Email newsletter - Friday, 27 May 2022

Current as of 27 May, 2022 - please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly

 

Dear residents,

We’ll we’ve certainly had an interesting (and exciting!) federal election result haven’t we? I’d like to begin by congratulating our new federal member for Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, on his recent win. I’m looking forward to working closely with Max as well as our existing State MP, Amy MacMahon, to elevate the issues that matter most to local residents, and to secure some positive changes not just for our neighbourhood, but the wider city.

For those who are interested, I’ve written an article unpacking some of the factors that I think did and didn’t contribute to the big swings towards the Greens this election.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the outgoing Griffith MP, Terri Butler, for her service representing our area in federal parliament over the past 8 years.

While in some respects, it feels like a lot has changed with the recent federal election, I’m worried it still won’t lead to a big shift in terms of the direction our city is heading in. With Labor now holding government at the federal level, we still have a federal party in government that prefers to spend more money on road-widening than public and active transport, is firmly pro-Olympics, does not seem particularly interested in addressing the housing affordability crisis, and has a history of prioritising the private property development industry ahead of the wider public interest.

It’ll be very interesting to see what kinds of changes (if any) flow from this change of government at the federal level.

 

Flood-related project cancellations and delays

The council has estimated that the damage bill from the February floods is about $600 million in terms of council infrastructure alone (apparently higher levels of government will be covering about half that bill). This includes obvious damage to infrastructure like ferry terminals, rowing sheds and park facilities, but also significant damage to bikeways, footpaths and road surfaces which have been washed away or cracked up. 

In light of this massive damage bill, the mayor has announced the cancellation or postponement of several major projects which were either very expensive, or a bit controversial.

Happily, this seems to include the proposal to demolish the East Brisbane Bowls Club, which has now been ‘paused’ without any clear date as to when it will happen. I think this is a small victory for all of us who wanted this community facility preserved, and I have to give a lot of credit to the residents who’ve campaigned so effectively against its destruction. I hope now the community will be able to reoccupy the site and rejuvenate it as a hub for live music and the arts.

On the other side of the coin though, the council has also announced delays to the high-profile green bridge proposals for West End. We’d previously secured cross-party support for a pedestrian and cycling bridge between West End and Toowong, and the LNP were also proposing a bridge from Orleigh Park to Guyatt Park. I suspect once they started looking into the full costs of these two projects, they probably realised they didn’t have anywhere near enough money for both, and have used the floods as a bit of an excuse to delay them.

It could be another two years at least before work even begins on the West End-Toowong bridge. I’m very disappointed about this, and I think it’s important for the community to advocate for this project so that it doesn’t get quietly cancelled down the track.

Please consider emailing the mayor at [email protected] to say you still support the West End-Toowong bridge going ahead and that you hope he will allocate funding towards it as soon as possible.

If you’re concerned about lack of investment in cycling infrastructure across the city, you might also like to mention in your email that you’re disappointed in the LNP’s decision to cancel Stage 5 of the North Brisbane Bikeway, and that you hope the mayor will reconsider this and restore funding for this important commuter bikeway project.


Ferries

Unfortunately I have frustrating news for residents who are wondering when ferry services will be restored for northern Kangaroo Point and for the Maritime Museum precinct.

While some ferry terminals only sustained minor damage during the floods, and have been relatively easy to get back into operation, both the Maritime Museum and Holman Street terminals are among those that need more extensive repairs (several terminals on the north side of the river are also in the same situation).

As mentioned in my last email, the council is reporting difficulties finding companies and workers with the necessary skills to make repairs. They’ve been going out to tender for some of these repair works, and costs quoted by relevant businesses are reportedly 50% higher than the costs for similar projects before the floods.

The council has explained that with so many other construction projects along the river, including two major footbridges, there isn't a surplus of existing skilled workers who are able to drop what they're doing and start repairing terminals immediately. At the moment, the council is saying that the major repair work will be starting around August. BCC says the UQ St Lucia terminal and the Maritime Museum terminal will hopefully open in late October, and that the Holman Street terminal should be online again by November. Based on the council’s past performance, I’m worried it could take even longer than that.

It seems like the relevant council officers don’t have a clear idea at all about when work will start to replace the Dockside and Mowbray Park ferry terminals. Costs have risen, skilled labour is in short supply, and timelines have become very hard to predict.

I think this highlights a few weakness and failings on the part of our city’s leaders:

  1. BCC hasn’t retained enough skilled staff in-house to maintain and repair its own existing assets in a timely fashion. Heavy reliance on outsourcing to private contractors means the council is vulnerable to the vagaries of the market, where private contractors can add in their own profit margins - pushing up the cost of repairs. This also creates delays because the tender process itself is often slow and administration-intensive.

  2. BCC clearly hasn’t planned ahead sufficiently for the risk of flooding and the likelihood of damage to existing infrastructure. The council is saying that the high repair bill from the recent floods will lead to delays in other projects (like the Dockside terminal), which raises the question: given that the flood risks for Brisbane are well-known, why wasn’t the cost and disruption of potential flood repair work factored into the timelines, contracting processes and forward planning for the delivery of essential new infrastructure?

  3. Why haven’t BCC and the State Government created more redundancy within existing public transport systems so that people can still get around even if certain services go out of action?

I will of course keep residents updated as I learn more about what decisions the LNP is making on this front. If you have questions or concerns about Kangaroo Point being without any ferry access for another six months, I encourage you to email [email protected] (and you can also CC in my office at [email protected] if you wish).

 

Pushing back against development on the floodplain

I’m continuing to advocate through every available channel against the council’s ongoing approach of permitting high-density private development on low-lying floodprone land. Recently, I had the pleasure of taking part in a forum hosted by the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland alongside historian Margaret Cook (author of ‘A River with a City Problem’) about this issue.

If you’re interested, you can watch footage of the 90-minute discussion at this link.

 

Cheap space for community groups in West End

The Community Initiatives Resource Association (CIRA) has been operating a long-running community space at 69 Thomas Street, West End. I just know it as ‘69 Thomas St,’ where residents cook up a storm on Friday evenings for Food Not Bombs, but I think its ‘official’ name is ‘The House Centre.’

Several rooms are currently available for rent at 69 Thomas Street. This building has been a significant base for local groups and activist networks for many years. CIRA suggests the location and environment would be ideal for community organisations or individuals looking for an admin base or a meeting/training space.

Rent is $100/week per room, which includes use of shared meeting rooms, kitchen and bathroom facilities as needed. The building is disability-accessible, is carbon neutral in terms of electricity supply, and has a grassroots, non-corporate, old Queenslander vibe. Street parking is available nearby and there is limited on-site parking. Shared broadband is available for $20/month.

If you’re part of a community group or non-profit that might be interested in renting an office as a base of operations, contact Neil Barringham on 0402 967 951, Sannie Pritchard on 0488 440 292 or Rob Farago via [email protected] 

 

Dutton Park tree removals

I don’t include every pending public tree removal that I become aware of in these emails - just the big ones… BCC has advised me that it will be removing two acacia trees (both of which have died) from the median strip outside 3 Borva St, Dutton Park.

Whenever trees like this are getting removed, we ask whether the council officers can at least retain the stumps to provide habitat for native species - sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don’t, depending on the context.

I’ll also be asking questions as to whether competition with invasive weeds might have contributed to these trees dying, and suggesting that the council needs to be more proactive about keeping weeds under control along some of the gullies and back-streets of Highgate Hill and Dutton Park (without using poisons if possible).

 

Covid and flu safety

Finally, as we head into winter, I want to remind residents that covid is still spreading in our community, as is the flu virus. There are lots of people - including young children and those with compromised immune systems - who simply can’t get vaccinated, and who could get quite sick if they catch one of these viruses.

So please do remember that although mask rules and capacity limits no longer apply in most contexts, we should still exercise caution and take common sense measures to limit the risk of spreading infectious diseases wherever possible. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has encouraged people to wear masks in crowded and enclosed spaces this winter even though it isn’t currently mandatory.

I’m going to try to follow that advice, and will also be avoiding attending too many big indoor events until the current rising rate of infections slows down.


Warm regards,

Jonno

 

Upcoming Events

ongoing

 

 

Free Mental Health Carer Support & Services, Arafmi

ongoing, 12:00am

Arafmi provides free counselling services, whether in-person or online (phone or Zoom). As a NFP organisation that provides supports and services for unpaid mental health carers, Arafmi appreciates that sometimes you need to talk to somebody outside of the home or your caring situation. To make an apt or to learn more, please visit their website: www.arafmi.com.au or call them on 3254 1881. Arafmi's website ▸

MAY
27

Voices of Colour (VoC) & 4EB present 'Black Out'

Fri, 27 May, 05:30pm–09:30pm
140 Main St, Kangaroo Point

Join us from 5.30pm for creative market stalls, an Open Stage segment, some amazing performances by Aurora Liddle-Christie, Lightskin Jonas, Lydie, Brisbangarang, Nadiah NFuzion and more. Hosted by Tarik Dibb with DJ DChilli on the decks. This event is a celebration of BIPOC creatives, it is FREE and family friendly. to buy tickets ▸ | Facebook event ▸

MAY
28

Brisbane Bicycle Film Night 2022

Sat, 28 May, 05:30am
Queensland Multicultural Centre 102 Main Street Kangaroo Point, QLD 4169

Join the Brisbane cycling community on May 28th for the Brisbane Bicycle Film Night 2022, featuring finalists from the Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition, and the Australian premier of Bicycle Thieves: Pumped Up. Brisbane Bicycle Explorers Club will be leading a Style Ride to Brisbane Bicycle Film Night 2022 from King George Square. The bar will be open at the venue, and there will be pizza available to purchase by the slice. Tics here: $10-$20 ▸

MAY
30

Free Pilates Mondays

Mon, 30 May, 01:00pm–01:45pm
The Mustard Seed, 861 Stanley St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102

Come along each Monday for an online and interactive Pilates class, streamed via Zoom. Our instructor Elaine will be live in front of our class. She will direct the participants throughout the class to make sure all movements are correct. Bring along your own mat and drink bottles. First class on the 23rd of May. This is a free community event from Reclink and The Mustard Seed. Don’t forget to come at least ten minutes early to stretch! Register here ▸

MAY
30

Heart and Craft Monday fortnights

Mon, 30 May, 09:00am–10:30am
The Mustard Seed, 861 Stanley St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102

Heart and Craft is a hands-on craft group. We create items to sell where all profits go back into supporting the disadvantaged in the community. Come along each fortnight to The Mustard Seed, 861 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, with a willing heart and hands ready to create! You don't need to bring anything along, just your lovely self! The type of items we will be crafting will be soy candles, scrunchies, and deodorant, just name a few. Everyone is welcome! No experience needed. And we look forward to having you here! Register for free here ▸ | Facebook event ▸

JUN
04

Art & Bake Sale Fundraiser for refugees

Sat, 04 Jun, 04:00pm
House Conspiracy, 42 Mollison street, West End

We’re having another community art and bake sale fundraiser! The last one was a really wonderful night and through the solidarity of our local community we raised $750 for each fundraiser that we were contributing to - this makes a real positive change to the lives of refugees onshore and offshore who were traumatized in detention for years by the Australian government only for seeking safety. Please fill out this form if you can donate some baking or some artwork. ▸

JUN
05

Romero Welcome Walk

Sun, 05 Jun, 08:00am
Davies Park, West End, Brisbane

The aim of the Welcome Walk is to bring attention to the thousands of long, exhausting, and dangerous journeys of people who have had to flee wars, persecution, or civil conflicts to seek safety and protection in Australia. The Walk will actively honour and respect everybody’s right to a safe refuge and to acknowledge every community’s right to be a welcoming and humane shelter . Register & Fundraising ▸

 
23 May to 11 June 

My Little Sunshine, an exploration on grief.

23/05/2022 to 11/06/2022, 12:00am
KEPK, Unit J2/241 Station Rd, Yeerongpilly QLD 4105

My Little Sunshine is a multi-media interactive exhibition posed as a thought-provoking exploration of grief as a companion of love. It is both a poignant tribute to the strength and resilience of families who have experienced the death of a child, and an impassioned call to challenge long held perceptions of grief and bereavement in contemporary, western society.The exhibition will be supported by two unique events, including a ‘Tending to Grief’ panel discussion and an ‘In Conversation with the Artists’ Q&A Get more info and free tickets to the talks here ▸ | Facebook event ▸

JUN
18

Winter Solstice Festival

Sat, 18 Jun, 01:00pm–10:00pm
Northey Street City Farm

Northey Street City Farm have been celebrating the Winter Solstice for over 25 years with an annual festival of live music, dancing, talks and workshops for all ages, incredible food, a lantern parade and of course our beautiful bonfire. Our festival invites the Brisbane community to celebrate our relationship with Nature, to listen to First Nations knowledge, attend permaculture and sustainable living talks, appreciate local music and multicultural performances, and be a part of a ceremony that models setting intentions for the new year. Buy tickets here $0 - $40 ▸ | Facebook event ▸

JUN
19

Guided Historical Walking Tours of South Brisbane

Sun, 19 Jun, 09:30am–10:00am
Queensland Maritime Museum The Southern End of South Bank and the Goodwill Bridge

Includes an in depth guided tour supported by unique and historical photos at the various stops. Plus morning tea on arrival and discounted entry to Queensland Maritime Museum and discounted lunch at the Ship Inn. Book early as numbers are limited and close, two days before the nominated day. All other enquiries see the QMM Website or Phone: QMM (07) 3844 5361 Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm Email: [email protected] Tickets for $25 here ▸