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Save & Expand Davies Park

As you may have seen, the LNP Brisbane City Council have approved the development 281-297 Montague Rd, next to Davies Park, for two towers of 20 and 17 storeys. 

I’m furious, as I’m sure many of you are too. Despite a huge groundswell of locals calling for this site to be turned into parkland, it seems that yet again, developer profits come first.  

Local residents did an incredible job opposing this development - more than 700 residents signed the petition, more than 800 residents made submissions to Council, and hundreds of residents attended community meetings and rallies. Locals were calling for this site to be transformed into parkland, objecting to the height, lack of deep planting, and the lack of investment in crucial public infrastructure in the neighbourhood. 

You can also watch my speech in parliament about this issue here.

But despite these hundreds of submissions and actions, the BCC have gone ahead and approved a development that exceeds local height limits and doesn’t meet deep planting requirements. BCC has used the housing crisis to justify why they have approved these towers, but there is no affordable or social housing included in this development, and these units will largely be expensive, top-end apartments that most people can’t afford. Under the Greens plan for inclusionary zoning, a development of this size would have to deliver at least 30 social housing units. Under the current rules, it delivers zero.

This was also a perfect opportunity to expand parkland in West End. Rather than buying family homes around Rogers St to make parkland, like the LNP council had proposed, the council could have acquired this land to significantly expand Davies Park. It’s a huge missed opportunity, and it shows just how shortsighted this LNP council is. 

While we have a Labor state government and an LNP city council that put the profits of developers first, we will continue to see unsustainable, unaffordable developments right across our neighbourhood. 

There is some good news. Thanks to this community pressure, some concessions were made, including:

  • A reduction from two 26 storey towers to a 20 and 17 storey tower (these are in areas zoned for 12 and 6 stories respectively, so still well above the council plan). 
  • A slight increase in deep planting.
  • A 600m2 park will be handed over to the council - rather than privately owned open space that is sporadically accessible, like we’ve seen at West Village.

But these small concessions aren’t enough - our neighbourhood is sorely lacking in greenspace and public and active transport, housing is unaffordable for everyday people, our schools are reaching capacity. Late last year, the LNP and Labor city councillors teamed up to give developers discounts on infrastructure charges - the money we need to invest in new parks, public transport and active transport infrastructure. Greens councillor Trina Massey was the only councillor to vote against these tax breaks for developers. Now we’re seeing the council slash services, like park maintenance. 

How does the council expect this neighbourhood to accommodate thousands more people in this neighbourhood, if we don’t have the infrastructure needed? How does the council expect to fit in towers of up to 90 storeys in Kurilpa - after the Labor state government approved the Kurilpa TLPI - when we’re lacking parkland, our roads are congested, and our public transport system is struggling? 

I know many in the community will be feeling really disappointed about this decision, particularly the hundreds of people who took the time to write submissions. The state Planning Act - written in the same year that the Labor government took over $260,000 in donations from developers - is designed to put the profits of developers first, and the needs of the local community a distant last. 

We need to completely overhaul the state planning act to put people first, we need developers to pay their fair share, and we need investment in affordable and social housing. 

We will keep fighting for genuinely sustainable development in West End, more parkland, more public and active transport, and investment in schools and other essential infrastructure. In early March, we’ll be hosting a community meeting about unsustainable development, and how we’re fighting for the parks and infrastructure this community desperately needs. If you’d like to come along, you can RSVP here.  

We’ll also continue to push in state parliament for an overhaul of the Planning Act, so unsustainable developments like this - that clearly ignore the neighbourhood plan, and ignore the needs of the local community - can be transformed into the sustainable development we really need. 


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