I am writing in relation to the application for expansion to the Translational Research Institute (TRI) through means of infrastructure designation located at 20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba, formally known as Lot 270 on CP891565.
As the Member of Parliament for the area in which this designation is proposed, I’m writing this submission to reinforce the concerns local residents have raised and to encourage you to ensure these concerns are appropriately reflected in your decision.
General concerns on process of ministerial infrastructure designations (MID)
I would like to state my concerns regarding the process of infrastructure designations. While I understand the purpose of the designation for community infrastructure, the process adopted under the Planning Act 2016 now allows for private entities to construct a development (listed under Schedule 5 of the Planning Regulation 2017) including for-profit businesses. MIDs can now serve as a path for developers to circumvent the planning scheme and other local instruments.
The siting of the proposed new building removes the pedestrian through access from Cornwall Street, meaning the proposed development transfers what is currently publicly accessible land into private use. The proposal also includes some activation of the ground level with an entry courtyard. However, consideration should also be given to public access and ground floor activation including ensuring full disability access in and around the site and publicly accessible toilets.
Loss of Greenspace
The proposed development also eliminates green space. An increase in deep planting, as referred to in s3.3 of the Environmental Assessment Report, does not compensate for the lack of open green space. The proposed development will cause a loss of habitat and established large trees, and the proposed planting will not replace these established trees for many years. This site acts as a small green belt between the Princess Alexandra health precinct and the railway line. This development will interrupt the cohesive green belt and remove amenity for residents and visitors/staff. With the future redevelopment of the Boggo Road precinct, the need for open green space becomes vital to balance the increased development.
Alignment with the broader Boggo Road Precinct
The TRI expansion falls within the footprint of the Boggo Road Priority Development Area, and close to the Boggo Road station redevelopment. This is an exciting opportunity to transform the area into a thriving community hub, with public greenspace, pedestrian and cycling access, the preservation of the Boggo Road Gaol, and public facilities such as a community centre, and arts and music infrastructure. Alignment with broader community visions and expectations for the precinct should be considered in your decision.
I also note the urgent need for investment in medical research. The purpose of the proposal, for a private medical research facility, also indicates that there are significant gaps in government funding for public medical research facilities.
On the basis of the above concerns, I believe the proposed infrastructure designation should be refused in its current form. Please do not hesitate to contact my office on 3724 9100 if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.
Member for South Brisbane