Further into our investigation of the BGM residential Development Application (DA) for Mango Hill, which has an impact on upto 11 Anzac Memorial Mango Trees, we have determined that neither the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) nor the Queensland State Government, have triggered the required Heritage Code Assessment for change to a State Heritage Place.
The Developer (BGM Projects PTY LTD) knew of the impact to our Anzac Memorial Avenue Heritage Place when submitting the original DA documents on the 21/12/16. They even included the IDAS forms required to initiate the heritage impact assessment.
The Council acknowledged receiving all of the DA documents in a “Acknowledgement Notice” on the 11/1/17, but only listed 2 external referral agencies. Neither of which were the state Environment and Heritage Department or QLD Heritage Council.
The Council then asked the Developer on the 9/2/17 for further information, in a formal “Information Request“, which highlighted 14 other points of what could be construed as a contention, of which there was no mention of any issues with the Developer’s request to yank out the 11 trees. The original deadline for this information was 6 months, making it due in August 2017.
Since 9/2/17 the “Information Request” deadline has been extended multiple times, allowing the Developer, Council & referred State agencies to address issues raised. None of which appear to be related to impact on the Heritage Trees, though we are still waiting on more information from the State.
The “Information Request” deadline now has been extended to 28 February 2019. Which out of interest, will make it 2 years after the Information Request was made.
So why in the 1.5 years since the DA was lodged, haven’t the Council raised issues with the Developer, regarding the chopping down of the 11 Mango Trees?
If they did do their job and assessed this DA against the “Queensland heritage place state code”, (as listed in the State Government Assessment Provisions (SDAP)), this DA would have been knocked out of the water, or at least the Developer would have been told to come up with another solution.
But instead the Council have been stringing the DA along, and by the looks of it, ignoring the requirement to meet the Heritage Performance Outcomes (listed on page 181-182 of the SDAP). The First three of which, are listed here:
You may remember though, the Developer has not given any option to relocate the Trees. They just want to chop them down. In fact what is weird, is that, throughout the Developer’s submitted Heritage Impact Statement, the writer keeps on mentioning “Relocation of trees not considered practical by Arborist.” Even though the Arborist (in the Arboricultural Report) doesn’t actually say this. In fact it looks like he avoided that topic. Was that at the request of the Developer?
Now because the Developer is giving no other option but to cut down those trees, they do not meet the Performance Outcome PO4 (below), which is used when the “Development proposing to destroy or substantially reduce the cultural significance of the State Heritage Place“.
Is this why the Council are avoiding assessing (or even mentioning) these codes?
Perhaps the Council think they do not need to assess against the Queensland Heritage Place State Code, because they didn’t spell them out in their own MBRC Planning Scheme?
Well, they can not ignore the Heritage Assessment Codes because they are turning a blind eye to the Heritage Impact. (See our previous article which highlights the hole in this part of the MBRC Planning Scheme here.)
Nor can they allow the Developer to get away with answering “N/A“, for the Heritage & Landscaping Character PO’s in their submitted “MBRC Planning Scheme – Other Development Codes Works Assessment” document. Where they claim the “development site is not within a heritage place or overlay area“, and the “development site has no native vegetation areas..“.
The Council need to do their Job!
According to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Council (as the assessors), are required to assess against the “State regulatory planning provisions” and use any applicable codes, that are identified as a code for the IDAS under this or another Act. (As per Division 2 Assessment Process, Section 313 “Code Assessment – generally“, Items 2 (a) & 2 (c)).
As echoed in the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009, (Schedule 5 “Applicable Codes, laws, policies, and prescribed matters for particular development”, Table 5, Items 4 & 5), where for a “Queensland heritage Place” it says to refer to the “relevant provisions of the State assessment provisions“.
So come on MBRC, do your job and protect this State and Local Heritage Place!