Catching up on updates from last week's Wednesday General meeting where the MCU18/0285 - Material change of use Multiple Dwelling at 1 Harris Street, Wellington Point was approved.
I believe my words from the General meeting sum up and explain why this application was approved and my view on this land not being used for car parking which is desperately required at the Wellington Point Train station.
Words from General meeting Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Cr. Wendy Boglary
MCU180285 – Material change of Use – Multiple Dwelling x 12
Everyone is aware of the population growth predicted for SEQ with an over an additional 30,000 homes required in the next 20 years.
It is known in wise planning elements to use infill where possible to save our bush land and environment being cleared for sub division after sub division plus infill use existing infrastructure which is cost effective.
It is for these reasons the State Government encourages high densities along the railway lines and our Redland planning schemes since 2006 has also planned for infilling such areas as priority areas for high densities. You can see this on the zoning plan page 122 of today’s report.
The concern with infill as it rapidly creeps across our suburbs that surround the train stations is the impact it has on the existing residents and the character of the suburb.
Part of a councillor’s job is to take stock, analyses and reflect while listening and valuing our community needs and I want to take this time today to pause and discuss these impacts as our community does not have the knowledge of projected population growth, zonings, levels of planning assessments and infrastructure and “we” are to be their voice and also explain application decisions.
In a recent Urban Development Institute of Australia survey on consultation they stated a finding - Many residents are not aware of the zoning of their area or the importance of zoning and place little value on these matters until something is happening that impacts them.
It is due to this need to explain and communicate with the local residents… that I have called this proposal to council today to give residents, transparency and accountability with this application and to highlight the impact of what is essentially wise planning however each area should be planned holistically.
The local residents in Harris Street will be impacted by this development as instead of one dwelling there will now be 11 units on this lot....there will be a visual impact, density impact and a traffic impact.
I would like to acknowledge the work the Council planning officers have completed on this proposal as the original design was like a 1960 rectangle holiday block of units. They have achieved definite positive changes to the design of the building.
On page 126 you can read five further conditions being asked for to improve the functionality and appearance of the building. Presently there are two units that have their front door opening into the car park and one change is to have these two units combined and have direct street access.
Bin storage at present is not attractive to the street scape and it is being conditioned that the bins are located at the rear of the car park plus the long unbroken roof on the southern side of building is being conditioned to be amended.
These new conditions all address the visual impact on the existing streetscape by having improved outcomes and I thank the officers for the meetings they have had with myself to listen to the community.
The second impact I mentioned before was density and I do believe this is higher density under the City Plan than the previous Planning Scheme and with this density comes traffic.
Traffic is now my main concern with this proposal as Harris Street residents and myself often discuss the impact on their street with the ever increasing traffic in the area due to their vicinity to train stations and the recent changes in the train travel zones….more and more people are using the Wellington Point Station instead of Ormiston and Cleveland due to travel cost differences.
I mentioned before the “Wise planning concept of having higher density around transport hubs such as train stations” but I am frustrated as the State Government is not supplying the necessary infrastructure to ensure the livability and functionality of these areas.
I wrote to the State Gov. suggesting they investigate best usage for this block, suggesting securing for future car parking as the block borders State Gov. land and then the existing car park and could easily be formalized into car parking or to expand the existing car park. (23rd November 2018)
This street is every day without an exception a night mare for travelers trying to get a park and locals simply wishing to leave their homes.
My frustration is once this block of units is built the chance of ever having a larger more commonsense size car park for the train station is lost, so what wise planning element is that!
My reason for bringing the application to council today is to highlight to the State Gov., Council and the community that yes…having higher density around train stations is in theory good planning but not all train stations have the same level of infrastructure so blanket comments and blanket planning isn’t always wise…for an example compare South Brisbane station to Wellington Point station.
Everyone agrees Redlands requires affordable housing and yes near a train station is ideal however this particular site is the only land in the close proximity that is useable for the much needed car park expansion.
I would like to see the existing residents in such areas being valued, impacts acknowledged and shown respect with wise planning and design including a holistic approach for each area as an individual approach, with the responsibility to ensure critical infrastructure is secured for these areas not simply the density targets being achieved.
I understand this proposed unit development will be approved as the application complies with the current planning scheme as there are not sufficient planning grounds to refuse but with this approval goes the chance of future proving the car park and I simply cannot understand or accept why the land isn’t being used for infrastructure, car parking, to accommodate the future high density of the area and Train station. I will be voting against the application to highlight this need for infrastructure.
We have to continue to lobby the State Gov. for improved infrastructure surrounding our train stations where density has been committed to and planned for and also look at our own City Plan to ensure we are all using actual wise planning with future impacts and needs being planned for and not just density targets being met.