THERE are only four weeks left of the public consultation on the draft City Plan, 2015 but it appears to have disappeared from the media’s view despite the fact that it will impact on every Gold Coaster’s life for the next 10 years and beyond.
The media could have a major role in examining the various aspects of the City Plan that will change and impact on Gold Coasters’ lifestyle for years to come.
GThe new City Plan is built around the assumption that the City can accommodate an additional 300,000 +people in 20 short years despite evidence that traffic congestion, lifestyle impacts like surf rage and social infrastructure shortfalls are already significant issues in this City. City finances are stretched with the Commonwealth Games and other commitments. Who will pay for the infrastructure and when?
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The Plan was designed with major input by the Mayor’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that apparently consisted only of representatives of the development and construction industry, which appear to be the main beneficiaries of this Plan.
There were no representatives from the community, the social welfare industry or the environment movement on this TAG, despite requests to participate. The detail in the Plan was cut from 500,000 words to 100,000 supposedly to make it easier to understand. Instead it leaves everything wide open to interpretation. This is a sure recipe for community conflict.
Lois Levy, Gecko Advocate, said, “It should not surprise us that the community was not asked to participate in framing this Plan as the Mayor is not an advocate for inclusive consultation. The short time frame for the public consultation of just 31 days is another example. Brisbane residents had 60 days and Logan had 45, so why is the Gold Coast being short changed?” The Council would say that it is acceptable for the shorter time frame due to the State Interest Check version of the plan being online from November but this was not very widely advertised and even now most Gold Coaster have no idea about the new Plan.
The following questions must be answered before this Plan is accepted.
- Is it acceptable to assume that an additional 100,000 people can be accommodated in the northern growth corridor that has extremely poor public transport, few jobs and little social infrastructure? Building more houses does not make a community.
- Is it acceptable than another 200,000 people can be jammed into the Southport to Broadbeach area without a major expensive overhaul of ageing water, sewage , waste management, public transport and traffic infrastructure? One light rail track is not the solution. Even the development industry representative body the UDIA agree on this one!
- Is it acceptable that we chip away at our urban buffer zones like Tallai and Worongary acreage to create higher density housing as indicated in the Strategic Framework Map 1?
Lois Levy said, “Yesterday at the Mudgeeraba Show, every person we spoke to who lived in the Tallai- Worongary area had no idea that their pleasant rural acreage lifestyle could be investigated for urbanisation and become just another suburb. They were horrified and wanted to know what they could do to stop it happening.”
Although jobs will be boosted initially due to the huge boost to the construction industry from this plan, it is clearly evident that job sustainability will be lacking and the figure of 150,000 jobs could be quite questionable when construction slows down.
We live in a unique and sensitive area that has seen unbelievable change in just over 50 years. Our elected representatives have a duty of care to not destroy it in the next 50 years.
What role does the media play in analysing these issues and communicating this to the wider community? It should be significant but we are waiting to see it.
Lois added “If residents are confused or unhappy with aspects of the draft city plan they should get along to one of the public consultation events, the dates can be accessed at this link and ask questions of our city planners and then put in an objection.
Gecko will be putting in a detailed submission by 29th July and are posting articles on the Gecko website about the main areas of concern for people to view http://gecko.org.au/.