The City Plan - Planning Our City
Modern cities like the Gold Coast are developed using a planning scheme or city plan as a framework for the multitude of activities that happen in a city. Gold Coast adopted its latest City Plan in 2016 and while it is far from perfect in meeting environmental goals, it does provide a legal framework for Council to follow when making decisions about development applications.
In the past 18 months there have been many complaints about the manner in which developer applications are assessed by Council planning personnel leading residents to believe that their interests were being over-ridden by the commercial interests of the development industry.
Here is an example of the issues the community is raising.
Gecko sent this letter to both the State Government and Gold Coast Council. State Government told us it is a Council matter.
Council replied after 5 months of constant reminders with this letter which does not address the issues raised at all.
Gecko’s letter and the Council reply have been forwarded to the Crime and Corruption Committee for their information and perhaps action.
The Crime and Corruption Committee began investigating this state of affairs in a number of Queensland councils and in October 2017 brought down the Belcarra Report which confirmed residents’ beliefs.
Following on from this the State Government introduced legislation into Parliament in May 2018, banning development industry donations to the election campaign coffers of people wishing to run for election in Council.
It is hoped these changes to legislation will bring back more balance and recognition of community interests into planning decisions.
Gecko Can Help
City planning is not something most people get involved with and it is a complex situation. However from time to time a particular development application will raise the interest or ire of local people and it is here that Gecko Campaign team tries to assist.
Gecko’s role in planning matters is:-
- To put in submissions to major developments that are not considered to be in the city’s best interests.
- To assist other community organisations when they have a campaign opposing a particular development.
- To facilitate community interests through the formation of and regular meetings of the Gold Coast Community Alliance.
- To be more effective in advocating to State and Local Government through the formation and regular meetings of the South East Queensland Alliance of community organisations throughout South East Queensland.
- To lobby government for fairer planning legislation that also promotes protection of the natural environment and sustainability of the built environment.
Examples of planning submissions Gecko has made include:
- the Komune high rise development in Coolangatta,
- the Boral Quarry in west Burleigh,
- Songcheng Australian Legends World on the Carrara Flood Plain,
- several developments in koala habitat in Coomera,
- Black Swan Lake Bundall,
- a Surf Club in littoral rainforest at Surfers Paradise and
- residential development on Burleigh Heads Golf Club
A Bit of History
Thousands of years ago the ancient civilizations had planned cities, and since then various forms of planned cities have been tried.
Of course some cities just grew wherever there was a need for people to come together for food, commerce or safety resulting in narrow meandering streets maybe with a town square for gatherings.
Following the growth of cities as a result of the industrialisation more effort was put into designing cities that protected human health, safety and were more pleasant places to live for all sectors of society, but particularly for lower socio-economic groups in developed nations.
The main planning legislation that affects the development of our cities, towns and country side in Queensland includes:-
- The State Planning Policy
- The SEQ Regional Plan
- The Planning Act
- Gold Coast Planning Scheme (City Plan)
Written by Lois Levy.