The development scheme for the Boggo Road Cross River Rail site is finally out.
Firstly, it’s really frustrating just how wildly inaccessible these documents are for local residents. The 70 something page document is somehow both incredibly detailed but incredibly vague (you can find it here). This is no way to conduct community consultation, particularly for a massive piece of public land.
Here’s a summary of my key concerns (I've marked the corresponding numbers to each issue on the map as well):
- They’ve proposed two possible sites for Outlook Park to be moved to – one where it currently is and one a little further south from where it was prior to the start of CRR construction on the site. Neither of the two options are very big, particularly for an area that desperately needs new park land.
- There’s also no plans to build over the train lines to provide more opportunities for green space on the site. Building over the lines is expensive, sure, but acquiring inner-city land in this area is also incredibly expensive and more disruptive to local homes and business.
- What they’re proposing around the heritage-listed gaol is really vague and could be anywhere up to four stories. There’s vague words around protecting the heritage of the gaol but I’m a little sceptical, particularly after the approval of the Stockwell development last year. To me it’s critical that the historic jail be preserved and improved as a public community facility.
- The other part of the site that I have my eye on is the land to the north of the PA Hospital (currently marked on Google Maps as 185 Ipswich Road) - it currently seems to function as storage for the rail line and the CRR construction but it’s been zoned as 20 storeys in the PDA. Zoning it so high makes me concerned that the state is thinking of selling off this land
- It also strikes me that there is really nothing in this development scheme about planning for growing school enrolments in the surrounding area. Dutton Park State School will need more space in the long-term, and the current proposal misses the opportunity for the Boggo Road site to solve that problem.
More broadly I’m concerned that the development scheme is very vague about whether development across the site is going to be private or public. Most of the listed uses for the site are either healthcare or science/innovation. I’m all for investing in these facilities, but it’s critical that they remain in public hands for public good.
Submissions are now closed
Our community ended up putting in around 100 submissions calling for this massive piece of public land to be used for more parkland, active transport, and for the Boggo Road Gaol to be kept as a museum and cultural hub. Thanks so much to all the incredible locals who took the time to make a submission!
You can also read the submission that Cr Jonathan Sri and I submitted here.
Sadly because this site is listed as a Priority Development Area, the community will be shut out of further consultation on development on this site. Beyond this initial, limited consultation, the only real public notification that is required for developments on this massive site is for the new park. In Queensland, PDAs are typically used to fast track private development, rather than considering the real and lasting impacts on the surrounding community. I personally think that with the way our laws are written here in Queensland, PDAs are fundamentally geared towards attracting private investment, privatisation and sell-offs of public land.
I’ll be keeping my eye on the progression of this development scheme, as well the upcoming draft development scheme for the Gabba Cross River Rail site. If you’d like to stay updated with what’s happening on either of these two Cross River Rail sites, make sure to sign up on this page.