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Homes will be built on flood plains: Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

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Death of the Queenslander

The 20-year Brisbane City Plan focuses on high density unit developments, described as "open slather more than open space" and "not very livable". Nine News

PT0M0S 620 349

Homes will inevitably be built on Brisbane flood plains in the next 20 years, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said, in the face of staunch opposition to his City Plan 2014.

In the first of a four-day debate by councillors at City Hall on Tuesday, descriptions of the LNP administration's draft future Brisbane plan ranged from "visionary" to "time bomb".

The document provides the planning framework for the city's growth over next two decades. 

Areas of Brisbane flooded in 2011 will be used for housing under Brisbane's City Plan.

Areas of Brisbane flooded in 2011 will be used for housing under Brisbane's City Plan. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Higher-density housing in targeted city centres, green belt retention and public consultation, along with service, transport and infrastructure delivery were the more hotly debated aspects of the plan. 

As was flood plain construction, to which Labor councillors loudly voiced their opposition.

"What we are seeing from the LNP is more and more building in flood-affected parts of suburbs and that is something Labor will never support," Opposition Leader Milton Dick said.

Moorooka ward councillor Steve Griffiths described flood plain development as "absurd".

"This plan is not future looking in terms of flooding - it's about making quick bucks for some developers," he said.

However, Cr Quirk said significant flood mitigation works had been undertaken in the wake of the 2011 floods.

"The proposition has been put forward somehow we ought not be allowing development on land that does flood. The reality is this city is built on a flood plain, he said.

"We need to make the provisions available and assess applications based on building flood immunity in relation to development. 

"But it does not mean if a piece of land has flooded at some point in this city's history that no development should occur on that site.

"That would mean the denying of people's property rights. 

"That would be a failure to acknowledge this whole city is built on a flood plain." 

The Lord Mayor and his civic cabinet defended the plan from criticism by the Labor Opposition, perhaps none more prolific than the prediction it would create a development free-for-all.

The plan essentially caters for Brisbane's projected population growth with higher density development around key transport corridors and nodes in a bid to prevent an urban sprawl.

A number of Labor councillors voiced the long standing concern Brisbane's backyards were under threat from rampant subdivision, something Cr Quirk countered with the assertion the plan allowed for 40 per cent of the city remaining green in 2034. 

"I support Brisbane's growth but I'm concerned the draft city plan is a green light for development that is risking our lifestyle," Cr Dick said.

Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner said planning for the city's future was a balancing act. 

"There is no utopian city here we can all strive towards, it's about achieving a sensible and reasonable balance between competing demands," he said. 

"There is no one extreme direction or another we can go in, nor would we suggest council go in extreme directions. 

"Balance is important for the economy of our city and for the lifestyle of our city.

"This draft city plan will achieve that balance."

Cr Schrinner also reiterated the Brisbane of 2034 would remain a garden city.

"One thing I'm proud about is the amount of green space," he said.

"Across the city, we see huge tracts of the city that are protected for the future, that are protected from subdivision."

The debate is set to resume at City Hall on Wednesday morning.

54 comments so far

  • I'll say up front that I think Graham Quirk has done a fairly good job since becoming Mayor, but I find it unbelievable that areas with a history of flooding will be allowed to be developed. And as for the Mayor's statements that - "That would mean the denying of people's property rights" and
    "That would be a failure to acknowledge this whole city is built on a flood plain", well Lord Mayor, the whole city did not flood in 2011 or 1974, both of which I remember well. This is just setting up a whole new episode of disasters for future homeowners who WILL be flooded at some time in the future. The only question is when - next year, the year after, or 15 years down the track. There must be smarter solutions surely.

    Read more:

    Date and time
    February 05, 2014, 1:21AM
    • Agreed Greg

      People lost their lives in the 2011 floods in case the human memory is so short!
      Developers should not be able to make a quick buck by preying on peoples naivety that it will not happen again! Flood Plain mitigation in your dreams Wivenhoe was close to overtop and there is argument that 2011 was not as big as the 1890s floods.
      Facilitating and approving further growth on flood plains given our recent history is morally corrupt! New comers to the region will not be familiar with the areas that flooded and didn't and then when we have this huge population we wlll lose lives! again!
      I am sure the developers in Toowoomba who made money from its growth sleep without any conscience for the people who lost their lives in town due to over flowing drains and creeks!

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 11:09AM
    • He hasn't! Have you been reading the BT/watching the news of late?

      Not only does Quirk continually babble on about that appalling Legacy tunnel which is yet another tunnel disaster-in-waiting and is a chain around out kid's necks but it gets worse.

      Now Quirk is proposing to waste not $600M but $650 MILLION of our money expanding Wynnum Rd and Kingsford Smith Drive.

      It's simply outrageous that he should be permitted to spray this money up against the wall on more traffic congesting rubbish. Expecially given what he cannot help but notice about other massive arterial roads in this city which Newman built and have gone bust.

      Nice guy and all that he might be but his understanding of urban transport and other such issues is just woeful. Quirk should not be allowed to remain as Lord Mayor for another term. He's too reckless with public money like Newman and just wastes it on 1950's era transport failures.

      It's not good enough.

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 11:21AM
  • So how is this going to play out when the next major flood hits Brisbane and the lawyers start looking for a culprit in a $b class action?

    Ken of Brisbane
    Date and time
    February 05, 2014, 2:14AM
    • This is where it will have to be law that if someone purchases/rent land or house and land in those areas, it must be pointed out in the contract of sale or rent. If not, then the seller or developer along with the Council will be totally liable. Unfortunately people purchase at their own risk. Also what should be pointed out is that there would be a big problem with insurance on the properties.

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 8:15AM
    • More to the point, such properties will be uninsurable.

      No insurance = no bank finance.

      No bank finance = no buyers

      No buyers = broke property developers

      Recipe for disaster.

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 12:20PM
    • Ken True!
      And when they start looking for the class action you hope it is supported by statute as this proposal to build dwellings on known flood plains is culpable! Good on them if they sue - when the inevitable happens!
      The only people will be the developers who will make a quick buck an never live in an area where they can lose lives or property themselves!
      And amoral decision makers at council and councillors that would let this happen!

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 3:25PM
  • This plan makes perfect sense, said no one.

    Wendell Gee
    Date and time
    February 05, 2014, 3:37AM
    • this is ridiculous letting them build where it will flood because it will flood and there property will be damaged and then they will have there hand out for funds to help restore what should not have been built in the first place.
      the council should be buying back all flood prone land and houses and turning them into parks and gardens

      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 6:35AM
      • I thought they were buying back flood prone land - or have they paid next to nix for it from ruined property owners - only to sell it to developers? - casting shadows true - but you do wonder what happened to the buy back scheme for flood prone residential land.

        Date and time
        February 05, 2014, 3:27PM

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