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Email newsletter Thursday, 10 February 2023

 

Please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly.

 

Dear residents,

I hope you’ve been coping ok with recent heatwaves. Such events remind us that we live in a divided city. Some of us have well-designed homes with good ventilation and solar-powered air-conditioning. Others (mostly lower-income renters) live in musty ovens that are expensive to keep cool and downright unsafe to inhabit during power cuts. It’s increasingly clear that strengthening renters’ rights and adapting our city for a warming climate are closely linked priorities.

Given that we now have active state and federal representatives who are sending out their own regular email newsletters, I’m aiming to only send out updates every three weeks and will see how that goes. Feedback on the kinds of issues and questions you’d like addressed in these newsletters is always welcome.

 

New free bus route comes to Kurilpa!

One piece of good news from the start of this year is the introduction of a new free bus loop running every 12 minutes between West End and South Brisbane. The route 86 began operations in late January and is the first free public bus service in West End/South Brisbane that I can remember. It runs in an anti-clockwise loop along Vulture Street, Grey Street and Montague Road.

While most Brisbane bus routes are funded by the State Government (who also collects all the ticket revenue), this service is funded directly by Brisbane City Council on a one-year trial basis (it will be cancelled if ridership is not high enough). It’s very rare for new bus services to be introduced anywhere in the city, and we almost never get new free services, so this is a big win for our community.

Interestingly, this service is not at all about connecting 9-to-5 commuters who are travelling to and from the city (it doesn’t run into the CBD). Its focus is on connecting different precincts within the 4101 postcode and improving accessibility for people with impaired mobility (such as parents with small kids, or elderly residents) who might find it difficult to get from central West End down to South Bank (or vice versa).

I really like that the service runs late into the evenings and on weekends/public holidays, but currently it only starts at 10am, which is a missed opportunity to cater to morning demand. If you’d like to see the service start earlier each day, please email the mayor at [email protected] to congratulate the council on introducing this new service, and ask that it start operating at 7am or 8am instead of 10am.

You can find more info about the new bus loop - including an explanation of why the route doesn’t also run in a clockwise direction - at this link. One of the main barriers to getting more high-frequency services connecting different parts of the Gabba Ward is that buses get held up in general traffic congestion. If we want to improve public transport, we also need to take lanes away from cars to create dedicated bus lanes - a difficult but important conversation to be starting in our community.

To help celebrate the new bus route (and bump up the patronage numbers) I’m organising a “Words on Wheels” spoken word concert up the back of the bus for the evening of Monday, 13 February. 

Passengers can get on the 7:20pm service of the route 86 bus at the GOMA bus stop (Stanley Place, South Brisbane) and ride the loop while listening to 20 minutes of acoustic performance poetry (if there’s lots of demand and too many people to fit on the bus, we’ll do a second loop of performances on the 7:40pm service). Free entry of course. More details via the Facebook event.

 

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding - Renovate or Relocate?

By the end of this century, rising sea levels mean that many of Brisbane’s coastal and riverside suburbs are likely to experience flooding, not just periodic creek and river flooding after heavy rain, but every high tide due to seawater inundation.

This raises some difficult but important questions:

  • Which streets and neighbourhoods should be relocated to higher ground due to flood risk?
  • Should the council continue offering services like road resurfacing and garbage collection along streets that go underwater twice a day?
  • If people knowingly move into waterfront homes that will be at risk from sea level rise, is it the wider public’s responsibility to bear the cost of either relocating those homes or building flood walls to protect them?

To start discussing and thinking through these questions, I’m organising a Regenerate Brisbane forum in Sandgate this Saturday from 2:15pm to 4:45pm. Although some suburbs (like Sandgate and Brighton) are much more at risk of coastal flooding than others, the long-term costs will likely be carried by the city as a whole, so it’s important that residents from across Brisbane start thinking through these issues together.

Where: Sandbag Community Centre, 153 Rainbow St, Sandgate

When: Saturday, 13 February, 2:15pm to 4:45pm (afternoon tea from 2:15, presentation from 2:30)

The venue is fully accessible. Please register for the event via this link to assist us with catering estimations.

 

South Bank Master Plan

As mentioned in previous emails, South Bank Corporation has been seeking feedback on its draft master plan to guide future development and land use within the precinct. At this link, you can download a joint submission on the master plan that I made with Amy MacMahon (State MP for South Brisbane) and Max Chandler-Mather (Federal MP for Griffith).

Among other things, in our submission we recommend redesigning the intersection of Vulture St and Grey St to prioritise pedestrians ahead of cars, and highlight concerns about South Bank’s proposal to add more food and drink businesses on low-lying parts of the riverfront that are highly vulnerable to flooding.

 

Shafston House, Kangaroo Point

The Labor State Government recently signed off on a development application for the State Heritage-listed Shafston House site. We're now waiting to hear whether the LNP-led Brisbane City Council will also approve the DA.

The application doesn’t seek to demolish the main Shafston House residence but it does propose to demolish some of the ancillary structures that still have significant heritage value. It also proposes to locate a large highrise tower (of luxury apartments, not affordable public housing) looming right over the historic buildings, and perhaps most concerningly, will build out luxury townhouse residences on part of the open lawn, which is one of the last riverside green spaces on the eastern side of Kangaroo Point.

Shafston House is one of the oldest and most historically significant buildings in the city. I would like to see it brought back into public ownership for use as a community centre, arts venue and meeting space, with the riverside lawns opened up as a public park. The council has the money to do this, but would prefer to spend public funds widening roads rather than protecting green spaces and historic buildings.

Shafston is a key site for Kangaroo Point’s future public river walk. Residents who live in other nearby buildings that don’t have direct access to the river will need to be able to walk and ride through the site to access the riverside pathway that BCC and the State Government want to complete between Dockside and Mowbray Park.

If this development goes ahead as proposed, it would lock the public out of Shafston altogether, meaning that all the residents who live on the southern/western sides of Thorn St, Castlebar St and Lambert Street won’t actually be able to get through to the riverwalk (which means more of them will continue to drive as their main mode of transport).

This is another classic example of how undemocratic and short-sighted our city's current approach to urban planning and development assessment has become. We should be building more high-quality public housing in the inner-city that preserves and enhances public green space and encourages public and active transport. Instead, we're seeing more approvals of the same cookie-cutter private luxury developments that function primarily to drive up land values and make developers rich while ordinary people have to take out bigger and bigger mortgages just to get a roof over their head.

It's not too late to email the mayor at [email protected] to give feedback on this development.

 

New South Brisbane dog off-leash area

Recently, the mayor sent out a printed newsletter that included a surprise announcement of a new dog off-leash area at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane in Jolly Place Park. I’ve been advocating consistently for new dog off-leash areas in the Kurilpa Peninsula for some time now, but I was not consulted prior to the announcement of this particular location.

I still think we need another, larger dog off-leash area for the 4101 postcode that’s closer to the centre of West End and I encourage residents to email the mayor at [email protected] to advise that a bigger, more centrally accessible dog off-leash area will still be needed. We haven’t had much info about this project yet, but I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

 

Extending Dutton Park bike lanes into Annerley

Local residents group Active Travel for Annerley are inviting residents to sign a petition for protected bike lanes, safer speed limits and safer crossings along Annerley Rd from Biscuit to Ipswich Rd (Biscuit is the nickname for the new high school at Dutton Park. Residents are advocating for upgrades that would extend the Woollongabba Bikeway south along Annerley Road and make it easier and safer for locals to access schools, workplaces, parks, train stations and local businesses by bike or walking. More people cycling would also take more cars off Annerley Road in peak hours.  

Local school P&Cs, elected representatives and other community leaders have signed an open letter supporting these changes.  

The petition and further background information can be found at this link.

You can also follow Active Travel for Annerley on Facebook, and residents who are interested in getting actively involved with volunteering on the campaign for separated bike lanes are welcome to apply to join the Active Travel for Annerley internal Facebook group at this link. 

I'm also still lobbying the council to install safer physical separators along the existing stretches of Annerley Rd bike lane in Woolloongabba and Dutton Park, and to redesign the Annerley Rd intersection approaches of Stephens Rd and Park Rd to reduce the risk of cyclists being cut off by merging cars.

 

Lower speed limit on Gladstone Rd, Highgate Hill

Finally, I’m pleased to report that the council has agreed to lower the speed limit of Gladstone Rd from 60km/h to 50km/h between Audenshaw St and Vulture St. This is the section around the Blakeney St shops, and given the high volumes of pedestrian and cyclist activity in the area, plus all the dangerous right-turn movements, it makes sense to slow down cars.

I would ultimately like to see most of Gladstone Rd lowered to 40km/h, with most of the smaller side-streets coming off Gladstone Rd in Highgate Hill lowered to 30km/h, but the LNP are still resistant to that.

The 50km/h speed limit will take effect from 15 March, 2023.

 

Alright, that’s enough local news for one email. Remember, if there's a local issue that needs addressing, the best approach is to call the council on 3403 8888, and get in touch with my office if you're unhappy with the response. Don’t forget to check out the other upcoming community events listed below.

Warm regards,

Jonno


Joint submission into the South Bank Master Plan

South Bank Corporation has produced a draft master plan to guide the future evolution of the South Bank precinct, and sought feedback from the general public and other stakeholders. At the time of posting, the Master Plan document can be found via this page.

Your federal, state and local government elected representatives for the South Brisbane area have made a joint submission into this draft master plan which you can download via this link.

If you have further feedback on the Master Plan after the 'official' public consultation period closes, we recommend you email the Planning Minister Steven Miles at [email protected] and South Bank Corporation at [email protected] (you can also CC in Amy MacMahon MP at [email protected] and [email protected] to keep us in the loop).


New dog off-leash area for Jolly Place Park at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane

For several years now, we’ve been advocating strongly for a new dog off-leash area (‘DOLA’) in the 4101 postcode, because the two existing West End DOLAs weren’t big enough. My office allocated funding to expand the Orleigh Park DOLA (off Hill End Terrace) a couple of years ago following a participatory budgeting process, but there still wasn’t enough capacity to meet demand in the local area. The only other dog off-leash area was the long narrow one along Riverside Drive (just south of Hockings St). It was damaged in the Feb ’22 floods and has been out of action ever since.

This week, Gabba Ward residents received a newsletter from the mayor which included a surprise announcement that a new dog off-leash area will be installed in Jolly Place Park at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane. This newsletter was literally the first time I’d heard about this proposal, and from what I can gather, there has been no consultation with residents or other stakeholders about this idea.

The old Riverside Drive DOLA was actually constructed many years ago on State Government land (not BCC parkland) and is sitting on top of a formal industrial site with heavy contaminants beneath the soil. The council, the state government, and the developers who own the neighbouring private block of land are all in ongoing debates and discussions about how to share the cost of cleaning up this underground contamination, which is slowly leeching out into the river. This is essentially why the flood-damaged DOLA wasn’t reopened on that site.

Since the February floods last year, I’ve been asking the council officers and the LNP chairs where they will install a new DOLA, so on some level I feel pleased about the mayor’s surprise announcement and I suppose I should be taking some credit.

But the thing is, Jolly Place Park is small and is directly alongside some very busy roads. The entire block (including the nooks and garden beds and old picnic bench) is 1500m2, and the flat area that could feasibly be fenced off as a DOLA at low cost is maybe only 700m2 or 800m2. If you fence off an area that small, it’s likely to turn into a dustbowl very quickly.

The LNP have said they’re pushing ahead with this location, regardless of what the public thinks, because there simply aren’t any other good locations for a DOLA. This of course highlights the broader problem that we still don’t have enough public parkland to cater for the approximately 35 000 (and growing) residents who now live in the 4101 postcode.

Even though the LNP are saying the decision has already been made, I’d still like to know what residents think about the suitability of Jolly Place as a DOLA location. Feel free to email me your feedback via [email protected] 

I can’t help but shake my head at the contrast between how much consultation my office went through regarding the new Kangaroo Point dog off-leash area that was installed beside Annie Street, and the fact that there was no public consultation at all before the LNP announced this new DOLA location in South Brisbane.

My view is that even if a small new DOLA is installed at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane, we will still need another new DOLA somewhere in the suburb of West End or northern Highgate Hill to cater for growing demand. If you agree, you can send an email to the mayor at [email protected] to highlight that a small dog off-leash area at Jolly Place might be a nice start, but it’s not enough to meet the existing community need, let alone further population growth, and that the mayor needs to cough up the money to create new public parkland in West End too.

 


Email newsletter Thursday, 8 December 2022

Dear residents,

We missed our last fortnightly email, as I had to take a couple days of leave. A few weeks ago on a Friday evening, I tried to calm down a man who was heavily intoxicated, stumbling around on the road and acting aggressively towards members of the public. He punched me in the face, breaking my nose and chipping several teeth, and I was taken to hospital overnight. My nose has been reset (it will always look slightly wonky from now on) and is healing slowly. I’m totally fine now, but I must say that I’m looking forward to a proper break over Christmas. 

Depending on how busy we are over the coming fortnight and how many urgent issues I need to notify you about, this might be my last email newsletter before the Christmas break, in which case, merry Christmas and happy new year!

 

Housing policy forum

Even as house prices start to drop a little, we still have a problem of widespread and rising homelessness and housing insecurity in this city. As I’ve discussed previously, many of the necessary policy responses are under the control of state and federal governments.

However there’s also plenty that local governments like Brisbane City Council could do to help address the ongoing crisis, including a more nuanced approach to land zoning, and targeted rates categories to discourage empty properties and rent-gouging.

To unpack some of this, I’m running a policy forum on Monday evening in the CBD. This is a free, public event. We’ll also be providing a vego BBQ.

Where: Cathedral Square, 410 Ann St, Brisbane CBD (250 metres north of Central Station)

When: Monday, 12 December, 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Please invite anyone you know who might be interested in discussions about the citywide policy responses that could help address this chronic need. It would help us greatly if you can register via this page.

 

Ferry Services

Residents who rely on river-based public transport will be pleased that the Holman St, Sydney St and QUT Gardens Point ferry terminals have finally reopened for operations.

Generally speaking, the city’s newer ferry terminals copped the most damage in the February 2022 floods, and have taken the longest to get back online. This is mainly because these terminal locations are the most vulnerable to being hit by debris (which is also why they are newer - the previous terminals in these locations were destroyed in 2011 and had to be replaced). The remaining older terminals got back into operation faster because they were in less damage-prone locations to begin with.

BCC has outsourced so much maintenance and design expertise that it no longer has sufficient staff in-house to repair and maintain its assets, and had to first get experts to assess the damage, estimate repair costs, then go out to tender to get more contractors to actually undertake the work. There are also very few private contractors in Brisbane with the relevant skills and staffing capacity, which compounds the problem.

Work was also delayed slightly because the council didn’t want to proceed with repair works until its insurers confirmed the insurance would cover the kind of work that was proposed.

BCC has said the Maritime Museum, UQ St Lucia and Milton ferry terminals will reopen in the next couple of weeks, but hasn’t yet confirmed a date. We still have no idea when work will start on upgrading and replacing the Dockside terminal so that ferry services can return to the eastern side of Kangaroo Point. I remain very disappointed in the way the council administration has handled this project, and I’ve been regularly raising concerns through internal channels.

 

Bus network review - help us improve the 192!

As explained on this web page, BCC is proposing significant changes to the bus network which will take effect in late 2024 once the Metro vehicles are in operation along the South East Busway.

However there’s currently no proposal to improve the 192 operating hours, even though this is a key service connecting UQ Lakes, Dutton Park, Highgate Hill, Montague Rd and the CBD (and the only service running along Dornoch Tce in Highgate Hill). We are calling for the 192 to run on weekends and nights, not just weekdays.

It would help us if you fill out the council’s online survey to explain that you want the 192 operating hours extended, and also email the mayor (at [email protected]) and the transport minister (at [email protected]) to underscore this message.

 

Should we relocate a Blue Cityglider bus stop?

Separately to the Bus Network Review, the council is also considering whether to relocate a Blue Cityglider bus stop from Montague Rd near Cordeaux St (Stop 14) to Montague Rd near Raven St (Stop 12 - closer to the Montague Markets shopping centre). BCC has formally resolved to delegate this consultation to my office, and will take my advice on whether to move the stop or keep it where it is.

If the Blue Cityglider stop changes from Cordeaux St to Raven St, only the 192 service will continue to stop near Cordeaux St.

I believe decisions like this should be made by local residents, not politicians. So we’ve launched a direct online poll about it. If you haven’t already done so, you can cast your vote via this link. Residents who don’t have internet access can call my office on 3403 2165 to make sure their vote is counted.

At the time of writing, about 80 residents have voted in the poll, and it seems the vast majority support relocating the stop closer to Montague Markets. Please have your say.

 

South Bank Masterplan

As mentioned in my previous email, South Bank Corporation is seeking public feedback on its draft master plan. I’m pleased that they’ve extended the public feedback period until 31 January. I encourage you to view the plan at this link or find summary information via this link, then give feedback via their survey at this link.

Some of my main concerns with the draft master plan include:

  • It still proposes to maintain through-traffic access all the way along Grey Street (this is a poor outcome - Grey St should not be open as a route for cars and trucks traveling between Woolloongabba and the William Jolly Bridge at South Brisbane)
  • It seeks to retain some short-term street parking on Grey St and surrounding streets, which is definitely not necessary considering how much off-street underground parking there is at South Bank - street parking space is better utilised for pedestrian footpaths, bike lanes and street trees
  • The proposal for more low-set riverfront restaurants underneath the cultural forecourt in front of QPAC raises technical questions about how resilient these commercial uses will be to flooding, and how service and delivery vehicles will access these businesses
  • Depending on how it’s implemented, the plan could lead to a proliferation of higher-end businesses with more fine dining and boutique hospitality venues, but comparatively few affordable options for food and drink
  • The plan offers no detail about how shared spaces will actually be managed and controlled to ensure they remain accessible to the general public - I’m concerned that the escalating over-regulation of public spaces is tending to persecute and marginalise homeless and vulnerable people
  • It doesn’t offer any new ideas to activate the dead and desolate frontages of the Brisbane Convention Centre (the sides fronting onto Merivale St and Melbourne St in particular would benefit from greater ground-level activation)

As well as filling out the online survey, you can also email submissions to [email protected] (ask them to reply to confirm receipt).

There’s a lot of good stuff in the draft masterplan, but I definitely think it can be improved further with more public input.

 

Enhancing green space in Highgate Hill

The western end of Beaconsfield Street in Highgate Hill is closed to cars, and functions as public green space (although it’s not an official public park). Recently we got a few more trees planted around the edge of this space, and this Saturday morning, local residents are running a working bee to mulch more of the space, clear some invasive weeds, and help the block eventually evolve into a more complex multi-layered forest ecosystem.

If you’d like to help out with the working bee, or just meet your neighbours and reflect on how much more green space could be created in the inner-city if we closed more sections of road to cars, come along to the corner of Beaconsfield St and Derby St from 8am this Saturday. (Make sure you bring a hat and a water bottle!)

You can invite friends and keep updated via the Facebook event at this link.

 

If you live in or regularly visit West End, please remember to cast your vote regarding the proposed Cityglider relocation. Other community events are listed below.

If I don’t speak to you again beforehand, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

 

Warm regards,

Jonno


Spare Bedroom FAQ

Here's some more info regarding the citywide push to encourage more people to do their part in addressing the housing crisis. Make sure you check out our short zine and expression of interest page as well as the below FAQ...

Why are we specifically focusing on tertiary students and older women?

Everyone has a right to a home. However some long-term unhoused people need wraparound support services which the average homeowner probably isn't equipped to provide. Rather than trying to directly support people in crisis who have complex needs, owner-occupiers and long-term renters with spare bedrooms are perhaps best placed to help prevent people from becoming unhoused in the first place. Single older women and young adults who are studying at university or TAFE are key demographics at high risk of becoming unhoused due to rising rents.

Isn’t Australia in a housing crisis because there is an undersupply of housing?

Not exactly. On the night of the 2021 censusthere were over 1 million empty homes and 13 million empty bedrooms.[1] This is at a time when half the population was in lockdown (i.e., unlikely to be away traveling), there was minimal tourism, and much fewer backpackers and international students. There are more than enough houses to house everyone. The problem is not supply but distribution.

Does Australia have a 'spare bedroom' problem?

Yes. Even real estate companies recognise this.[2] 42% of Australian households have more bedrooms than people [ABS data], and accounting for couples, over 70% of Australian households have spare bedrooms.[3] Isn’t it bizarre world that we live in when there are bedrooms unused alongside people unhoused? And not just a few of them - millions of bedrooms are empty [4] while a few hundred thousand people don’t have housing.

Important conversations to have before renting out your spare bedroom

Some questions to ask yourself and your potential housemates when deciding if you are a good match:

  • What do you want in a housemate?
  • Have you ever lived with a housemate before? What did you like/dislike about the experience?
  • How long do you plan to stay?
  • What do you like to do on weekends?
  • How often do you clean your current home?
  • How often do you cook? Do you have any dietary preferences?
  • Do you have any allergies or sensitivities?
  • Do you like to have friends over or go out?
  • What’s your daily routine? What time do you usually wake up and go to bed?
  • What's your current romantic situation? How often does your partner(s) stay the night?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • How often do you spend weekends or time away?

If they're a good match, you'll want to have a follow-up conversation about boundaries and expectations around what being a good housemate means to you:

  • When are the “quiet times” in your house when everyone should keep noise to a minimum? Does this change on weekends?
  • Is it okay for people to borrow/share basic foods and other consumables (e.g. milk, tea bags, washing powder) when they run out? If borrowing, is the expectation to replace them? Within what timeframe?
  • Are there any sentimental or fragile household items stored in common spaces which you would prefer your housemate doesn’t use?
  • What are your expectations if your housemate wants to have friends over for a get-together? (How much notice should they give you for larger gatherings? And do you want them to let you know beforehand if they're just having one or two friends dropping in?)
  • What are your expectations if your housemate wants to have someone stay the night with them in their room?
  • What's the best mechanism to raise issues or conflicts that arise while living together? (A shared messenger chat group? Ad hoc face-to-face conversations? Regular house meetings?)
  • Will you each manage your own food and cooking? Do you want to have any shared meals?

Once they have moved in, you will want to have a conversation around how housework and cleaning is to be shared:

  • What are the expectations around washing dishes? Should they be done immediately or is it okay to wait for a small pile to build up?
  • Do you want to create a cleaning roster?
  • What state should the kitchen be left in after cooking?
  • What are the specific expectations you have around cleaning of shared spaces like lounge rooms and bathrooms? This makes sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Are there certain noisy activities (such as vacuuming or using the washing machine) that shouldn't be done to early in the morning or too late at night? 
  • Are there any chores that one housemate really dislikes but another housemate doesn't mind doing?

Are you prepared for floods and severe storms?

Links last updated and verified on 1 December, 2022

South-East Queensland has always been prone to floods and severe storms, and the risk of severe weather events is predicted to increase substantially as a result of global warming.

There’s a lot of useful info about how the council responds to disasters and how to prepare your property for severe weather on this BCC web page (during floods and other severe weather emergencies, Brisbane City Council will usually also post more up-to-date info directly on their home page at this link).

I also strongly encourage all residents to sign up for the council’s Severe Weather Alert Service via this page, so that you receive notifications about predicted flooding, severe storms, and other public safety emergencies. Once you create your account, you can choose whether you want to be alerted via text message, email or automated phone call.

The council’s Flood Awareness Maps are the best way to understand which properties and roads might be at risk of creek flooding and river flooding during heavy rain events.

You can find Bureau of Meteorology live reporting of rainfall totals at this link and live reporting of creek and river heights via the tables at this link. The best links to look at for inner-city Brisbane River levels are the St Lucia gauge and the City gauge.

During and immediately after severe weather events, my main focus as a local councillor is to compile and relay information between residents and other organisations and support services. I will do my best to send out regular email updates to everyone who has subscribed for my regular newsletters via this page.

The best phone number to reach the council on during an emergency is generally the main hotline – 3403 8888.

The number for my ward office in Woolloongabba is 3403 2165, but my office just has two full-time staff, so during a severe weather event, we can’t guarantee that our line will be staffed at all times. If you use social media, you should also consider following me on Facebook.


Email newsletter Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Dear neighbours,

Lately I’ve been thinking a bit about the radical potential of local government, and how the fact that we’ve had the LNP running Brisbane City Council for such a long time means we often overlook the many ways that we could transform our society for the better if we had a more progressive local council. I’ve written a few thoughts about the topic that you can read at this link if you’re interested.

In yesterday’s council meeting, I had a go at moving a motion to slightly restrict construction noise in residential areas. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t get much support from the LNP.

Important: South Bank Master Plan

After many delays, South Bank Corporation has released its draft master plan, which is intended to guide how the precinct will evolve over coming decades. They’re calling for public feedback on the draft masterplan until 14 December (I think this is too short a timeframe for such a major document). If you believe we should have a longer public consultation period for this draft masterplan, you could consider writing to the Deputy Premier, Steven Miles at [email protected].

You can view the plan at this link or find summary information via this link.

You can give feedback via their survey at this link.

Similar to most city council and state government planning exercises, South Bank’s consultation process is unclear about how much weight they will give to submissions and feedback from the general public, compared with feedback from major stakeholders such as the business sector, the Department of Transport, QPAC, the Maritime Museum etc.

There are lots of positive elements in the draft masterplan, including:

  • improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists along Grey St
  • connecting the publicly accessible riverfront esplanade along the Maritime Museum site frontage
  • creating more spaces along the riverfront where the public can get right up to the water’s edge
  • slight increases to greenery and tree canopy cover throughout the precinct
  • closing off parts of Little Stanley Street to cars

I’m still working my way through the document to understand it all. But so far, some of my main concerns with the draft master plan include:

  • it still proposes to maintain through-traffic access all the way along Grey Street (this is a poor outcome - Grey St should not be open as a route for cars and trucks travelling between Woolloongabba and the William Jolly Bridge, it should only be open to cars and delivery vehicles accessing local destinations)
  • It seeks to retain some short-term street parking on Grey St and surrounding streets, which is definitely not necessary considering how much off-street underground parking there is at South Bank - street parking bay space is better utilised for pedestrian footpaths, bike lanes and street trees
  • The proposal for more low-set riverfront restaurants underneath the cultural forecourt in front of QPAC raises technical questions about how resilient these commercial uses will be to flooding, and how service and delivery vehicles will access these businesses
  • Depending on how it’s implemented, the plan could lead to a proliferation of higher-end businesses with more fine dining and boutique hospitality venues, but comparatively few affordable options for food and drink
  • The plan offers no detail about how shared spaces will actually be managed and controlled to ensure they remain accessible to the general public - I’m concerned that the escalating over-regulation of public spaces is tending to persecute and marginalise homeless and vulnerable people
  • It doesn’t offer any new ideas to activate the dead and desolate frontages of the Brisbane Convention Centre (the sides fronting onto Merivale St and Melbourne St in particular would benefit from greater ground-level activation)

As well as filling out the online survey, South Bank is also inviting residents to attend one of their ‘community drop-in sessions’ so you can ask more questions and give feedback in person. Details of the session times, dates and locations are available at this link.

 

Active travel studies

As mentioned in my last email newsletter, BCC is running an online consultation about how it can improve active transport safety and convenience along Vulture St, Boundary St and Melbourne St in West End, and around 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.

I 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 Point riverwalk as soon as possible.

South Brisbane study - https://yoursay.brisbane.qld.gov.au/south-brisbane-active-travel-study

Kangaroo Point study - https://yoursay.brisbane.qld.gov.au/kangaroo-point-active-travel-study 

Amy MacMahon and I have organised a few info sessions to share our thoughts about what we think the priorities are, and to take questions from residents. Thanks to the residents who came along to our first session at AHEPA Hall on 30 October.

We will be hosting two more info sessions at the following times/locations:

Session 2: Kangaroo Point Riverwalk
Where: Mowbray Park, East Brisbane (near the playground and toilet block)
When: Sunday, 13 November, 10am to 11am

Session 3: West End/South Brisbane Bike Lanes
Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane as part of the Meanjin Reggae Festival (look for the ‘Radical Futures Lounge’)
When: Saturday 19 November, 2pm to 3pm

 

Composting green waste to reduce landfill

As some of you would be aware, Brisbane households can order a ‘green waste’ wheelie bin to collect organic garden waste (e.g. leaf litter, branches etc) to be composted by the council. Putting green waste in a dedicated bin is much better than putting it into the red-lidded standard wheelie bin, where it will end up in landfill rather than being composted.

A green waste bin collection service currently costs $23.42 on the quarterly rates bill (roughly $1.80 per week). If you’re a renter and you’ve asked your landlord for a green bin but they’ve refused, feel free to get in touch with my office, as we are happy to advocate to your landlord or agent on your behalf.

Of course, if you do have space in your own yard, it’s usually much more sustainable to just compost garden waste at home and keep all those nutrients on your own property.

BCC is gradually rolling out a new pilot program of also collecting food waste from kitchens in the green waste wheelie bin. In a few specific areas of the city, you can now also put vegetarian food waste in your green bin to be composted (but not meat or dairy). One of these areas is around Dutton Park and the southern side of Woolloongabba (the choice of area is based on garbage truck collection routes) - view the map at this link. The council is still expanding its capacity to safely and hygienically compost more food waste from more households.

Of course, as with yard waste, it is much more sustainable and cost-effective if you can minimise food waste in the first place, and compost it at home to add nutrient-rich soil to your own garden beds and pot plants, rather than getting it collected by garbage trucks. Composting your own food waste doesn’t have to take up a lot of space or time. I even do it on my houseboat using two small compost bins and a couple of sealed tubs that I rotate between.

 

Getting more renters and apartment residents onto solar power

Next Thursday evening, 17 November, I’ll be cohosting an online forum about the Haystacks Solar Garden, a cooperative project where people can buy a share in a collectively-owned solar panel array and use the renewable energy it generates to offset your power bill.

This is a decentralised, non-profit option for renters and apartment residents to access renewable energy that you own and control, even if you can’t get solar panels installed on the roof of your own home.

The info session starts at 6pm and should wrap up by 7pm. You can register for the session via this link.

 

Seeking feedback on how I seek feedback on Blue CityGlider bus stops

Before I initiate a new consultation process about a local issue, I like to think about how it will be structured so we can maximise informed participation using our very stretched and limited resources.

Following a large petition from residents, I’ll soon be launching a community poll on whether to ask council to relocate one of the Blue Cityglider bus stops. Currently, the Cityglider stops near Cordeaux St, West End towards the southern end of Montague Rd, but doesn’t stop at the Montague Markets/Woolworths.

The residents’ petition wanted an extra Cityglider stop near Montague Markets, but BCC doesn’t want to add more stops - the council is only willing to relocate an existing stop. This means that if we made the change, only the 192 would stop near Cordeaux St.

A local consultation process about this decision is never going to reach absolutely everyone who is potentially affected by it, and I want to be confident that the outreach methods we use don’t skew the responses too much.

Given our past experiences and feedback that online channels are more accessible for more people than in-person meetings, I’m proposing to run an online poll as the main feedback channel, with an option for residents who don’t have the internet to call or write to my office to have their vote counted.

The poll will be promoted:

  • in our next printed newsletter, delivered to letterboxes across the entire Gabba Ward electorate
  • via signs at all bus stops along Montague Rd south of Victoria St
  • via my email newsletters and my main social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)

I’ll also hang out at the existing Cordeaux St Cityglider bus stops and the existing Montague Markets 192 bus stops on a few occasions to catch people for face-to-face conversations and make sure they know to vote in the poll.

I intend that the poll will remain open for about two months, so that we can lock in a decision early next year.

I’m hoping this approach will cast a wide enough net. I’m mindful that if I directly approach specific groups and stakeholders (such as body corporate committees etc) to encourage their feedback, that could distort the representativeness of the responses.

Relocating a bus stop is a relatively small decision in the grand scheme of things, but I want to be sure residents don’t have any concerns about the proposed decision-making process before I kick it off. It’s likely that the council will accept whatever outcome I recommend (either keeping the Cityglider stop at Cordeaux St or relocating it to Ferry Rd/Raven St).

If you do have any concerns about this approach to consultation, please let me know ASAP. I’d prefer to avoid a situation where people who are unhappy with the outcome instead try to contest the legitimacy of the process (as is often the case with community consultation).

 

Tree removals

A medium-sized tree will be removed soon outside 66 Ernest Street, beside the South Bank Tafe site. The tree is completely dead and will be replaced by a new tree (Melaleuca viridiflora species) in the same location, so I don’t have any concerns about this one.

I do remain concerned however that Energex is still a little overzealous about removing trees that are growing anywhere near overhead power lines. Recently their contractors were about to remove two jacaranda trees growing along Annerley Rd just south of Gloucester St, but we heard about it in time and were able to stop them. If ever you hear about Energex planning to remove a tree that you think should be retained, please get in touch with my office as soon as possible.

 

Alright, that’s probably enough of an information dump for this week. Don’t forget to check out the other community events listed below.

Warm regards,

Jonno


Email newsletter Thursday, 27 October 2022

Dear neighbours,

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.

South Brisbane study 

Kangaroo Point study

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.

West Village has just lodged the development application for their final 15-storey tower. You can read the plans at this link and submit comments via this link.

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.

 

Ferry terminals

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

Please take a look at the council plan yourself, and give feedback via the survey.

 

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!

Warm regards,

Jonno

 

Please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly.

 


High Density Development Proposal for St Vincent’s Private Hospital at Kangaroo Point

St Vincent’s Private Hospital at Kangaroo Point is applying for council approval to develop large residential high rise towers on their hospital site. 

Even if you don’t live around this part of Kangaroo Point, this might still be interesting to you, as it has traffic ramifications for Main St and the Story Bridge. 

Generally speaking, there can be some good arguments for co-locating housing and hospital land uses, but it’s still important to look closely at the detail of what’s proposed with this particular site and think through how that does or does not meet the planning goals and needs of the surrounding precinct.

The hospital is claiming that their proposal is “in keeping with Council’s planning regulations” which isn’t strictly correct. This site has long been identified and zoned as being for ‘community facilities.’ In fact, I understand that’s the basis on which this valuable inner-city riverfront land was originally donated to St Vincent’s (for free) in the 1940s. High-density private housing is not ordinarily permitted on ‘Community Facilities’ land.

Most other sites to the north and east of St Vincent’s are already zoned for high-density residential, and if expert urban planners though it was desirable to include more residential housing on the hospital site itself, either the council or the state government could have zoned for that accordingly.

Personally, I would like to see part of this site returned to public ownership as public parkland. If St Vincent’s doesn’t need the whole site for actual hospital buildings, that’s probably the best outcome in terms of the broader public interest. Kangaroo Point is undergoing a lot of high-density development, and St Vincent’s is one of the last remaining larger sites where it would be possible to deliver a new public park. If some housing IS to be developed on this site, it should be public housing that’s affordable for people on low incomes, not luxury riverfront apartments targeted at wealthier residents.

The current development application is ‘Preliminary Approval’ which locks in building heights and footprints without any detail of how the buildings will be used or designed. This means the developers could get approval to build up to 19 storeys without providing concrete information on how the buildings will actually look or how they’ll integrate with the surrounding neighbourhood. My big concern about high-end apartments (as opposed to aged care hospital patient accommodation, or affordable housing for low-income pensioners) is that the developers will almost certainly want to build a lot of extra carparking to sell with the new apartments. But this is not a good site to be introducing hundreds of additional cars on.

Ideally, inner-city residential development projects should be largely car-free. We want inner-city residents to walk, ride and catch public transport (and we want developers to contribute their fair share towards the cost of public transport infrastructure and services, which are sadly lacking in Kangaroo Point). We certainly don’t want hundreds of extra cars driving in and out of this particular site, because it would choke up the Main Street northbound approach to the Story Bridge. I think what we actually need along this stretch of Main Street is some separated bike lanes so that fast-moving e-scooters aren't sharing the path with pedestrians, and a dedicated bus lane so buses don't get caught in general traffic.

You can view the plans and documents for the development and make a submission to oppose via this link.

I hope people will take the opportunity to make their voices heard, and ask for public parkland rather than more cars.

Read more

Email newsletter Friday, 10 June 2022

Current as of 10 June, 2022 - please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly

 

Dear residents,

I hope you’re coping better than I am in this cool weather. My little houseboat feels very cosy at this time of year, which makes it extra hard to get up and ride off to work each morning. But there’s a lot happening in our area at the moment that you might be interested in…

Pushing back against gentrification

Unfortunately, the LNP-dominated Brisbane City Council is continuing to approve developments which aren’t supported by sufficient investment in public infrastructure, or which put upward pressure on property prices.

Recently, the council approved a development application for 5 Dudley Street, Highgate Hill, which is proposing to demolish an existing 3-storey building of fourteen smaller apartments, and replace them with a 5-storey building that has just seven luxury apartments. Low-income tenants will be pushed out to make room for a taller, bulkier building that actually houses fewer people (and doesn’t comply with the neighbourhood plan).

I’m worried that this approval could set a precedent for other sites around the inner-city, as there are many other blocks which are zoned for 2 and 3 storeys where the council might start approving 4 or 5-storey luxury apartment developments, displacing even more low-income residents.

Meanwhile, beside Davies Park, the council is currently considering an amended application for the proposal of two towers at 281-297 Montague Rd, looming over the soccer field. The developer has reduced their proposal to a height of 20 storeys, but Amy MacMahon and I feel that this is still too tall for the site and will cause significant traffic issues along Montague Road. The current height limit is 6 to 12 storeys, but we would ideally like to see these blocks acquired by Brisbane City Council and amalgamated into Davies Park.

Amy and I previously wrote to the local cement company Hanson, expressing our concerns about the negative impacts of these two projects, and asking Hanson to refuse to supply concrete to them. Hanson still hasn’t replied to our letter, so we are organising another protest against these development proposals, specifically targeting the cement factory.

Please join us on the morning of Saturday, 18 June when we will gather in Davies Park from 9am and march down Montague Road to Hockings Street, to temporarily block access to the Hanson Cement factory. You can RSVP for the protest at this link and invite friends to the Facebook event via this link.


Protest against eviction of disability pensioner

Unfortunately the State Government has recently reached a new low, as they are trying to evict a disability pensioner named David from public housing in Taringa, apparently on the basis that he didn’t keep the place clean enough.

I’m partnering with Greens MP Michael Berkman and the Brisbane Renters Alliance to protest this eviction and put some pressure on the State Government not to make this man homeless. If you can make it over to Taringa from 9am on Friday, 17 June, we could really use your support.

Please invite friends to the Facebook event and spread the word through whatever channels you can!

Metro Construction changes in South Bank and Dutton Park

Construction work on the Brisbane Metro is stepping up in intensity, with some significant impacts for roads and parks within the Gabba Ward.

The council has advised me that from 24 June, the following permanent traffic changes will be made around South Brisbane to facilitate construction work around the Cultural Centre Bus Station…

  • Grey Street will be reduced to two traffic lanes (one lane in each direction) between Russell Street and Peel Street
  • Melbourne Street will be closed to general traffic between Hope Street and Grey Street - general traffic will not be able to access Melbourne Street inbound between Hope St and Grey St or outbound between Grey St and Merivale St
  • The left turn from Hope Street onto Melbourne St will be closed
  • The left turn from Grey Street onto Melbourne St will be closed

The following temporary changes are also taking effect during the construction period:

  • Melbourne Street will be reduced to two traffic lanes (one lane in each direction, not inclusive of turning lanes), between Manning Street and Merivale Street. All traffic travelling inbound on Melbourne Street will be forced to either turn right onto Merivale Street or left onto Hope Street
  • Some of the loading zones, street parking and motorbike parking along Grey Street around Fish Lane will be removed
  • The separated bike lanes that run alongside the Cultural Centre (connecting from the Grey Street intersection to the Victoria Bridge) will be closed and cyclists will have to travel on the shared footpath. 

More details on these construction impacts can be found via the council website at this link.

Over at Dutton Park, most of the lower field beside the UQ Green Bridge is being fenced off, and work will soon begin on installation of Metro vehicle charging infrastructure for the UQ Lakes bus station on the other side of the river. I’m not very happy about this aspect of the project, as it involves removing several established trees, but the council has at least agreed to make some significant green space improvements elsewhere in Dutton Park - including converting some bitumen beside the river back into green space - in order to offset the negative impacts.

Xylophones on Boundary Street?

We’re still in negotiations with the council and other stakeholders about the future of the small public space at the corner of Russell Street and Boundary Street, behind the lizard statue. My long-term goal is to close off the western end of Russell Street to cars in order to create a much larger public space, but the LNP are still quite resistant to that.

For the time being, I’m proposing to ask council workers to install an outdoor musical instrument around the edge of the existing public space, as well as some more seating. These outdoor instruments won’t take up much room, and can be relocated later if necessary. They are supposed to be weatherproof and vandalism-resistant.

We are also proposing to install a small glockenspiel at the corner of Vulture St and Thomas St near the entrance to Bunyapa Park.

If you have any questions or concerns about these proposed installations, please send us an email. Personally I think they’ll be a positive addition to these public spaces, and I’ll be interested to see how they go.

‘Official’ opening of Inner South State Secondary College

On Tuesday I attended the official opening of the new public high school at Dutton Park. The students who performed in the band and sang in the choir did a great job.

It’s a bit odd that a school which began accepting students from the start of 2021 was still under construction until November 2021, and wasn’t officially opened until June 2022 (by which point students had been studying there for almost 18 months), but I guess that’s a sign of the times.

My two biggest frustrations with the new school are:

  1. It doesn’t have enough green space for the kids, which means students regularly have to cross Gladstone Road and walk across the UQ Green bridge to access sports fields at UQ, and
  2. The catchment boundaries of the school have been drawn in such a way that they don’t actually take much pressure off Brisbane State High.

The new facilities really are very impressive though, and it was nice to see the new school formally celebrated after so many residents spent years campaigning for a new high school.

When I joined the push for a new high school for the inner-south side in 2014 (well before I was elected as a city councillor), a lot of people said it would never happen. By that point, some residents had been highlighting the need for a new school for years, and had given up hope that the political system would ever respond to community pressure. So while I still believe the State Government made a poor decision in terms of the specific location and catchment boundaries of this school, I think it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the many years of activism from local residents and community groups that contributed to this facility being delivered.

Based on the future projected population growth for West End and South Brisbane, it’s possible we may still need another new high school for the Kurilpa Peninsula at some point in the future, even if BSHS does drastically reduce its ‘out-of-catchment’ intake. This will be an important issue to keep an eye on.

Highgate Hill Concert

As noted in the events list below, there’s another free community concert coming up in Highgate Hill Park this Saturday afternoon (11 June). My office has ordered additional portaloos to accommodate the event, and the organisers have committed to being proactive about cleaning up any litter left behind by residents afterwards. It looks like the concert will be quite well attended, and parking around the park is extremely limited, so I encourage residents to travel to the park by public or active transport rather than driving if possible. 

Tree removals

Council arborists have advised that they are removing a couple of trees around the ward that are either dead or are seriously injured/sick and at risk of falling over.

Locations include:

  • 125 Gray Rd, West End
  • 7 Vulture St, West End
  • 21 Appel St, Highgate Hill
  • Mater Hospital Emergency Entrance on Vulture St, South Brisbane

If you have more questions about any of these tree removals, please flick us an email. The arborists will be planting replacement trees in the same locations or nearby.


That’ll probably do it for this week. Please do come along to the protests next Friday and Saturday morning if you can!

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 ▸

 
23/05/2022 to 11/06/2022

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
11

Moonrise at Highgate HIll Park

Sat, 11 Jun, 12:00pm
160 Dornoch Tce, Highate Hill

‘Moonrise’ is the sequel to Be The Cascade’s debut community music event ‘Sunfall’. On the 11th of June we will be putting on 5 local bands with a focus on celebrating female talent. Moonrise is Free Entry to all! We will be selling some wholesome drinks and tickets to our official afterparty which will be a full lineup of female Dj’s at a local venue. Facebook event ▸

 
10/06/2022 and 11/06/2022

Red Light Distancing

10/06/2022 and 11/06/2022, 07:00pm
49 Vulture street, West End

We all like to watch. Some of us love to be watched. Some of us only exist when someone is looking. What happens when the watcher isn’t there? Red Light Distancing is a new inverted performance where the viewer can select from audio playing simultaneously in different rooms, as characters live and move inside each room. Tickets 16.90 ▸ | Facebook event ▸

JUN
11

Free workshop for Multicultural organisations

Sat, 11 Jun, 09:00am4.30pm
The Villa YMCA Community Centre, Ipswich

In this full day workshop, you will learn the basic elements of project design and planning and building on this foundation, you will have the opportunity to undertake hands-on exercises focused on preparing a grant application. Register here ▸

JUN
15

WEAAD 2022 - it's all about the Respect

Wed, 15 Jun, 09:00am–03:00pm
Queen Street Mall

Join advocates and allies to Elders in an interactive all-day event.WEAAD provides an opportunity to connect and learn about Elder Abuse, its impact and older people’s right to protection. When respect and honour are positioned in our interactions with Elders, we are all better positioned to combat and mitigate Elder Abuse from occurring. See the program here ▸

JUN
15

Navigating the Digital World

Wed, 15 Jun, 10:00am–11:00am
Zoom

In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), COTA Queensland, U3A Network Queensland and nbn are pleased to bring you this great webinar to assist you to navigate the digital world. Register for free ▸

JUN
17

Save David’s Home: Protest against eviction into homelessness

Fri, 17 Jun, 09:00am–12:00pm
Cnr Waverley Rd and Manchester Tce, Taringa, QLD 4066

Everyone deserves a place to call home. David is a renter living in public housing in Taringa and an active member of his community. He has a disability and receives a pension. The Department of Housing is unfairly trying to evict him with no plan for long-term accommodation. I know that there is a lot of support in our local community for David, so please join us at 9am, Friday 17 June, to protest this unfair eviction and save David’s home. Everyone is welcome, even if you’ve never attended a protest before. There will be no need to get arrested, but some protestors may form a peaceful “human chain” to prevent police evicting David. Facebook event ▸

JUN
18

Snap Action: West End and Highgate Hill Deserve Better

Sat, 18 Jun, 09:00am
Corner of Jane Street and Montague Road, West End

Developers have updated their proposal to build two highrise towers looming over Davies Park that are still way above neighbourhood height limits. Brisbane City Council has also just approved a development application at 5 Dudley St, Highgate Hill, which will demolish 14 existing affordable units to replace them with just 7 luxury apartments. This demands a strong response from the community. So join us for a snap action on Saturday 18 June. We’ll start in Davies Park, Corner of Jane Street and Montague and march down Montague Road to Hanson Concrete on Hockings Street. We’ll peacefully block their driveway to send a clear message to any local companies thinking about working on these projects that if these developments go ahead, the community will make it very hard for all involved. 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 Mari􀀞me 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: info@mari􀀞memuseum.com.au Tickets for $25 here ▸

JUN
29

Queensland’s gaol and imprisonment crisis"". Speaker: Keith Hamburger

Wed, 29 Jun, 07:00pm
Given & Latrobe Tce Paddington

Keith is no arcadian dreamer - he has spent a life time working and changing the incarceration system in Qld. Unfortunately, since his retirement, Qld has regressed: more people - notably First Nation People - are incarcerated; there is a higher rate of recidivism; and communities are less safe; and billions is being wasted - unnecessarily! Keith will speak through several approaches that can reduce incarceration, recidivism, diverting offenders from prison and making genuine progress towards Closing the Gap aspirations. RSVP here ▸

JUL
01

Thinking you'd like to run for Brisbane City Council as a candidate? Casual chat and Q&A

Fri, 01 Jul, 04:30pm–06:30pm
2/63 Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba (driveway access via Crown St)

I'm an organising a Q&A session for potential future city council candidates... Big swings to the Greens at the recent federal election mean quite a few council wards around Brisbane will also be up for grabs in the 2024 local government elections. If you’re thinking you might like to run for the Greens and become a city councillor, but still want to learn more about what’s involved, this is a chance to have a cuppa with Brisbane’s first Greens councillor and ask whatever questions you’ve been wondering about. Facebook event ▸