Email newsletter Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Dear neighbours,

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve successfully generated more media coverage regarding the number of abandoned, long-term vacant investment properties and our calls for housing policy reform.

We also had some interesting debates in the council chamber last week about my proposal to introduce 30km/h speed limits on smaller residential back-streets. The Lord Mayor and the LNP tried to misrepresent me as calling for citywide 30km/h speed limits, but this proposal is specifically for ‘local’ and ‘neighbourhood’ streets that don’t lead anywhere. It's not intended to apply to ‘suburban,’ ‘district’ or ‘arterial’ roads.

As highlighted in this coverage from 7 News, many cities around the world are already introducing 30km/h speed limits because they improve safety and comfort for pedestrians while also supporting smaller retail and hospitality businesses by making streets more vibrant and social.

To be honest, I think the LNP is a lost cause on this one. Most of the LNP councillors are extremely car-centric in their thinking and are even resistant to lowering more residential streets to 40km/h (it took me several years of advocacy just to get the new 40km/h hospital zone speed limit introduced around the Stanley St hospital precinct).

But if you care about this issue and would like to see a trial of lower speed limits in your neighbourhood, I do think it’s worth sending a quick email to the Queensland Government’s Transport Minister Mark Bailey via [email protected] just to express your support.

 

How does flooding impact new high-density neighbourhoods?

We’ve also just released this video looking at how the February floods affected newer high-density neighbourhoods in places like West End. We made this video because we wanted to highlight that property developers have been misleading the public when they claim that their buildings are designed to be ‘flood resilient'. With more flooding predicted in future due to global warming, we need to be acting now to change the way new development is planned and approved. Please share this video with your friends on Facebook.

 

What should go in the new pocket park beside the South Brisbane train station?

As part of the Brisbane Metro project, a new 1000m2 pocket park will be created at 125 Grey Street, South Brisbane at the corner of Melbourne Street. This won’t happen until project completion in late 2024 (still two years away).

A couple of years ago, I was calling for Grey Street to be closed off to cars near the Melbourne St intersection to create a much larger park, but the major parties didn’t want to close the road, so this pocket park is all we’re getting for now.

1000m2 is similar in size to Bunyapa Park at the corner of Thomas St and Vulture St in West End. Although small in area, if it’s designed well, a pocket park can generate a lot of value for a neighbourhood.

For this location, I think the design of the park needs to consider the immediately adjacent noisy rail corridor, as well as its close proximity to South Bank. I suspect most residents will be less likely to want to hang out in this park for a long picnic or barbeque when South Bank’s riverside parklands are so close by.

So while I definitely want to see some decent shade trees included on this site, I think we should also think about what other community needs could be met through the design of this park. This noisy location might be one of the better options in the area to create a new skate park for the suburb of South Brisbane without depleting existing green space.

My concern is that BCC’s LNP administration does not currently seem motivated to run a proper public consultation or participatory design process regarding the design of this park. Instead, they want to just churn out a concept design that satisfies major stakeholders like Queensland Rail and South Bank Corporation, and cross their fingers that most residents won’t object to it. You can read more about it at this link.

I will of course be providing my own feedback, but if it turns out that the council itself isn’t properly resourcing a wider consultation on this park design, I’m a little unsure how I should ensure I’m accurately representing the views of the wider community. So at this stage, I’d really like your feedback on what kind of consultation process I should run to inform my position as the local councillor (considering my limited resources).

Should I hold a public meeting and workshop where interested residents can throw around ideas? Or should I just run an online survey that’s promoted via social media and emails?

What’s an appropriate process to ensure a wide range of voices and perspectives are represented in the conversation, and to strike the right balance between various stakeholders including residents and small businesses from the immediate precinct, larger organisations like QPAC, South Bank etc, and the wider population of residents who might not live locally but who regularly move through this area? How can I ensure that younger residents get meaningful input into the future of this park when the majority of under-25s aren’t reading my email newsletters or following me on Facebook?

 

Gabba Stadium vote

A couple of weeks ago, I brought a motion to the council chamber which read: “Brisbane City Council does not support the Queensland Government’s proposal to demolish the Gabba Stadium and rebuild it as an athletics stadium at a cost of at least $1 billion.”

Predictably, the motion was defeated, with all Labor and LNP councillors voting against it. (Only Independent Councillor Nicole Johnston voted with me in favour of the motion)

You can view a short clip of the outcome at this link. You can also watch the debate in full via the council’s video recording of the meeting.

I’ll obviously keep advocating against this project, but as I allude to in the video clip, I think it’s important for residents to get vocal. Contact your friends in other parts of the city and ask them to put pressure on their state and federal MPs (and local councillors) to oppose the demolition of the Gabba Stadium, and preserve surrounding community facilities like East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park.

 

Street concerts on Forbes Street, West End

For a couple of years now, a collective of residents have been organising monthly community events on Forbes Street under the banner of ‘WeWest Community Hub.’

Streets like Forbes Street have always been public places where residents can gather and take part in public life. So I think it’s great that WeWest is organising regular concerts to bring our community together, reclaim public space and support local performing artists at the same time. 

While these concerts originally started informally, I’m working with the police and council authorities to formalise street closure permits and ensure the roadway is closed safely.

This means that going forward, the section of Forbes Street between Montague Road and Early Lane will most likely be closed to cars from mid-afternoon until sunset on the last Sunday of each month, with appropriate road closure signage in place. Residents driving to access the western end of Forbes St will have to detour via Drury St or Hill End Tce.

I’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback from numerous residents of Forbes Street and the surrounding precinct about these gigs, and I think they’re an amazing example of positive public space activation. (Note that there’s also a WeWest Community Hub Facebook Group you can join if you use social media)

These Forbes Street gigs are free community events that anyone is welcome to attend, and I’m so grateful to the local residents who are volunteering to organise them. If you have any concerns about this monthly Sunday afternoon road closure, feel free to get in touch with my office.

 

Brisbane Festival and Riverfire coming up this weekend

Just in case some of you haven’t seen the promo, I thought I’d remind residents that Riverfire is on this Saturday evening, with military killing machines flying over the city around 5:20 and 5:30pm, and fireworks scheduled from 7:05pm to 7:25pm (weather permitting).

(Please note that the LNP are still resistant to resident advocacy for permanent toilets to be installed in Highgate Hill Park, and have not yet confirmed whether temporary portaloos will be available in the park this Saturday for people watching the fireworks.)

Those who are new to Brisbane’s inner-south side should take note that quite a few bridges and roads will be closed on Saturday evening, and that driving through South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point on Saturday afternoon/night is a very bad idea. The detailed list of road and bridge closures is available at this link.

The message is very simple: Traffic will probably be very bad on Saturday evening, so do not drive, and do not catch a taxi. Walk, ride or catch public transport instead.

 

Soulless, profit-driven corporations are selling killing machines in South Brisbane

In early October, representatives from hundreds of big corporations will be descending on South Brisbane for the Land Forces conference to sell and buy military weapons.

In the words of one local activist:

“Land Forces is the largest land based weapons expo in the Southern Hemisphere. Yes, you heard right – weapons expo. Like those industry trade shows where companies have little displays to show off their products and schmooze the procurement managers of large firms? Yeah that. But with tanks.

Yes, we live in a world where it is some event manager’s job to facilitate the meeting, mingling, wining and dining of weapons company executives with the public servants and elected officials who decide how to spend our money and who to murder with it.

We’re simply not having it.”

So on Saturday, 10 September, community group Wage Peace is organising a public meeting from 2:30pm to 5:30pm at Jagera Hall in Musgrave Park to discuss how the community can respond to this immoral killing machines expo on our doorstep. You can register for the public meeting at this link.

 

Public Forum regarding the future of Montague Road

From 10am on Sunday, 11 September, Kurilpa Futures is organising a 6-hour workshop and forum to chat and collaborate on a community vision for Montague Road.

The forum will be held at the Queensland Ballet Centre on the corner of Drake St and Montague Rd, so it will also be a good opportunity for people to check out the redeveloped building if you haven’t previously done so.

More details about this volunteer-led project are available via the Kurilpa Futures website, and you can register for the forum at this link.

Whether you can make the forum or not, you might also like to fill out their short survey at this link.

 

Info for Dutton Park Families starting Prep

Dutton Park State School has asked me to help promote a Prep Info Session coming up at the school on Tuesday, 6 September from 4:30pm for any parents with children who will be starting in Prep next year. More information is available by visitng duttonparkss.eq.edu.au and there’s a Facebook event at this link.

 

That’ll probably do for updates for this week. More community events are listed below.

Remember, if you have local issues that need immediate attention, it’s best to call the council directly on 3403 8888, record the reference number, and follow-up with my office if you’re unhappy with their initial response.

Hopefully I’ll see you at the Kurilpa Derby this weekend!

Warm regards,

Jonno