So we all know that Procon Developments Pty Ltd won, in getting approval to get at least one Anzac Memorial tree cut down, in order to build a 7-11 service station on the corner of Ferrier St and Anzac Ave Kallangur. Let me show you David Dwyer’s influence in ensuring their success.
Yes, originally Mr Dwyer with AMACC did put in an objection to the development in the form of a petition (A petition that was not circulated around the community, and therefore only signed by a miniscule 16 people from the Kallangur Progress Association) that was presented to the council at a General Meeting on 26 July 2016:
“WE DEMAND NO SERVICE STATION OR OPENING OF FERRIER STREET
We are against any Service Station being developed on the corner of Anzac Avenue and Ferrier Street and point out the following objections:
1. Ferrier Street MUST remain a closed Street the reason being Vehicles will use this Lane to bypass the lights at School Road and Anzac Avenue, we already have at least FIVE an hour trying to do just this, it will become a hoons paradise.
2. With regards to the proposed service station, a large number of residents are elderly some with breathing difficulties the fumes from exhausts and fuel will only aggravate their condition and lower their quality of life.
3. Children walking to school will have to cross the entry of the service station to obtain access to the traffic lights as there is no crossing on this side of the road, this will be another safety hazard for them.
4. SAFETY. Given the already congested Anzac Avenue and existing traffic dilemmas, having yet another Service Station entry immediately after a bus stop would become a safety hazard for any pedestrian.
5. We have a retirement village a short distance from this corner and residents would have to cross this entry to access the chemists which would be an unacceptable health and safety situation.
6. Directly opposite the proposed service station is a childcare centre, having two sets of entries and exits onto Anzac Avenue directly in line with each other will only add to the congestion on this road.
As we currently have FIVE Service Stations within one kilometre of this corner and SEVEN within a two, surely this area does not require yet another petrol station [sic].”
Though the petition didn’t have many signatures, they raised good points.
The Initial Rejection
On 3rd August 2016 the Council’s Principle Development Planner rejected Procon’s plans requiring more changes:
“The proposal in its current form does not reflect and support the outcomes of the Centre zone, accordingly, amendments to the proposal are required to demonstrate the proposal reflects and support the outcomes of the zone.”
“Heritage and Landscape Character 5. In accordance with Performance Outcome PO91, the proposed removal of the existing heritage trees within the Anzac Avenue road reserve is not supported. The submitted arborist’s report states that the tree is in good health and practical measures (AS4970:2009) are available to ensure its on-going survival. Appropriate design solutions are required to ensure the proposed Service station can safely and effectively operate (inclusive of vehicle and pedestrian access to the site) with the retention of these trees within the road reserve. Ensure any amendments to the site layout will not impact upon the tree.”
(Source: SIGNED_ DA_32172_2016_V2L Information Request – SPA.pdf – http://pdonline.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Modules/ApplicationMaster/default.aspx?page=wrapper&key=1242460)
In October we believe Procon had got in touch with AMACC representatives, because the subject came up again in their meeting minutes dated 16th October 2016.
“• Ferrier Road and Anzac Avenue Tree Removal - Members of the Anzac Memorial Avenue Centenary Committee have voted unanimous against the removal of a Memorial Tree planted in 1926 at Ferrier Street and Anzac Avenue. Memorial trees were planted in honour of our fallen in WW1.
• Discussion on purposed (sic) Service Station to be built at Corner Ferrier Street and Anzac Avenue –all opposed.
• Ferrier Road and Anzac Avenue Tree Removal - Members of the Anzac Memorial Avenue Centenary Committee have voted unanimous against the removal of a Memorial Tree planted".
(Source: AMACC minutes dated 16th October 2016 ~ 20161016 – Minutes – AMACC official.docx)
Sounds like a solid agreement there from the 7 attendees, including Mr Dwyer (President of AMACC). Oh and they seem to confirm it was planted in the original design of the Memorial Avenue, circa 1920’s. What we have been saying all along.
Time Travel, and Change of Heart
Now in November 2016, Time Travel happened, because Mr Dwyer managed to attend a meeting (along with the AMACC Secretary and other residents), on Tuesday 22nd November, but managed to travel back in time to the night before and report on that meeting on Monday 21st November:
“Ferrier Road and Anzac Avenue Tree Removal – David Dwyer, Tony Watson, , , and some residents met with the developers on Tuesday 22/11/16 to discuss the removal of the tree. Even though it was raised that we AMACC objected to Council in writing, the developer seems to think that they will just go over Councils head if necessary to advance this project and claim to have State Government Approval to remove the tree if a suitable compromise cannot be found.”
(Source: AMACC minutes dated Monday 21st November 2016 ~ 20161116 – Minutes – AMACC.pdf)
One has to wonder how this “Time Travel” occurred? Was this added to the minutes post the meeting? Or was it a typo, in that the general meeting was held on a later date after meeting with Procon on the 22/11/16?
Well the answer is it wasn’t a typo, because the email sending out the minutes mention the meeting date was 21/11/16 and the their previous minutes (16th October) note the next meeting is scheduled for 21/11/16.
Not to mention the Agenda sent out for this meeting was sent on Friday 18th November and still had the status of this noted : “Ferrier Road and Anzac Avenue Tree Removal – Members of the Anzac Memorial Avenue Centenary Committee have voted unanimous against the removal of a Memorial Tree planted”
SO WHAT THE? You can’t go changing minutes of a meeting, to reflect something that happened post the meeting! That is dodgy! I wonder what other AMACC members thought of this sudden change in decision (made by only 4 members)?
So let’s get back to the timeline. On the 22nd of November, Mr Dwyer with some representatives from AMACC met with Procon, and came up with a “deal”. Basically to have the former stop their objection to the development, and supply a letter to Procon so they could present it to council as an approval of support.
Now the letter did not happen straight away, Christmas 2016 must of got in the way. But before they could hold their first meeting of 2017 in February, they had to get the letter to Procon. So Mr Watson, AMACC’s secretary, sent out an email to members on 16th January 2017 at 3.16pm, stating:
Please find attached a copy of the letter intended to go to the developers of the Service Station on the Corner of Ferrier Road and Anzac Avenue, Kallangur.
It is not our first choice of outcomes, but if we do not accept this offer then the development will most likely go ahead and we will receive nothing.
If you have any objections to this letter being sent, please let us know by 12 noon on Friday 20th January 2017.”
With the attached letter on AMACC letterhead, addressed to Procon:
Attn: Tony Smethurst
Sorry to have taken so long to have forwarded this email to you.
We would like to accept your offer of a donation of $20,000 to AMACC upon receipt of DA approval, for compensation for the lossof (sic) the tree in the nature strip as discussed.
We also acknowledge that you will continue to push for a permanent closure of Ferrier Street and that the design will comply with light spill regulations to minimize nuisance to neighbouring properties.
We wish you all the best with your intended development.
President – AMACC”
So members who would have thought AMACC was on a break till 20th February, and may have still be enjoying their holidays, were asked for their objections, on something they thought was already sorted at the last October meeting.. which wasn’t properly raised & minuted in the November meeting, and have less than 5 days to respond.
Suddenly the AMACC, who’s stance was unanimously against the development in October, with noted potential health concerns to local elderly residents, and safety concerns for school children and elderly pedestrians, are now wanting to “accept this offer” or “we will receive nothing”. Does this sound to you like Mr Dwyer and the representatives who attended the meeting with Procon Developments, were “bought”?
The Resulting First Approval
Procon then presented this letter from AMACC to the council with the new filename of “Letter of Support – Anzac Avenue Centenary Committee.pdf” on 2nd February 2017. Wasted no time, hey?
And subsequently the Council approved the “Material Change of Use” (MCU) development application on 4th April 2017, leaving it with the developer seek final approval with State Government to cut down the Heritage Protected tree.
(Source: SIGNED_ DA_32172_2016_V2L Decision Notice (Approval) – SPA.pdf http://pdonline.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Modules/ApplicationMaster/default.aspx?page=wrapper&key=1242460)
The Second Rejection
On the 1st of November 2017, the State Government rejected their development application siting one of the reasons:
“’The driveway proposed to be constructed to access the site from the state- controlled road (Anzac Avenue) will result in the loss of a Slash Pine tree (Tree). The Tree forms part of “Anzac Memorial Avenue” which is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register as a Queensland heritage place. The removal of the Tree will detrimentally impact on the elements and features of the place that contribute to the place’s cultural heritage significance as described in the Queensland Heritage register.”
Still not Accepting “No” as an Answer
So Procon didn’t like that answer, and lodged an appeal to the Planning and Environment Court.
In their Appeal, Procon noted their previous approval from Council
“has the benefit of a development permit for a Material Change of Use for a Service Station recorded in a decision notice dated 4 April 2017 (MCU Approval), which has taken effect; ”
And were using it as the foundation of their argument for appeal:
“The Building Application should be approved because:
(a) the proposed development is consistent with, or is otherwise generally in accordance with, the MCU Approval;
(b) the proposed development is consistent with cultural heritage advice provided by the DILGP in relation to the MCU Approval;
That and other arguments and lies are in the appeal they presented, trying to reduce the Tree’s historical significance. We’ve already researched and written about how old this tree is, but we don’t know if the State Government’s legal team used any of the information we have already gathered in their defence of the tree. We’d have thought that if they did, then the appeal would have been knocked back rather than being upheld.
Key of the Lost Case
If AMACC hadn’t have given their blessing, the MBRC would have had no reason to approve the development application based on the “Heritage and Landscape Character 5”, and the developer would not have had a case in the Appeal against the State Government’s rejection.
Why did Mr Dwyer, an experienced ex-politician, believe the developers, when they allegedly said they “have State Government Approval ” (which was claimed in the minutes dated 21/11/16). He would know the development application approval process, and one would also assume, he would be used to standing up to pushy developers.
Mr Dwyer has added to the excuses in a recent article in the Pine Rivers Press Newspaper:
"Its former president David Dwyer said AMACC agreed to the compensation because Procon threatened to go to court over it.
“The consultant met us on site towards the end of 2016 and told us there had been a number of other heritage trees cut down for development and if we went to court over it we would lose because a precedent had been set,”he said."
Ummm correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t you Mr Dwyer, been involved in those “precedents” in some way? Being a only recently retired councillor for MBRC at that stage.
So what’s the deal Mr Dwyer? You were a councillor for many years on the MBRC, so you should know how the development application approval process works. How come you fought the development initially, but rolled over when the Developer offered “compensation”?
Surely being heavily interested in Anzac history and Memorials, you could have helped the Council and State Government with supporting material to protect these approx 90 year old memorial trees. Instead you basically handed the Developer the axe!
Also in quite a coincidence at that next general meeting following the sending of the “Letter of acceptance of offer of $20k for Removal of Tree on Anzac Avenue”, the minutes noted:
"AMACC Becoming an Organisation in its’ Own right. We will be looking at how AMACC might become registered as an Organisation in its own right.
o MOTION: That AMACC forms as an organisation in its’ own right. That we cut all ties with Pine Rivers & District RSL Sub-Branch. Moved: Seconded:
o Motion to be held over until further clarification from Pine Rivers & District RSL Sub-Branch."