I had a couple weeks of annual leave recently, so this is our first email newsletter in over a month, and there’s lots to cover. Here’s a list of topics covered in this email - scroll down to the headings that interest you.
- Great turnout to defend East Brisbane State School
- Bike lanes for West End and Kangaroo Point Riverwalk
- Bus network review and the 192
- St Vincent’s redevelopment at Kangaroo Point lacks green space
- West Village development causes traffic safety concerns
- Kangaroo Point ferry terminals
- Land Forces protest and arrest
- Community-owned solar projects to offset rising power bills
- Barrambin/Victoria Park Master Plan
But first on a lighter note, artist Martina Clarke painted a portrait of me recently that won the People’s Choice award for the Brisbane Portrait Prize. I’m honoured to be the subject of such a beautiful painting, and have been enjoying the ensuing discomfort of the Courier Mail editors (the Courier Mail sponsors the prize, but it’s obvious they would have preferred some other portrait to win the popular vote). I feel privileged to be able to represent an electorate full of so many amazing artists. Congratulations Martina!
The fight to save East Brisbane State School
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the State Government has no plan for the future of East Brisbane State School. Education Minister Grace Grace has now confirmed that this school would be displaced if the Gabba Stadium is demolished and replaced with an athletics stadium, but has no answer to the question of where the school is supposed to go.
So I’m very grateful to all the residents who turned up last Thursday morning to support the school community’s protest against the Gabba being used as an Olympics venue. I thought our state and federal representatives did a good job of highlighting the key issues and attracting significant media coverage of the campaign (full press conference at this link and livestream from the event at this link).
I feel like more people are waking up to the reality of how ridiculous this Olympics Stadium proposal is, and I’m optimistic that if we can keep up the pressure, we can secure more funding for improvements to East Brisbane State School so it can handle growing enrolments, while sending the Olympics somewhere else.
West End and Kangaroo Point Active Travel Studies
At short notice, Brisbane City Council has launched online consultations about how it can improve active transport safety and convenience along Vulture St, Boundary St and Melbourne St in West End, and at the northern end of Kangaroo Point.
These consultations are due to close on 21 November, and will shape the allocation of State Government funding which has been publicly committed to South Brisbane bikeways and the Kangaroo Point riverwalk.
While we're concerned about the limited scope and timeframe of these consultations, we're hopeful that they represent an opportunity to secure new separated bike lanes along Vulture St linking West End and Woolloongabba, to reimagine Boundary and Melbourne Streets as pedestrian-friendly environments, and to complete the missing links of the riverwalk between Kangaroo Point’s Dockside precinct and Mowbray Park.
We encourage residents to participate in this consultation process and remind BCC of the importance of safely separating bikes and scooters from other modes of transport along busy roads, and completing the Kangaroo Pont riverwalk as soon as possible.
We thought residents might have some questions about this very rushed process, so Amy MacMahon and I have quickly organised a few info sessions to share everything we’ve been told by the council.
We will be hosting three info sessions at the following times/locations:
Session 1: West End/South Brisbane Bike Lanes
Where: AHEPA Hall, 128 Boundary Street, West End
When: Sunday, 30 October from 5:15pm to 6pm
(We're tacking this info session onto the end of federal MP Max Chandler-Mather's town hall forum, which is scheduled to run in the same venue from 3pm to 5pm. You can find more info about Max's event at this link: www.maxchandlermather.com/west-end )
Session 2: Kangaroo Point Riverwalk
Where: Mowbray Park, East Brisbane (near the playground and toilet block)
When: Sunday, 13 November, 10am to 10:45am
Session 3: West End/South Brisbane Bike Lanes
Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane as part of the Meanjin Reggae Festival (look for the small ‘spoken word’ stage space)
When: Saturday 19 November, 2pm to 3pm
Bus Network Review and the 192 Service
As part of introducing new Metro vehicles onto the busway, BCC is restructuring a bunch of bus routes, mostly around the city’s south side (there are very few changes around the northern and eastern suburbs).
This ‘New Bus Network’ is not the holistic overhaul that the city’s bus network ultimately needs, but generally speaking, I think it’s a step in the right direction. The new services and network arrangements won’t take effect until the Brisbane Metro construction project is finished (currently scheduled for late 2024).
As part of this network review, the council is proposing to extend the 192 bus service south through Yeronga and Yeerongpilly (see image at this link).
The 192 service is a crucial link, particularly for Dutton Park and Highgate Hill.
But the council isn't proposing any improvements to operating hours (this is largely because Mark Bailey MP and the State Government are refusing to increase funding for public transport), so the 192 would still only operate on weekdays from around 6am to 7pm.
It's pretty ridiculous that an inner-city bus route servicing high-density neighbourhoods doesn't run on weeknights or weekends.
Even if this service is extended south, there still won't be any way for residents of Highgate Hill, Yeronga etc to catch a bus to the university or into West End on weekends or weeknights.
So I’m hoping you can support me by giving feedback through the council's online survey to highlight that you will be much more likely to use the 192 bus service if it runs on weekends and weeknights. You might also like to directly email the Transport Minister, Mark Bailey, at [email protected] to ask him what he can do to get the 192 running on weekends and weeknights.
St Vincent’s Private Hospital redevelopment lacks green space
The public submission period is closing soon regarding the development application by St Vincent’s Hospital at Kangaroo Point to build private luxury highrises on the hospital site.
This DA proposes highrise residential towers of up to 19 storeys on a site which is zoned for ‘Community Purposes’ (which means under the City Plan that it wasn’t intended to be used for residential development at all).
Rather than a car-free development with lots of public transport, the applicants are also proposing to significantly increase the amount of off-street carparking on the site. I’m concerned that the hospital’s location on the Main Street approach to the Storey Bridge means that introducing hundreds of additional car movements associated with this large development will worsen traffic congestion around the northern end of Kangaroo Point.
I’m also troubled that there’s no proposal to include any public parkland or significant space for more trees as part of this development. You’d think that considering St Vincent’s were originally gifted this site (for free) to use as a hospital, now that they are developing residential towers on the land they would be good enough to set aside a large part of the block to create some more badly needed green space. But they are in fact only setting aside about 700m2 as ‘connected open space’ (which will mostly be concrete) out of a total site area of 20 000m2.
I strongly encourage residents to put in a submission objecting to this development application. You can just submit dot points of your concerns, calling for a plan with more public green space, more trees, fewer cars, and for any housing that’s built on the hospital site to be public housing.
You can find the plans and application documents via this link and you can make a submission via this link.
Another West Village tower but no pedestrian safety improvements
As predicted, the West Village development has been a major generator of additional car traffic around West End, particularly on Mollison Street, where hundreds of cars are using the driveways to get in and out of the basement carparking for the shops and apartments. I’ve repeatedly told Brisbane City Council that the driveway design is unsafe, and that pedestrians walking along Mollison Street to reach key destinations like the Blue Cityglider bus stop are being endangered and inconvenienced by the large number of cars coming in and out of the West Village site.
The DA includes a childcare centre, but doesn’t clearly indicate how many children will be accommodated or where exactly they are all supposed to play. In addition to the usual concerns such as inadequate green space and unsustainable building design, I’m disappointed that West Village isn’t proposing any pedestrian safety improvements to the Mollison Street driveway crossover. It would help my advocacy if a few residents can submit comments adding your voice to these concerns, but I’m worried that the cosy relationship between the LNP and the developers means they might not actually do anything.
On Tuesday, Brisbane City Council updated its projections for when ferry terminals that were damaged by the February floods will be back in operation.
- Sydney Street – late November
- Holman Street – late November
- QUT Gardens Point – late November
- Milton – December
- Maritime Museum – December
- UQ St Lucia – December
- North Quay – early 2023
- Regatta – early 2023
The council said that Fitzgerald, a ‘specialist marine contractor’ is undertaking repairs to the damaged gangways off-site at the Port of Brisbane (this perhaps explains why we haven’t seen much work underway at the terminals themselves).
We still don’t have any dates or clarity regarding the timelines for the new Dockside ferry terminal. It seems like the council is primarily focussed on getting the other damaged terminals repaired and operational before turning to the Dockside and Mowbray Park projects, so it could be a while yet.
Land Forces Protest and Arrest
As you might have seen in the media, a few weeks ago, I was arrested outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre while taking part in an authorised peaceful assembly against the Land Forces arms dealer expo.
I certainly didn’t plan on getting arrested, and I think the Queensland Police were completely unreasonable and excessively rough in terms of how they handled the situation. I believe that they didn’t have lawful grounds to arrest me, and that they will end up having to drop the case. But more broadly, I’m disgusted that our political leaders are continuing to support and advocate military weapons manufacturing as a growth industry for South-East Queensland, and that the Queensland Police are being used to suppress peaceful protests against this outrageous misuse of public funds. My next court date is 14 December. I guess we’ll see how it all goes.
Community solar as the answer to higher power bills?
With all this talk of rising power bills, I think it’s timely to be sharing information about community solar gardens and other communally-owned renewable energy projects.
Lots of people in our community - including renters and most highrise apartment residents - are prevented from installing rooftop solar.
This is a major social justice issue, in that poorer members of our society will be stuck with rising power bills while wealthier homeowners benefit from rooftop solar. But it’s also a key problem to address if we are to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimise the negative impacts of global warming.
So on Thursday, 17 November at 6pm, I’m co-hosting an online forum with the Haystacks Solar Garden project where we can hear about how this cooperative structure works and how people can get involved if they want.
If you’re interested, I encourage you to register for the free online forum via this link.
Give your feedback on Barrambin/Victoria Park draft master plan
Consultation is closing this Sunday on the draft plan for the future of Barrambin/Victoria Park.
I’m very proud that I’ve been able to play my part in getting this huge site converted from a golf course into genuine public parkland, but I’m concerned that the council’s draft masterplan is full of greenwashing and nowhere near as sustainable as it pretends to be.
While there are lots of good elements to the plan, I’m concerned that:
- There’s far too much carparking (close to 900 carparks altogether), which means a loss of green space and more people being attracted to drive to the park rather than using public or active transport - public green space shouldn’t be used for carparking
- Not enough of the site has been set aside for urban farming - this is a great location for food forests and community gardens but only a small chunk of the site is identified for these purposes
- While there are lots of trees and manicured garden beds, there are not enough densely vegetated natural habitat areas
- Too much concrete, bitumen and hard infrastructure in general
Alright, well that was a massive email! As usual, we’ve listed a few more community events below. Please take special note of the forum this Monday night that we’re co-organising with Amy and Max about preparing high-density communities for future floods.
See you around!
Please note that some of the info in these newsletters (especially event listings) can go out of date quite quickly.
Did you know that as part of the Brisbane Metro project, we’re getting a new pocket park in South Brisbane?
A small, 1000m2 block of land at 125 Grey Street (corner of Melbourne St) is being used as a construction layover area for most of the project duration, but as the final stage of the Metro construction work (sometime in 2024) will be turned into a public park.
They’ve told me:
“The development of the park will need to take into consideration that the area is a small urban common, located within a highly trafficked, highly constrained environment adjacent to a precinct with important cultural and heritage significance. In line with these considerations, the development of a concept design will help facilitate enhanced and more meaningful engagement with a broad range of stakeholders and equip the project team with the ability to proactively respond to comments and suggestions as they arise. The project team will then be able to incorporate agreed amendments prior to commencing the detailed design phase.”
This is a backwards approach.
It means BCC will spend thousands of dollars ‘designing’ this park, THEN publish a concept design seeking feedback. If there are significant problems with the concept design, residents will then have to spend time and energy advocating for it to change, and if the project is too far along, the LNP-dominated council might just say “sorry, it’s too late, we need to get on with detailed design based on the existing concept design.”
A better approach would use a participatory planning methodology, where the project team asks residents what they want and runs workshops early on in the process so that interested people can throw around ideas and decide what sorts of facilities can realistically fit in the space.
1000m2 is not very big, but this is a significant location right next to the South Brisbane train station and the Cultural Centre bus station. As long as the major parties are running the show, it seems like this might be the only new park that the suburb of South Brisbane is likely to get any time soon, so we need to push for a design that best meets the community’s needs.
Although it’s small, we’ve all seen how Bunyapa Park at the corner of Vulture St and Thomas St in West End gets a lot of use and meets a wide range of needs, despite being just 900m2 in size.In contrast, there are many examples of council parks that don’t get much use, in part because the design doesn’t reflect the community’s current needs.
So if you have a moment, please email [email protected] to ask for South Brisbane residents and small businesses to be included in a participatory design process regarding the future of this park. We want locals to have a say, rather than just big entities like QPAC, South Bank Corporation and the Department of Transport being the only stakeholders that get meaningful design input.
What do you think should go in this new park?
Is it a good location for a skate park?
Or do we want some kind of stage and open-air performance space for gigs?
Should it be a stripped-back, green, leafy refuge to offset all the concrete, bitumen and steel in the surrounding landscape? Or a nature-based playground for all the children living in nearby apartments?
Obviously one small public park can’t meet all the needs of this growing community. But I think it would be better to aim for a park design that serves one or two specific functions (e.g. skate park with some trees) rather than a general, ‘neutral’ design that no-one will want to hang out in when South Bank Parklands is so close.
What do you think? Email [email protected] if you have strong views about the future of this park, and would like to be notified about potential community consultations. And make sure you're signed up for Gabba Ward email updates via this link.
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
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:
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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!
Free Mental Health Carer Support & Services, Arafmi
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 ▸
My Little Sunshine, an exploration on grief.
23/05/2022 to 11/06/2022, 12:00am
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 ▸
Moonrise at Highgate HIll Park
Sat, 11 Jun, 12:00pm
‘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 ▸
Red Light Distancing
10/06/2022 and 11/06/2022, 07:00pm
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 ▸
Free workshop for Multicultural organisations
Sat, 11 Jun, 09:00am4.30pm
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 ▸
WEAAD 2022 - it's all about the Respect
Wed, 15 Jun, 09:00am–03:00pm
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 ▸
Navigating the Digital World
Wed, 15 Jun, 10:00am–11:00am
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 ▸
Save David’s Home: Protest against eviction into homelessness
Fri, 17 Jun, 09:00am–12:00pm
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 ▸
Snap Action: West End and Highgate Hill Deserve Better
Sat, 18 Jun, 09:00am
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 ▸
Winter Solstice Festival
Sat, 18 Jun, 01:00pm–10:00pm
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 ▸
Guided Historical Walking Tours of South Brisbane
Sun, 19 Jun, 09:30am–10:00am
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]memuseum.com.au Tickets for $25 here ▸
Queensland’s gaol and imprisonment crisis"". Speaker: Keith Hamburger
Wed, 29 Jun, 07:00pm
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 ▸
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
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 ▸
I've allocated a bit of my discretionary local budget to fund Aboriginal artists to paint murals on the two toilet blocks in Musgrave Park.
Work should start in the next few weeks on the toilet at the Russell Street end of the park. A First Nations artist named Dylan Bolger will be working with young Aboriginal kids from the Murri School to paint a mural centering on the theme of the Macaranga tree. Dylan writes: "The Macaranga is of old world genesis and is considered a re-coloniser or pioneer plant; meaning after devastation it will be one of the first plants to grow back and breathe new life into the space. The leaf is representing my people and culture being of ‘old world genesis’ as we grow back through the devastation of colonialism."
You can see an image of Dylan's concept design for the mural below. I'll post more details about the other toilet block mural once they're locked in.
Looking for the online poll to vote on the proposal for a toilet block in Highgate Hill Park? Click here.
Highgate Hill Park already gets a lot of use from people who live immediately around the park, but also from residents from other parts of West End, Highgate Hill, South Brisbane and Dutton Park. A toilet would make the park more accessible for a wider range of demographics – particularly families with young kids, and people with incontinence.
We’re talking to council about installing a small toilet – with two cubicles – on the Hampstead Rd side of the park, to the south of the footpath (see accompanying image).
- would avoid impacting views from the top of the hill
- is close to the road for ease of maintenance/cleaning access
- is closer to existing underground water, power and sewerage lines
- connects to an existing footpath (minimises the need for more concrete)
- is roughly 40 metres from the nearest homes (similar to existing toilets in other Gabba Ward parks)
We know some residents don’t want a toilet in this park, so we’re holding a community poll to make sure everyone’s view is counted. You can vote in the poll, and leave comments if you're undecided and want more info. (To avoid duplicate responses, you have to provide a name and contact email to create a voting account.)
In the past, it wasn’t common to build new toilets in parks of this size, however we’ve recently installed toilets in other small parks like Bunyapa Park and Buranda Common. We’ve seen that the presence of a public toilet makes a park significantly more useable for picnics etc.
If there's general support for a toilet in the park via this poll, we'll commission a design and seek further public feedback on the details of how it looks, and on what time of night toilets should be locked (this is a relatively easy thing to change from time to time if needed).
If a resident is unable to vote online, they can get in touch with the Gabba Ward Office via [email protected] or call 3403 2165 and we'll be happy to take down their details and record their vote through the system.
For further reading on the difficult question of making democratic decisions about the design and management of public space, check out this blog post.
Brisbane City Council is currently planning its location for new charging infrastructure to support Brisbane Metro vehicles travelling to the UQ Lakes bus stop. (Some very basic 'official' info about this is included on the council website at this link.)
UQ Lakes will be the end of one of the new Metro lines, so fast-charging infrastructure needs to be installed in the vicinity of this stop to service the new electric vehicles. Council has told us this will involve three large containers with dimensions of 12m x 3m x 3m (and additional space around the sides for access) to house converters that will take high-voltage mains power and convert it to the right voltage for Metro charging.
Ideally, these voltage converters should be as close to the UQ Lakes bus stop as possible. But they also have to be somewhere that’s reasonably easy for maintenance vehicles to access, and need to be on higher ground that’s less vulnerable to flooding (which rules out a lot of low-lying spaces around the UQ end of the green bridge) or else installed on elevated platforms.
It seems that UQ was very resistant to having this charging infrastructure installed on the UQ site, presumably because space is always at a premium on the uni campus.
As a result, Brisbane City Council is now planning to install the charging infrastructure on a raised platform in Dutton Park, on the slope beside TJ Doyle Memorial Drive. Long, expensive cables will then supply electricity across the bridge to UQ. This Dutton Park location will involve removing established native trees and garden beds, fencing off around 200m2 of parkland, and introducing a large, bulky and obtrusive permanent structure into this natural-feeling green space.
It seems that rather than negotiating with UQ to get charging infrastructure installed close to the bus stop, council has instead gone for the easy option of cutting down trees and taking away parkland, even though the Dutton Park location is quite a long way from where the charging actually occurs.
Proposed location for charging containers on elevated platform
Local residents and elected representatives are concerned about the specific impacts of this proposal, but also the broader trend in council decision-making, which sees public parkland as expendable ‘vacant’ real estate which can be repurposed whenever land is needed for new infrastructure.
Whether it’s bridges, charging infrastructure or new roads and buildings, the continuing tendency to cannibalise parkland to avoid the costs of acquiring additional land for new public infrastructure is having a negative cumulative impact of depleting access to public green space. Council should at the very least be acquiring sites nearby to create new parkland to offset the public green space which is being lost, but is failing even to do this.
So far, we have very little information from the council about exactly why BCC failed to get UQ to agree to host the charging infrastructure on the university’s side of the river. We also don’t know exactly which trees would be removed, but we have a rough idea based on the indicative location council has nominated.
Access for the charging containers will be from the top of the slope, with a large cantilevered platform structure jutting out from the hillside where these trees grow
If you’re concerned about this proposal, please write to [email protected] to:
- ask that the charging infrastructure for the Metro be located on the UQ side of the river
- insist that no trees be removed for this project
- demand that any infrastructure projects which remove or fence off parkland at least include the creation of new parkland nearby to offset the loss
Residents are starting a community campaign to pressure Brisbane City Council and the University of Queensland to rethink this environmentally destructive solution. If you've like to get involved, send us an email at [email protected] and we'll connect you with the other residents. Whether or not BCC ultimately listens to us on this issue, it's important to put up a strong fight to defend the principle that public green space should not be treated as expendable, so that other infrastructure projects in the future do not lead to similar losses of green space.
We’ll update this page with more information as it becomes available.
We were inspired by the spontaneous surge in people wanting to grow their own food as the COVID crisis emerged in March 2020. At the same time we were contacted by local residents with a similar vision to our own, wanting to empower the community to grow healthy locally-grown food in public spaces, that is not reliant on big corporations.
At short notice our office swung into action committing office resources and local grant budget to support a range of local community-led initiatives. We were able to support the creation of edible verge gardens, seedling hubs, urban farms and community orchards.
Check out the block links below for the award-winning Mycelium film and our Creating Food Resilient Neighbourhoods Zine, that beautifully tell the story of these projects and their shared vision.
The third link, Food Resilient Neighbourhood Projects, has lots of information, photos, videos and a map about the various projects.
Get involved in one of our local food resilient projects
- Community Orchards Volunteers FB Group
- Growing Forward Urban Farms - Brisbane / Meanjin FB Group
- Support or create a Seedling
- Be part of the ShareWaste neighbourhood composting system
- Get a kitchen caddy when you sign-up for the BCC community Composting system
- Jane St Community Garden FB Page, West End
- Gabba Hill Community Garden FB Page, Woolloogabba
- Paradise St Community Garden FB Page, Highgate Hill
- Dutton Park Butterfly & Bush Tucker Wetland, FB page
May 2021 update:
Council’s Asset Services team have gotten back to me with the proposed layout of the Kangaroo Point dog off-leash area ('DOLA') in James Warner Park.
Hopefully the diagram is relatively self-explanatory. The dotted yellow line shows the approximate alignment of the fencing for the dog off-leash area, which will have a size of approximately 1070m2, at the northern end of James Warner Park. I understand the standard fencing height for dog off-leash areas is 1.5m.
The space to the west of the DOLA fencing (demarcated with a dotted green line) will be planted up with more trees and understorey vegetation, to expand the densely vegetated area and the amount of sheltered habitat space available to native wildlife. I think this is a pretty good outcome, because it clearly demarcates which part of the park is intended for dogs, while also expanding the amount of densely-vegetated habitat area for curlews, snakes etc.
In the proposed layouts, there are two access gates for DOLA users, one towards the southern end and one opposite Wicklow Street. I’ve also asked the council officers to plant up a garden bed along the front fence of the DOLA to partially screen the fencing. There’s quite a significant setback to the footpath and the roadway.
Council officers tell me they won’t need to remove any existing trees to accommodate the fencing, but as part of the project will remove one smaller tree from the park which they say is already dead. You'll see that the fencing alignment is slightly angled to avoid some of the larger trees. The arborists are pretty happy about getting more space to plant more trees on the western side of the dog off-leash area. Planting up more of the park with garden beds and native vegetation also means council won't have to spend as much money on mowing.
Council officers are recommending that the area under some of the existing trees with denser canopies in the south-east part of the DOLA should be covered with a porous rubber surface, which allows rainwater to penetrate through to the tree roots, but also protects the tree roots from erosion and damage from dogs. They’ve used a similar approach for the New Farm DOLA, which helps stop the space under the trees turning into a dustbowl.
The council workers will hopefully be able to adapt the existing metal rails at the ends of the space by attaching new chain mesh fencing to it, rather than removing it and installing an all new fence.
If you have any general feedback on the proposed layout, feel free to email [email protected]. If you have specific questions about the design, such as about the porous rubber surfacing that they want to use to protect the tree roots, you can email [email protected]
This image shows the rubber surfacing council uses underneath trees in the New Farm dog off-leash area
Previously - March 2021
Here’s an update on the proposed dog off-leash area (DOLA) for the northern end of Kangaroo Point. We’re now on the verge of locking in the location, which was effectively a choice between the northern end of CT White Park, or the northern end of James Warner Park. The results of our consultation seem to suggest that James Warner Park is the community's preferred location.
Given that the project has been a little more controversial than most minor park upgrades, I thought it would be worthwhile to set out as much info as possible on this one webpage to help residents understand the decision-making process so far, and how we’ve ended up here.
As a councillor, I tend to take a very hardline position in opposing any unjustified tree removals that are proposed simply to facilitate a new development. However sometimes, it's necessary to remove a tree that's rotten or unhealthy, particularly if lots of people use the area around the tree and there's a higher risk that it might fall onto someone.
There's a fig tree in Davies Park near Riverside Drive that's infected by a root rot disease called phellinus noxius, which is likely to eventually kill the tree or weaken it so much that it falls over in a storm.
The council arborists have recommended the tree be removed, and have also consulted with independent arborists. Having read the reports from the independent arborists, I think it's reasonable to remove the tree. This will also create space to redesign this sloped bank in Davies Park and prevent some of the ongoing erosion in the area. We might look to plant a different species of replacement tree (such as a kauri pine or bunya pine) because if we plant a replacement fig tree in the same location, there's a higher likelihood that it will also succumb to phellinus noxius.
In the interests of transparency, I'm publishing the independent arborist report and accompanying technical report (with the names of the individual arborists removed for privacy reasons). If you have any questions, email [email protected] and we can put you in touch with arborists in council who can talk you through the details.
A lot of residents are rightly sceptical whenever council removes trees, but I think in this case the removal seems reasonable.
Expressions of interest for various mural locations in the Gabba Ward close on Monday, 12 October, 2020
Instead of spending it all on concrete and bitumen, we’re allocating a chunk of my local public space upgrades budget towards paying artists to paint murals on toilet blocks and other walls.
We’re looking at paying somewhere in the range of $5000 per mural depending on the size (this figure includes the cost of supplying your own paint and other materials). As part of the contract, artists will also be expected to take responsibility for applying water-proof and tag-proof coatings that are appropriate to the surface.
We’re calling for expressions of interest/concept proposals to paint murals on toilet blocks in the following parks:
- Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point
- Musgrave Park, South Brisbane
- Davies Park, West End (new, larger toilet block)
- Orleigh Park, West End (large toilet block near children’s playground)
- Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park (bunker-style toilet block on Lower River Terrace)
Check out the recent works painted onto the Bunyapa Park toilet block in West End if you want some inspiration.
We’re also seeking proposals/EOIs for undercover walls on:
- Thornton St pedestrian underpass, Kangaroo Point
- Vulture St underpass, South Brisbane (between Stephens Rd and South Bank train station)
Only artists who can show proof of completing previous outdoor mural projects are eligible to apply. Artists will require a current ABN.
We are particularly interested in mural concept proposals which are thought-provoking and address topical issues, and/or specifically respond to the surrounding local context of the proposed location. Murals will of course have to be appropriate for display in a public space (e.g. vulgar language or extremely violent imagery is unlikely to be supported). Innovative proposals to paint surfaces on the insides of the toilet cubicles are also welcome.
To submit an EOI, please email [email protected] with ‘Mural Artist EOI’ in the subject line and provide the following:
- name, phone number, address and email address
- 2 to 4 photos of previous murals you’ve worked on
- Contact details for a previous client who is willing to provide a reference (if you’ve never done paid mural work before, you could also provide a reference from an arts festival, arts organisation or lecturer/teacher/mentor who can vouch for your work)
- 50 to 200 words describing the concept you have in mind for a toilet block or underpass – this can be specific to one particular location or a general proposal (you can write more and propose multiple concepts for multiple locations if you wish)
- Nominate which site you are most interested in painting (we will assume that you are generally interested in paid work at any of the locations unless you specify otherwise)
- (Optional) Further web links demonstrating your style and previous work
Expressions of interest close on Monday, 12 October at 5pm. The final decision-making process for selecting artists will depend on the number of EOIs received.
Once we have a clear idea of how much funding we can allocate, and what styles of artwork the council administration is willing to support, we will contact artists to put you in direct contact with council’s contracting team and go through the formal process of being listed as an approved supplier.
Women, non-binary folk, people of colour and First Nations people are particularly encouraged to submit an EOI. Any questions, feel free to email [email protected] or call 3403 2165.
This mural was painted in Bunyapa Park, West End by Neta-Rie Mabo under a previous round of this project funding. You can see more of Neta-Rie's work at http://instagram.com/mabolous