A proposal to build high-rise apartment buildings in West End could be ticked off by council bureaucrats after the local councillor failed in his bid to have it scrutinised by elected officials.
The mixed use development proposed for the former distance education school on Montague Road would include a major supermarket, retail space and 193 units across two buildings, one eight storeys and the other nine storeys.
Local councillor Jonathan Sri (The Gabba) attempted to take the development to Brisbane City Council’s City Planning committee, of which he was a member, on Tuesday morning.
Cr Sri said the “uncontroversial” proposal for a development at Eagle Farm racecourse, which passed through the committee on Tuesday, received that level of scrutiny, so there was no reason a more contentious development should receive the same treatment.
Cr Sri moved a motion to have the Montague Road development go to the elected officials for approval.
“There are a lot of developments going on in my area and I don’t raise concerns about most of them, but this one is particularly large,” he said.
“I’ve written a 17-page submission because it raises so many glaring, concerning issues in terms of traffic management because that area is quite congested already.
“They’re proposing a very large supermarket, despite there being an Aldi very close by and a whole bunch of smaller fruit and veggie shops and small delis, those sorts of businesses, and also the Davies Park markets.
“I’m not convinced there’s a strong economic case for another supermarket in the area.”
City Planning chairman Julian Simmonds said he and his fellow Liberal National Party councillors would vote against the motion, but said he would consider the development for inclusion on the committee’s agenda at a future meeting.
“I’ve got a pretty clear set of criteria set out in the roles and responsibilities for this committee that you voted for in council just a few weeks ago,” he said.
Cr Sri said the committee spent considerable time discussing and approving the development at Eagle Farm racecourse and should devote as much time to Montague Road.
“There have been over 100 substantial submissions against this development, so it’s not just people signing a petition,” he said.
“These are genuine residents who are seriously concerned about it. One hundred submissions against this and I’m surprised we’re not even looking at it.”
Cr Simmonds said he followed strict criteria when determining which developments were sent to the committee for approval and that Cr Sri himself had voted for that criteria during his first meeting in the council chamber.
Cr Sri said: “I just want to emphasise that I’m not sure that I did vote for the criteria.”
Cr Simmonds: “You did, mate. It was carried on the voices, so that means that everyone’s recorded as voting for it.”
Cr Shayne Sutton (Labor): “Is that right? I didn’t know that if it was passed on the voices everyone was assumed to be voting for it.”
Cr Simmonds: “What do you think divisions are for?”
Cr Sutton expressed some surprise to learn she was assumed to have voted for all motions before the council in which no divisions were called.
“I never knew that there was just an automatic assumption that everyone voted for it,” she said.
“You’re just creating an argument for more divisions.”
Cr Sri said he was uncomfortable with the assumption he supported the criteria.
“I don’t want to be on the record as having supported criteria that I didn’t vote for,” he said.
According to the criteria set out at the start of this council term, “major project” developments to go before the City Planning committee had to meet any or all of the following criteria:
- The project will be of considerable impact to the city from an environmental, economic or planning perspective;
- The project will have a significant impact on council infrastructure and resources;
- The project will require the planning scheme to be varied or overridden to give effect to the project; and/or
- The manager (of) development assessment decides that a particular project should be treated as a major project.
Cr Sri’s motion was defeated along party lines, with only he and Cr Sutton voting in favour.
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