I had a couple weeks of annual leave recently, so this is our first email newsletter in over a month, and there’s lots to cover. Here’s a list of topics covered in this email - scroll down to the headings that interest you.
- Great turnout to defend East Brisbane State School
- Bike lanes for West End and Kangaroo Point Riverwalk
- Bus network review and the 192
- St Vincent’s redevelopment at Kangaroo Point lacks green space
- West Village development causes traffic safety concerns
- Kangaroo Point ferry terminals
- Land Forces protest and arrest
- Community-owned solar projects to offset rising power bills
- Barrambin/Victoria Park Master Plan
But first on a lighter note, artist Martina Clarke painted a portrait of me recently that won the People’s Choice award for the Brisbane Portrait Prize. I’m honoured to be the subject of such a beautiful painting, and have been enjoying the ensuing discomfort of the Courier Mail editors (the Courier Mail sponsors the prize, but it’s obvious they would have preferred some other portrait to win the popular vote). I feel privileged to be able to represent an electorate full of so many amazing artists. Congratulations Martina!
The fight to save East Brisbane State School
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the State Government has no plan for the future of East Brisbane State School. Education Minister Grace Grace has now confirmed that this school would be displaced if the Gabba Stadium is demolished and replaced with an athletics stadium, but has no answer to the question of where the school is supposed to go.
So I’m very grateful to all the residents who turned up last Thursday morning to support the school community’s protest against the Gabba being used as an Olympics venue. I thought our state and federal representatives did a good job of highlighting the key issues and attracting significant media coverage of the campaign (full press conference at this link and livestream from the event at this link).
I feel like more people are waking up to the reality of how ridiculous this Olympics Stadium proposal is, and I’m optimistic that if we can keep up the pressure, we can secure more funding for improvements to East Brisbane State School so it can handle growing enrolments, while sending the Olympics somewhere else.
West End and Kangaroo Point Active Travel Studies
At short notice, Brisbane City Council has launched online consultations about how it can improve active transport safety and convenience along Vulture St, Boundary St and Melbourne St in West End, and at the northern end of Kangaroo Point.
These consultations are due to close on 21 November, and will shape the allocation of State Government funding which has been publicly committed to South Brisbane bikeways and the Kangaroo Point riverwalk.
While we're concerned about the limited scope and timeframe of these consultations, we're hopeful that they represent an opportunity to secure new separated bike lanes along Vulture St linking West End and Woolloongabba, to reimagine Boundary and Melbourne Streets as pedestrian-friendly environments, and to complete the missing links of the riverwalk between Kangaroo Point’s Dockside precinct and Mowbray Park.
We encourage residents to participate in this consultation process and remind BCC of the importance of safely separating bikes and scooters from other modes of transport along busy roads, and completing the Kangaroo Pont riverwalk as soon as possible.
We thought residents might have some questions about this very rushed process, so Amy MacMahon and I have quickly organised a few info sessions to share everything we’ve been told by the council.
We will be hosting three info sessions at the following times/locations:
Session 1: West End/South Brisbane Bike Lanes
Where: AHEPA Hall, 128 Boundary Street, West End
When: Sunday, 30 October from 5:15pm to 6pm
(We're tacking this info session onto the end of federal MP Max Chandler-Mather's town hall forum, which is scheduled to run in the same venue from 3pm to 5pm. You can find more info about Max's event at this link: www.maxchandlermather.com/west-end )
Session 2: Kangaroo Point Riverwalk
Where: Mowbray Park, East Brisbane (near the playground and toilet block)
When: Sunday, 13 November, 10am to 10:45am
Session 3: West End/South Brisbane Bike Lanes
Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane as part of the Meanjin Reggae Festival (look for the small ‘spoken word’ stage space)
When: Saturday 19 November, 2pm to 3pm
Bus Network Review and the 192 Service
As part of introducing new Metro vehicles onto the busway, BCC is restructuring a bunch of bus routes, mostly around the city’s south side (there are very few changes around the northern and eastern suburbs).
This ‘New Bus Network’ is not the holistic overhaul that the city’s bus network ultimately needs, but generally speaking, I think it’s a step in the right direction. The new services and network arrangements won’t take effect until the Brisbane Metro construction project is finished (currently scheduled for late 2024).
As part of this network review, the council is proposing to extend the 192 bus service south through Yeronga and Yeerongpilly (see image at this link).
The 192 service is a crucial link, particularly for Dutton Park and Highgate Hill.
But the council isn't proposing any improvements to operating hours (this is largely because Mark Bailey MP and the State Government are refusing to increase funding for public transport), so the 192 would still only operate on weekdays from around 6am to 7pm.
It's pretty ridiculous that an inner-city bus route servicing high-density neighbourhoods doesn't run on weeknights or weekends.
Even if this service is extended south, there still won't be any way for residents of Highgate Hill, Yeronga etc to catch a bus to the university or into West End on weekends or weeknights.
So I’m hoping you can support me by giving feedback through the council's online survey to highlight that you will be much more likely to use the 192 bus service if it runs on weekends and weeknights. You might also like to directly email the Transport Minister, Mark Bailey, at [email protected] to ask him what he can do to get the 192 running on weekends and weeknights.
St Vincent’s Private Hospital redevelopment lacks green space
The public submission period is closing soon regarding the development application by St Vincent’s Hospital at Kangaroo Point to build private luxury highrises on the hospital site.
This DA proposes highrise residential towers of up to 19 storeys on a site which is zoned for ‘Community Purposes’ (which means under the City Plan that it wasn’t intended to be used for residential development at all).
Rather than a car-free development with lots of public transport, the applicants are also proposing to significantly increase the amount of off-street carparking on the site. I’m concerned that the hospital’s location on the Main Street approach to the Storey Bridge means that introducing hundreds of additional car movements associated with this large development will worsen traffic congestion around the northern end of Kangaroo Point.
I’m also troubled that there’s no proposal to include any public parkland or significant space for more trees as part of this development. You’d think that considering St Vincent’s were originally gifted this site (for free) to use as a hospital, now that they are developing residential towers on the land they would be good enough to set aside a large part of the block to create some more badly needed green space. But they are in fact only setting aside about 700m2 as ‘connected open space’ (which will mostly be concrete) out of a total site area of 20 000m2.
I strongly encourage residents to put in a submission objecting to this development application. You can just submit dot points of your concerns, calling for a plan with more public green space, more trees, fewer cars, and for any housing that’s built on the hospital site to be public housing.
You can find the plans and application documents via this link and you can make a submission via this link.
Another West Village tower but no pedestrian safety improvements
As predicted, the West Village development has been a major generator of additional car traffic around West End, particularly on Mollison Street, where hundreds of cars are using the driveways to get in and out of the basement carparking for the shops and apartments. I’ve repeatedly told Brisbane City Council that the driveway design is unsafe, and that pedestrians walking along Mollison Street to reach key destinations like the Blue Cityglider bus stop are being endangered and inconvenienced by the large number of cars coming in and out of the West Village site.
The DA includes a childcare centre, but doesn’t clearly indicate how many children will be accommodated or where exactly they are all supposed to play. In addition to the usual concerns such as inadequate green space and unsustainable building design, I’m disappointed that West Village isn’t proposing any pedestrian safety improvements to the Mollison Street driveway crossover. It would help my advocacy if a few residents can submit comments adding your voice to these concerns, but I’m worried that the cosy relationship between the LNP and the developers means they might not actually do anything.
On Tuesday, Brisbane City Council updated its projections for when ferry terminals that were damaged by the February floods will be back in operation.
- Sydney Street – late November
- Holman Street – late November
- QUT Gardens Point – late November
- Milton – December
- Maritime Museum – December
- UQ St Lucia – December
- North Quay – early 2023
- Regatta – early 2023
The council said that Fitzgerald, a ‘specialist marine contractor’ is undertaking repairs to the damaged gangways off-site at the Port of Brisbane (this perhaps explains why we haven’t seen much work underway at the terminals themselves).
We still don’t have any dates or clarity regarding the timelines for the new Dockside ferry terminal. It seems like the council is primarily focussed on getting the other damaged terminals repaired and operational before turning to the Dockside and Mowbray Park projects, so it could be a while yet.
Land Forces Protest and Arrest
As you might have seen in the media, a few weeks ago, I was arrested outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre while taking part in an authorised peaceful assembly against the Land Forces arms dealer expo.
I certainly didn’t plan on getting arrested, and I think the Queensland Police were completely unreasonable and excessively rough in terms of how they handled the situation. I believe that they didn’t have lawful grounds to arrest me, and that they will end up having to drop the case. But more broadly, I’m disgusted that our political leaders are continuing to support and advocate military weapons manufacturing as a growth industry for South-East Queensland, and that the Queensland Police are being used to suppress peaceful protests against this outrageous misuse of public funds. My next court date is 14 December. I guess we’ll see how it all goes.
Community solar as the answer to higher power bills?
With all this talk of rising power bills, I think it’s timely to be sharing information about community solar gardens and other communally-owned renewable energy projects.
Lots of people in our community - including renters and most highrise apartment residents - are prevented from installing rooftop solar.
This is a major social justice issue, in that poorer members of our society will be stuck with rising power bills while wealthier homeowners benefit from rooftop solar. But it’s also a key problem to address if we are to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimise the negative impacts of global warming.
So on Thursday, 17 November at 6pm, I’m co-hosting an online forum with the Haystacks Solar Garden project where we can hear about how this cooperative structure works and how people can get involved if they want.
If you’re interested, I encourage you to register for the free online forum via this link.
Give your feedback on Barrambin/Victoria Park draft master plan
Consultation is closing this Sunday on the draft plan for the future of Barrambin/Victoria Park.
I’m very proud that I’ve been able to play my part in getting this huge site converted from a golf course into genuine public parkland, but I’m concerned that the council’s draft masterplan is full of greenwashing and nowhere near as sustainable as it pretends to be.
While there are lots of good elements to the plan, I’m concerned that:
- There’s far too much carparking (close to 900 carparks altogether), which means a loss of green space and more people being attracted to drive to the park rather than using public or active transport - public green space shouldn’t be used for carparking
- Not enough of the site has been set aside for urban farming - this is a great location for food forests and community gardens but only a small chunk of the site is identified for these purposes
- While there are lots of trees and manicured garden beds, there are not enough densely vegetated natural habitat areas
- Too much concrete, bitumen and hard infrastructure in general
Alright, well that was a massive email! As usual, we’ve listed a few more community events below. Please take special note of the forum this Monday night that we’re co-organising with Amy and Max about preparing high-density communities for future floods.
See you around!
Please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly.