Following publication of its report on the Rally for public parks in June, Westender approached Brisbane City Council seeking details of planned parks in the West End and South Brisbane on the basis of total hectares, and hectares per resident.
In a response received late last week Council advised Westender that it is, “delivering new open space for West End as part of the Neighbourhood Plan. Council has commenced the resumption process for 68 Vulture Street, West End and this will go before Council this Tuesday [July, 29] for consideration”.
Council also provided a memo sent by the Lord Mayor to Gabba Ward Councillor Helen Abrahams in June, saying that this response details Council’s commitment to delivering open space in West End. The requested details, quantifying publically accessible parkland in the West End and South Brisbane against the City Plan’s Land Provision Standard, were not provided.
When asked to comment, Cr Abrahams told Westender that:
“The data to support more parks for West End and South Brisbane just keeps growing. West End residents do not have a local park with the standard of 400 m from where they live. Also, they do not have the area of park that is specified in the City Plan 2014.”
Cr Abrahams added that, ‘”The Priority Infrastructure Plan specifies the amount of park for local informal use as 1.12ha per 1000 people. This KPI means 38.5 hectare of park yet there is only 15 ha. The proposed new park brings the total to 17 ha. The Lord Mayor’s response to letters from residents is to refuse to comment on the deficiency of parkland in West End. The Lord Mayor’s response fails to acknowledge he has removed proposed park in the City Plan 2014.”
“The Lord Mayor may think that if he does not comment, this issue will disappear but he is wrong. It is just not possible to squeeze 37,500 residents into West End and South Brisbane without more parks. They will demand parks and now is the time to keep to the commitment to provide the seven parks promised as part of the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan”
“The Lord Mayor’s legacy will be dormitory suburbs without space, greenery or quality of life” Cr Abrahams said.
West End Community Association (WECA) President, Dr Erin Evans told Westender that, “three
years after the Neighbourhood Plan was approved Council has failed to zone all seven of the new public open spaces identified. Until these are zoned for, they remain unidentified and uncertain for the community. The current response from the Lord Mayor’s office does not address the issue or provide assurances of commitment.”
“The Lord Mayor can zone all seven parks with the stroke of a pen and the community calls on him to make good on this requirement to zone the parks and provide greenspace for the community. WECA has consulted widely with the community through discussions and surveys and provision of parks is one of the most important issues to all residents in the area”, Dr Evans added.
“The Lord Mayor needs to listen to the community rather than focusing on the wishes of developers,” Dr Evans said.
A WECA sponsored petition to Brisbane City Council demanding the provision of parks in West End has attracted over 500 signatures and will be presented to the Lord Mayor by Cr Abrahams on July, 29.
A subcommittee of the WECA meets regularly to respond to West End parks issues and it is currently finalising strategies for future action.
Dr Evans said that residents who wish to contribute their skills and ideas to this process are welcome and can contact WECA via its website at www.weca.org.au or via its Facebook Page.