 million. It was intended to include a six court tennis complex, and as many as 25 playing fields for touch football, soccer, rugby league, hockey and netball. All stakeholders recognised that this was a long term process, that needed to start with the purchase of suitable land.
According to news reports, the former Mayor (Hobson) said at the time, “We must have sustainable community development, and a regional sports facility…is just one vital component of this”. The then Mayoral candidate Williams said that the proposal was “ill timed”.The project was removed from Council’s Capital Works program after the last election.
Taking the proposed sporting facility project out of the budget has made the balance sheet look good, but it does nothing for the livability of the area, nor for the health and vitality of locals. Redlands is expecting about 50,000 more people to settle in the area in the next 20 years, and at this point we have no plan or budget for how we are going to accommodate their sporting needs.
Development must be accompanied by good planning. Unfortunately, this is an example of how poor priorities has let the community down.
Councillor Division 2
Stradbroke Island Township Meeting Discussion Report
28 February 2015 – Dunwich Community Hall
One Mile Parking changes The plan does not include parking along the foreshore north of VMR and across the East Coast Road opposite Minjerribah Health Centre. Does that mean parking there will be prohibited?
Mayor: This area is outside the jointly funded Council and DTMR brief for works to formalise bus turn around and parking behind the One Mile jetty and along Yabby Street. Council has not given any consideration to the current informal parking in the area of foreshore north of VMR and across the East Coast Road opposite Minjerribah Health Centre, and has not suggested any changes in this area.
- The upgrades at One Mile were funded by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR).
- A requirement of this funding was that safer bus turnaround area was created.
- This has resulted in a loss of car parks close to the jetty.
- This has been offset by a new parking area at the old secondary school (approximately 200-300 meters from the terminal).
- Council has sent a letter to all island residents about changes t o parking at One Mile. Posters and flyers have also been distributed.
- Work to begin in March 2015 and should be complete by end of 2015.
Community member asked, “If work is starting in March, can we still take on community suggestions?” This person was concerned about mothers with children especially very little ones and inquired if there will be enough space for mothers to pick up children at the ferry.
Some said that it would make more sense to allow parking along the foreshore than at the school. People were concerned about the proposed solution. They said that there were not enough car spaces now and that the new plan has even less. They also said that the plan made people cross a major road to access the (new) additional parking.
Another resident asked if QYAC had been consulted the plan for additional parking in front of the old school. The issue was also raised that there had been no consultation with the community about the redesign of Yabby Street.
Cr Ogilvie: QYAC was consulted on this proposal. There is no further planned consultation on parking at One Mile, however, if you have suggestions please forward them to myself (Cr Ogilvie) or the Mayor.
In the past there have been a lot of suggestions about how to remedy parking at One Mile. These included using the camp ground land to the south. Discussion were held but without positive results. This land is now under lease to a third party.
The Councillor said that there is nothing stopping people informally parking along the foreshore.
Attendee said that having the ferries come in at the one location would do a lot to resolve the congestion issues.
Another attendees replied that there are also parking issues at Junner Street. They also said that Dunwich should not be a car park for the island.
Some said that we need to look at better public transport on the island and to consider the movement of people in the long term. They said that better public transport would resolve the parking issues in the long term.
State Member for Cleveland: We need better public transport both for residents and also to grow the tourism industry. At One Mile we need to look at the constraints. We need to look to the future and buses with greater capacity are part of that future.
The State Member said he was happy to hear about ways to deliver better public transport services.
Can something be done to slow traffic near One Mile?
Officer in Charge – Dunwich Police The 60km/h sign should be moved back to the bus depot or even as far as the Myora Caravan Park.
Resident said they have a got letter from the State Government saying that because there have been no falsities that no action will be taken.
Cr Ogilvie: The issues at One Mile have been raised to state on multiple occasions. Speeds and traffic solutions are assessed against a very narrow set of criteria that sometimes does not reflect the situation on the ground. One benefit of the current reconfiguration is that road environment has changed and so there is a change to what the state road engineers will consider.
Member for Cleveland: We regularly get requests to alter speed limits on east Coast Rd and there are very tight criteria on applying these conditions. The Local Member felt that local knowledge is not considered as part of making these decisions and he is happy to be part of an ongoing conversation on this topic.
Mayor: What we really need is a holistic transport solution that considers both the island and connection to mainland services. The current situation at One Mile is only tenable for five to ten years as there is no capacity for the ferry operator to expand.
The parking situation at One Mile was raised as safety issue two years ago. Because it was a safety issue it was critically important to do something to resolve the safety concerns raised by island residents.
Attendees were then asked to register their interest to join a community reference group. A number of those present indicated their interest and details were taken.
Stradbroke public transport
Why do we need such a big bus going from Dunwich?
State Member for Cleveland: There is a trend across the state to provide bigger buses. This has created problems in some places such as One Mile. Bigger buses make more sense as they have greater capacity; however it is a reasonable question to ask if a smaller bus is suitable for local needs.
Resident said that “We need to create a through road at One Mile so the bus does not need to turn around.”
The State Member agreed replying that generally the DTMR prefer a one way bus flow. It is difficult to achieve this at One Mile because of constraints on land.
Councillor Ogilvie supported the State Member’s comment adding that there are complex land tenure issues at Once Mile that make it difficult to create a through road.
A number of those present reported that the bus travelled too fast down Yabby Street and without consideration for local conditions. They said that Council needed to talk to the bus company before talking to residents.
One attendee said that it was not the bus that was causing the problem. The person reported that people are inconsiderate around the ferry and that there are a whole range of issues the main one being there are just too many cars going down Yabby Street in a chaotic and inconsiderate fashion at peak times.
Officer in Charge – Dunwich Police said that Yabby Street is too narrow and cars are parked on both sides. Bus is probably going under the speed limit so can’t be booked but is driving without regard to the conditions. Police have spoken to the bus company about speed along Yabby Street. Police are concerned that parking at school may be too far for elderly people.
Mayor replied that as a community we need to discuss who most needs to park close to the ferry. The Yabby Street terminal was never designed for commercial use.
Heritage causeway at Dunwich
Repair to the causeway leading to the barge landing ramp in Dunwich. When will it happen? Could the substance being trialled on Raby Bay retaining walls be a solution to preventing further erosion?
Mayor: “A preliminary brief for the work has indicated that repairs to the convict heritage wall may need to be made by hand, adding to the significant cost involved in the repair work . The solution being trialled at Raby Bay may not be appropriate for these repairs. Given the cultural heritage significance and cost of the project, Council has deferred the project until external State or Federal funding can be explored to support the necessary repair work.
There was considerable discussion on the value of cultural heritage and its priority in relationship to transport infrastructure. The representative from QYAC reminded the room that cultural heritage is for everyone and that the causeway is part of the Stradbroke Story. Cr Ogilvie noted that heritage is regulated through a statutory body is outside the control of local government.
Member for Cleveland: State Government has a role in this issue. As a local member it is not always easy to get money for local projects. The current financial climate has been difficult. We need to look at where the money comes from.
QYAC: The causeway project may qualify for the SIBELCO Community Fund.
There needs to be better invalid parking. Currently the invalid parking is across from the shops in the middle of the town. There should be an invalid space right outside each of the major services.
Mayor: As a community we need to encourage our neighbours to be considerate.
Stradbroke Island land tenure
Tracks for bush dwellings need to be upgraded and maintained for access in emergency events. Is there a land tenure map for the island?
Mayor: This is an ongoing process between RCC, State Government and QYAC.
Cr Ogilvie: Land tenure on the island is not clear. Broadly speaking Council’s responsibilities for land are a lot smaller than people think. Most of the land such as national parks is under State Government control. The Rural Fire Brigade should be an active partner in maintaining bush tracks. Land management plan is on-going discussion between QYAC and the State Government.
QYAC: This is a process
Attendee asked for update on changes to Dunwich sewerage system.
- Project nearing completion- should all be complete by beginning of April 2015. Around 200 additional properties added to sewer system.
- Even when houses have the sewer line completed they still have to go through the formal process of applying to Council to connect.
- 75% of Dunwich will be sewered when complete
- Illawong and Rainbow Crescents (remaining part of township) will be considered for sewerage as the need and future funding arises.
- Residents have received a letter with the process for connecting to the sewer system.
- Project was originally scheduled to be completed December/January but had some delays due to poor weather and bedrock.
- Residents will be charged for sewerage from 1 April 2015 (see above dates for completion). Some residents may be concerned that they will be charged for sewerage when the project isn’t yet complete and homes aren’t yet connected.
- Sewer rates per quarter for this financial year will be $165.06 per quarter for the average house.($660.25 P/A)
- To connect: Domestic Plumbing and Drainage connection fees for the same period will be $676.00.
The Mayor would like to delay these charges until the next rate when the sewerage upgrade should be complete.
The growing amount of plastic on the beaches is an increasing concern and that the plastic is now going into the food chain which is a concern for marine life. (Pictures of rubbish were shown to the room).What can be done about the increasing problem with land-based marine rubbish? Can the Council of Mayors discuss to look at gross filtering devices to minimise this problem?
Mayor: That is an issue. One of the priorities for the Council of Mayors is waterways. We need better compliance for development upstream on waste by creating a resilient rivers approach. RCC has taken strong hand in this and will continue to keep pushing this.
Member for Cleveland – Research on this goes back a long way. We need to look at research on what types of plastics that have biggest environmental impact. More investment in research has to go into that area which needs to be linked to industry to transition away from most damaging plastics.
There was considerable discussion from the room about growing amounts of rubbish on the island. It was suggested that bins be placed near the beaches.
Cr Ogilvie: We had this same discussion at the last meeting. What we have found is that bins create more rubbish and create more rubbish in the environment.
An attendee suggested that the wildlife group on the island could deal with this. The issue needs to be dealt with at the source of the problem.
One attendee suggested that NSI become the first island in Redland to ban plastic bags. One attendee previously had a business on another island that successfully went plastic-free.
Mayor: We can note that but this needs to be a community decision.
Attendee said that rubbish collection was missed over Christmas.
Mayor: This is contractual issue and must be reported on
A concern was raised about campers not being able to take their rubbish to the waste transfer station. It was suggested that a separate container for tourist rubbish be available during the peak holiday periods.
Other issues raised
From room: The pontoon at One Mile fills every time it rains.
From QYAC: There should be allocated parking for residents at Toondah Harbour during holiday periods.
From room: There is orange netting blocking access to Cylinder Beach. Others in room said that the beach had become unsafe. Cr Ogilvie undertook to look at the situation and the Mayor spoke briefly about city wide erosion management planning.
From room: Attendee asked for update on sandmining on Stradbroke. The Member for Cleveland said he was trying to understand the implications of a letter that was sent to the Labor Party. The Mayor said she has written to the new minister to discuss the economic transition of the Stradbroke economy from mining.
From room: There is major parking issue here in the middle of Dunwich. Understand that there was a streetscape that was not completed. Cr Ogilvie: would like to see this completed. The Mayor acknowledged there is value for public transport and this should be addressed as part of the bigger picture problem.
From room: Attendee concerned about the amount of cars parked for long periods on the land opposite the police station. What can be done to curb long term parking in this location? Cr Ogilvie: This land is State Government owned and trusted to RCC.
From room: Will Toondah harbour go ahead? Mayor: it is business as usual and no indication from State Government otherwise.
From room: What solution is Council working on at South Gorge and that is man-made. Mayor: Due to the erosion following heavy rain we are looking at drainage that is causing run off. There have been on site inspections. The room asked if Bushcare could be in the loop on this issue.
From QYAC: Develop a community swimming pool like the Russell Island pool. Mayor: The community really wanted a pool and managed to pay for that pool through a levy. Council with SG created an arrangement for EQ to take over the management of the pool.
From room: The community put money into the school pool. How can we open up school pool to the community including life guards? Mayor: We will work with whoever we can to see if we can make it happen. Then it will be over to the community to run the pool.
From room: What is happening with the Bradbury Beach caravan park? Cr Ogilvie: This is not Council controlled.
From room – Can Council look at how we can control cats on the island? Mayor:
We have cat registration in Council. Cr Ogilvie: The Straddie wildlife forum have convened a meeting to raise this issue to Council. Mayor: The issue with local laws is enforcing compliance
From QYAC: Bill Clifton is working to get a RSPCA desexing unit over to Straddie. From room: if anyone sees feral dogs please let Bill Clifton know so they can be captured.
From room: Has council plans to do sewerage on other parts of the island? Mayor: Not at this time.
The debate in Council on the very important Economic Development Framework on Wednesday was stopped by a ‘put’ motion.
This means that there is no further debate and the motion is voted on. That meant that I didn’t get to speak on this important topic…So, I have put my speaking notes below. Hope they make sense 🙂
Specific comments on industry sectors:
- A strategy that argued for some above trend growth industry sectors, and indicated where the smart focus and investment was, would have been good.
- Lack of any above average prospects in ‘smart’ industry due to lag in broadband; and same for manufacturing which can find better transport routes elsewhere; retail also in decline due online economy and difficult to participate without high speed broadband…where do we go?
- Construction is going to slow and it has nothing to do with supply. Everything to do with slowing population growth.. The possible PDA projects are seen as the counter to this slowing, but there is no discussion in paper on what major projects like this would do the local sector. Real estate sales are likely to be soaked up by large projects like this and the value added small construction firms and developers that rely on redevelopment and development at smaller scales don’t get a look in…
- Our biggest competitive advantage for our economy is our lifestyle, combined with our proximity to Brisbane. It would be a big mistake to kill our lifestyle with development that doesn’t come with infrastructure. And infrastructure bottlenecks that impact our liveability and attractiveness aren’t going away. Upstream is bad, not even close to getting downstream flow. Our government investment is important in making our liveability prime and central to future competitive advantage.
- Tourism strategy was supposed to have been refined and redelivered over two years ago and its still hanging out there…
With regards to the committee:
- ‘Action plans’ will now be delivered by industry representatives (?) who won’t be resourced to prepare – let alone have much of an understanding of the resources and regulatory environment of Council. What timelines do we have on these plans? Real ‘talkfest’ potential in this one…
- Delegating ‘action plans’ s is outsourcing of our responsibility. Collaboration is one thing but this is different.
- No geographical or community reps on the board. One could argue that for NSI, SMBI, Cleveland CBD and Capalaba they are equally important as a sector representative.
- there is no direction here as to where we should be allocating our resources other than servicing a committee.
- It is more a report on what is, and not about where, we need to go, much less, about how we get there.
- Philosophically, we are all ‘open for new business’ and not enough a ‘friend of business’. We have this ‘cargo cult’ mentality that big investors are going to drop from the sky and make things good and forgetting that healthy economies come from the thousands of small businesses that are trading profitably. One of the few ‘actions’ that was making a difference to these people was the ‘business grow’ program that has been axed…if we can’t afford that program then what actions can we afford that will make a difference to our home grown businesses. These people want help, advice etc and we’ve spent our resources on a strategy that has a plan to form a committee. And now we are going to service one.
- Our economic development efforts need framework. This ‘framework’ doesn’t deliver it.
- Are we doing action plans. In document the committee is but in Terms of Reference they simply provide feedback?
- If we are doing, who, when?
- Have we resourced digital strategy and island plans?
- Where is the tourism action plans?
- Why haven’t we refered to the bigger picture of plans – at least the “centre and employment strategy’ and ‘rural futures strategy’ and etc…
- Why not at least acknowledge the closure of mining?
- What does figure 10 mean? Pg 34
- Page 36 says we are going to do lots of things in the ‘climate change adaptation for business’ space but is it resourced?
- Framework implementation paradigm – are ‘innovation diversity’ and ‘labour force capacity’ our responsibility? Pg 44
Redland Council needs to get its balance sheet right or risk deep problems in the near future.
Redlands budget isnt addressing the infrastructure maintenance backlog and we are spending the money in the wrong places. See the video for more.
The big promise is ‘rates at CPI’. is this the be all and end all of Council business? Has Council delivered? Take a look at what I think.