Betrayal as council breaks promise to Kangaroo Point community

The Kangaroo Point community is appealing the BCC decision to approve the controversial Metro Property Developments project.

The Kangaroo Point community is appealing the BCC decision to approve the controversial Metro Property Developments project.

COUNCIL decision to approve Metro Property Developments’ 20-storey Riverview Towers violates the new City Plan and the Kangaroo Point Neighbourhood Plan according to a group of angry residents who have launched an appeal to challenge the decision.

They say they have been betrayed by a council that promised certainty through Neighbourhood Plans and a new City Plan where a limit of 10-storeys was made, and which has been “blatantly disregarded”.

“Our primary concern is that the Brisbane City Council is clearly and blatantly not following its own City Plan,” Kangaroo Point resident and appellant Karen Williams said. “The area in question is height-limited to 10 storeys. This building has been approved and it currently stands in its current form at 20 storeys. So it’s double the height of what is, according to the City Plan, able to be built there,” Ms Williams said.

In March 2013, Cr Amanda Cooper (Bracken Ridge Ward) as chair of the Neighbourhood Planning and Development Assessment Committee addressed the Fortitude Valley Chamber of Commerce and guaranteed that the Neighbourhood Plans would deliver certainty to the community about what could – and couldn’t – be built in their area.

“And we’re trying really to make sure everybody is clear about what’s going on. The community has expectations, industry has expectations. We want everyone to be on the same page and I think this is a good opportunity to try and do that,” she said.

“And the Neighbourhood Plans have really done the hard yards already. The community has been told about it and they have very much endorsed the planning work that we’ve done and this is what we are now escalating into the new City Plan,” she said.

“Personally, we need to be very clear with people as to what our expectation is. We can’t be vague we can’t be imprecise, we want to be up-front with you about what the issues are,” Cr Cooper said in 2013.

Ms Williams said it was “gobsmacking” that only nine months after Cr Cooper made those claims, the pledge could be forgotten and the Kangaroo Point Neighbourhood Plan was ignored to approve a 20-storey building.

“What we’re very concerned about is the precedent that it sets for the Brisbane City Council to ignore its own City Plan at will, and according to the whims of developers. And that’s really serious,” she said.

One town planner, not involved with Kangaroo Point, said council’s conduct was very troubling.

“The Council prepares local plans – called Neighbourhood Plans – which are supposed to give everyone a clear sense of what the council (and the population) expects to see built, and what we all think is OK in our suburbs. There is no prescription in contemporary planning legislation, however, so developers can propose anything, anywhere, and at any time,” he said.

“If it doesn’t accord with the local plan/neighbourhood plan, which is just a chapter in the City Plan, it is described as a ‘Performance Solution,’ which is a weasel word for over-development, or inappropriate development.

“Council is legally able to approve these ‘Performance Solution’ developments, although there is a right of appeal granted to anyone who made a legally-made submission to the application at the time the application was advertised (15 business days soon after the application is first submitted to Council),” he said.

And while the residents of Kangaroo Point have strength in numbers, it’s now a numbers game of a different kind, with an appeal likely to cost in excess of $100,000.

To offer your support to the Kangaroo Point residents, contact Karen Williams on 0412 683 681 or email: kangapoint.residents@gmail.com.

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One Response to “Betrayal as council breaks promise to Kangaroo Point community”
  1. M Shelton says:

    Betrayal is the worst element to be found in a human being.
    It clearly demonstrates all there is to know about the person.
    Councils are no different.

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