Frustrated residents will protest outside Queensland Parliament House on Wednesday against the $115 million widening of Lytton Road in East Brisbane, which will include the destruction of character homes, reclaiming heritage-listed parkland and the removal of large fig trees.
Mowbray Park, which includes the oldest war memorial in Queensland, falls on the State Heritage Register, which means the Queensland Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has to approve the Brisbane City Council project before it goes ahead.
Brisbane City Council is spending $115 million widening the 700-metre stretch of road from four to six lanes, despite strong evidence that widening roads encourages more people to drive and is an ineffective response to traffic congestion.
Bernadette le Goullon, who lives on Lytton Road, is concerned that residents aren’t being compensated for increased noise and air pollution, and is angry that a row of established fig trees in the park won’t be preserved.
“Jackie Trad is aware of the already toxic noise levels that local residents are exposed to from living on or near Lytton Road,” Ms Le Goullon said. “I’m disappointed that our State representative hasn’t stood up for her community. It’s common for State MPs to fight for residents when local councils make bad decisions, but on this issue she has been noticeably absent. I call on Deputy Premier Trad to clearly state whether she supports this dud road-widening project, and if so, why.”
Under the State Development Assessment Provisions, the Queensland Government must be satisfied that the project is unavoidable, and that the public interest in the road-widening exceeds the negative impacts upon the park and the historic war memorial.
Gabba Ward Councillor Jonathan Sri says BCC should be introducing peak-hour transit lanes, high frequency public transport and targeted intersection upgrades right along the Wynnum Road corridor, rather than wasting so much money on a short stretch of road in East Brisbane. “Other cities around the world are converting road space back into public green space to encourage active transport, but unfortunately we’re still doing the opposite here in Queensland. If the State Government approves this project, it will be endorsing the same old flawed car-centric planning strategies that have exacerbated congestion in recent years.”
“We’re worried about the loss of parkland and impacts on the war memorial, but we’re also concerned about the forty or so properties that will be removed for the extra lanes,” Bernadette le Goullon said. “Many of these homes are World War I repatriation houses and other old Queenslanders of a similar age with obvious heritage value. They have beautiful well-established gardens and are the beloved homes of long-term residents who will be forced out of the neighbourhood.”
East Brisbane resident Julie Vincent says there are better ways to address traffic congestion, and that the $115 million should be spent differently. “I can’t believe the State Government would support ramming a highway through the middle of our suburb without giving ordinary residents a meaningful say. This whole process is extremely undemocratic.”
Residents will gather on the George Street side of Parliament House between 11am and 1:30pm on Wednesday, 24 May.
To arrange interviews, call Julie Vincent on 0409 544 298, Bernadette on 0477 455 564 or Councillor Sri on 3403 2165.