The statement ‘there is nothing you can do about’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if you do nothing.

by Elizabeth Handley

A few years ago I noticed that an increasing number of sport/recreation areas and large areas of greenspace were disappearing in Brisbane.

‘They should do something about that’, became ‘I should do something about that’ when the Milton Tennis court site was sold for high rise development. Another sports and recreation site lost forever!

With a group of local residents, I formed the Community group CRAMED and we took the BCC and the developer to court and … we lost. The people in CRAMED didn’t give up, we continued campaigning, insisting that the best use for this flood prone site was parkland. After ten years, a major flood and enormous effort by many local people, we won and the result is Frew Park. It’s inspiring to see so many families now enjoying this wonderful park.

Now we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a wonderful riverside park at Toowong. As part of the community group Park It (Park In Toowong), we are taking a stand against the excessive development proposed for the old ABC site at Toowong and asking that it be turned into parkland incorporating a heritage site. The proposed development is for two 24 storey buildings and one 27 storey building with a total of 555 luxury units. The site has 800 car parks. As a result of the design these buildings are double the height allowed on this site in the neighbourhood plan and are totally out of scale with the surrounding properties.

The BCC has approved this development despite over 500 objections from local residents. The developer profits for the million dollar apartments will be subsidised by the ratepayer as the development requires multimillion dollar traffic works. Toowong has lost over half its community parkland and recreational space in the last forty years while its population has more than doubled. That population is likely to double again in the next few decades. As more and more children will be growing up without a backyard, public parkland becomes increasingly essential. A survey of local residents by Councillor Peter Matic clearly indicated they wanted this site as parkland. When density is increased the infrastructure required should be increased and that includes parkland and greenspace.

The BCC 2014 Town Plan is not, as it should be, a contract between the Council and the people of Brisbane providing certainty.  The Council has decided that the limits stipulated in the community agreed neighbourhood plans are not limits that need to be followed. Town plans should guarantee residents standards of amenity that cannot be compromised. Residents live with planning mistakes for decades to come, developers move on.

Get involved for a better Brisbane and encourage your friends and neighbours to do so as well. Like our facebook page www.facebook. com/ParkItToowong .Visit our website at www.parkit.org.au Email us at parkittoowong@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ parkittoowong.