Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poor thinking plagues humanity

It's been a huge battle for the West End community of late. This inner-city community on the Kurilpa peninsular is already busting at the seams with development and traffic. Now the Brisbane Lord Mayor has just pushed a local plan through that will see an additional 30,000 residents on top of the existing 8,000. Is it a case of NIMBY? No, see we want more people. We agree urban sprawl is bad, and higher densitiy is the answer. We think it's much smarter to accommodate people in a mix of medium density, medium rise, sustainably designed buildings. Access to parklands, social infrastructure, and affordable housing will ensure this community grows appropriately while maintaining our cultural heritage.

But there's something sinister going on because just across the river, Brisbane's CBD currently has a glut of commercial office space, and Newman wants to add another 72,000 day-time workers to our community by building a series of 30 storey commercial office sky scrapers in our suburb. Add that to the extra residents, and we have a city the size of Mackay dropped on top of us! We understand the pressures of population growth. What we don't understand is unjustified, unsustainable, unnecessary (& vacant) developments being imposed on the fabric of this community.

No where in the plan is there any mention of sustainable design, no where is there provision for public transport infrastructure, no where is there extra green space, no where is there mention of affordable housing, and no where is there provision for extra schools.

But wait, there's more. We're not the only ones suffering from the politicisation of the Lord Mayor's Office. Community resident action groups are popping up simultaneously in Albion, Bridgeman Downs, Sherwood, Milton, Kelvin Grove and East Brisbane. I think we should all get together and have a chin wag about this 'Johnny Howard on Heat' and see if the arrogance remains after we collectively face him. Apparently, he entered our neighbourhood earlier this week and was too scared to go into the main street!
I want to know what price for objectivity in this city when communities aren't listened to, and developers get a seat at the Lord Mayor's desk on an all too regular basis.

Someone said to me recently that the community should stop whingeing and start doing positive things. I'd like the Lord Mayor to come down to West End and see first hand how a diverse, cohesive community really celebrates life. This place is an asset to Brisbane. A place where all Brisbanites come for a dose of culture and community. Not some expensive piece of land ready to be exploited. It shocks me how short-sighted our 'leaders' can be. It only proves how disconnected they are from the realities of life on our streets. It also worries me that the Lord Mayor isn't getting out enough, winding down, allowing some creative thinking time in his life. A trip to Malmo, Sweden might just be the place for him!

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