50 Days and 50 Ways – #30


Ensure the site adjacent the M1 and Firth Park continues to manage heavy rainfall events for the whole basin, protecting homes.

nifsan land

This picture conjures up strong emotion amongst local residents. “What is going on?” they say.

Let me allay your fears upfront;

The hydraulic engineering challenges and acid sulfate soils on the site between the M1 and Firth Park present significant challenges for any future proposed development. NO development will occur that cannot manage these challenges without impact to existing residents

A month wouldn’t go by where someone does not raise issues with the site, or propose some sort of development. I’ve had residential proposals, petrol stations, CostCo’s, shopping centres and churches with landscaped gardens proposed. Frankly, built form on that site is not really viable, as far as I can see. That’s not to say it won’t ever be developed. However, the acid sulfate soils and the way water flows over the site make any buildings difficult to construct without impacting existing urban and environmental areas. Further, the site has been identified as a nesting location for the Black-Necked Stork, rendering some of it protected or, at the very least, subject to some considerable environmental variables that would require carefully planned solutions.

As if that wasn’t enough, in 2006 the state government put some planning together for a future upgrade of interchanges at Exit 80 (adjacent the land) and Exit 79 (near the tennis courts) and that information went to community consultation. While the interchange upgrades have not proceeded and the designs are not somewhat untenable, the displacement that will be required on the Exit 80 upgrade will be significant and will impact the remainder of the basin, shown in the graphic below. My nominal view on this is that the proposed upgrade plans limit the capacity of the site to be developed in any sort of way that involves the introduction of significant fill.

nifsan 2

I’ve met with potential applicants on several occasions, even inviting applications to be lodged at times. I’m happy to chat about any options, but applicants can expect me to be direct and clear with them about my concerns. One interested party did propose landscaped garden walks and an environmental park of sorts, possibly in conjunction with the already impacted site delivered by the previous council in dubious circumstances, where I’ve now proposed to possibly locate the Gold Coast Science and Technology Centre. There remains some possibility for recreational sporting fields (no stadium) or car-parking (who wants an ashphalt outlook? Not me). I’ve had some interested parties consider the site a possibility for a cable park which is two large bodies of water where non-motorised water sports could occur flanked by landscaped gardens. If this proposed application was ever lodged (which it hasn’t been) and the net hydraulic outcome was favourable due to the large bodies of water, I could take a look and assess it on it’s merit. I doubt it would proceed due to the soil quality and other variables.

In conclusion here are some facts;

  • The site is zoned “Limited Development. Constrained Land.”
  • It is currently a site for the nesting of the Black Necked Stork
  • The hydraulic challenges are significant
  • The site has acid sulfate soils present
  • I have received no application for development in 4 years since 2012

You can expect diligent assessment of development applications and public transparency on matters like these from me. Since 2012 I’ve committed to listening to the community on tough matters and ensuring the public are adequately informed about costs and benefits of development. Even when a resident and I disagree, I aim to be inclusive, engaging and transparent.

Vote 1 TOZER on March 19 to ensure you continue to be represented fairly and transparently when it comes to development applications.

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