Response from Council Regarding our 11 Anzac Memorial Mango Trees

My K-Town 4503 were not happy with the response Cr Julie Greer gave a resident regarding the potential removal of 11 Anzac Memorial Mango Trees, so we requested more information.

Figure 1: Email response from Cr Greer to resident Denise McGrath.

 

Division 4 Councillor, Julie Greer, responded to resident Denise McGrath’s concern about the 11 Anzac Memorial Mango Trees threatened to be culled for a large residential  development application via email (see Figure 1).

In this email Cr Greer states:

“This is a state jurisdiction, as Anzac Avenue is a state controlled road by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the heritage trees are managed by Department of Environment and Protection”

To us this sounds like they are brushing the problem off to the State Government.  Do you agree?

But aren’t the Council also responsible for maintaining the heritage protection of Anzac Avenue and the Mango Trees? As they do have them listed individually in their own Heritage and Landscape Character Planning Scheme Policy.

Also what’s with the Council already deciding the “location of the proposed entrance to the development site” (as mentioned in the Heritage Impact Statement produced with the development application)?!!

Let’s look at the Council’s Planning Scheme

On initial review of the MBRC Planning Scheme we do indeed find they have marked a future road into this land parcel from Anzac Ave. In the “Reconfiguring a Lot Code” subsection  “9.4.1.6.4 Urban neighbourhood precinct”. Shown in purple in (here in figure 2), with 2 other arrows coming into the block from the back way.

Figure 2: MBRC Planning Scheme’s figure showing a new road coming of Anzac Ave.

 

Note this Planning Scheme shows the council are the ones defining the reconfiguration of the lot, and therefore one would expect them to assess the heritage impact within the Planning Scheme.

Was there any mention of the heritage place & protected trees?

In the Planning Scheme for Reconfiguring a Lot Code, it defines one of the purposes for reconfiguring a lot code as:

e.  Reconfiguring a lot is sensitive to, and mitigates any adverse impacts on; natural hazard, local topography and landforms, natural ecosystems including significant vegetation and local fauna habitat, cultural heritage values, existing character, outlooks and local landmarks identified in the planning scheme as needing protection and/or consideration.

When we look further again at the particular subsection, “9.4.1.6.4 Urban neighbourhood precinct” (Under “9.4.1.6 General Residential Zone”), where it mentions our contentious Mango Hill area, it also stipulates a purpose of:

d. Reconfiguring a lot avoids areas subject to constraint, limitation, or environmental values.  Where reconfiguring a lot cannot avoid these identified areas, it responds by:


v. protecting and preserving the natural, aesthetic, architectural historic and cultural values of significant trees, places, objects and buildings of heritage and cultural significance;

Good, good, they mention protecting and preserving the “significant place” which covers the Memorial Avenue, and “significant trees” which covers our Mango Trees. Both items specifically identified in their Heritage and Landscape Character Planning Scheme Policy.

So let’s go to the section where it mentions the part where they considered the impact of this Lot Reconfiguration to our heritage place & protected trees?

Hmmm.. The Council in their Planning Scheme reference the Performance Outcomes (PO) which mention the  Heritage and Landscape Character, PO61 and PO62. But both have response of “No example provided”. (See Figure 3)

Figure 3: Assessment Criteria for Heritage and Landscape Character.

 

What? Why?

Ok, I can see why.  They claim they only need to use these two Performance Outcomes for a “boundary realignment” with this Requirement for Accepted Development (RAD)  

Boundary realignment does not result in the creation of additional building development opportunity within an area subject to an overlay map” (RAD5).

AND they don’t have a RAD defined to assess the impact to Heritage and Landscape Character Overlay Map.

Which is odd, because they defined one for the Environmental Areas Overlay Map:

No new boundaries are located within 2m of High Value Areas as identified in Overlay map – Environmental areas.” (RAD6)

Why did they not create a Requirement for Accepted Development to assess the impact to the Heritage and Landscape Character?

Are their planners incompetent to not ensure they are abiding by the Planning Act 2016 and Queensland Heritage Act 1992 ? Or is the Council avoiding their responsibility as Assessment Managers for new development, by ignoring the Heritage ramifications to their own design and therefore pushing the responsibility to enforce this onto the State Government?

We think it might be the latter.

Further Response from Council

We asked Cr Greer what the Council’s commitment was to conserving Memorial Trees along Anzac Ave; as well as what their responsibilities are for assessing Development Applications as the region’s Assessment Manager; in particular regarding the codes for their Heritage and Landscape Character Planning Scheme Policy; and what steps did they undertake when they assessed this tree affecting development application?

The response we received from a Council Spokesperson was:

“Council has been and will continue to work with the State Government on an outcome that puts the interests of the local community first.

Obviously any impact on trees will be limited where possible.

This area is zoned urban and it will be a critical greenfield site involved in delivering the additional 88,300 dwellings Moreton Bay Region is required to provide under the South East Queensland Plan over the next two decades.

So it’s critical that we find consolidated solution to provide access to this land parcel.”

Pretty much the same response given to  Denise McGrath earlier. Apart from the statement: Obviously any impact on trees will be limited where possible.

We appreciate that they did respond, and do appear to show “some” care for the trees.

However it seems that we, as the local community, need to ensure they are indeed putting our interests first, and ensure they are more diligent and accountable in their position as Town Planners, and Development Application Assessment Managers.

Stay tuned for My K-Town’s campaign to save our 11 Mango Trees and protect the remaining Anzac Memorial Trees.

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