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Save Minnippi Parklands!

A controversial 15-year-old plan to turn 125 hectares of council-owned bushland into a golf course and housing development was given the go-ahead yesterday, despite strident community opposition and accusations of behind the scenes deal-making.

The Cannon Hill Community Links proposal would turn 81 hectares of bushland, wetland and wildlife habitat into the first publicly accessible, council-owned golf course to be built in Brisbane in 20 years.

Developer BMD won the tender back in 1998 to develop 15 hectares for residential use and a small shopping village, which would enable Brisbane City Council to build the golf course at no cost to ratepayers.

Long time opponents of the plan, the Minnippi Against Development group, were concerned about the impact it would have on squirrel glider and micro bat populations in the area, which was a recognised "habitat corridor" for a number of significant species.

Council appointed an independent assessor, Urbis JHD, to examine the application and address community concerns about any adverse environmental impacts.

In its report, which ultimately recommended the project be approved, the company said a number of conditions, including a total ban on pets in the residential area and extra size limits on the shopping village, would satisfy these concerns.

It also noted the developer had committed $2 million to preserving and improving the squirrel glider habitat and had agreed to set aside nearly 28 hectares for dedicated conservation, habitat and parkland zones.

MAD spokesperson Leoni Lea maintained the development had the potential to wreak havoc on the surrounding waterways and wetland systems.
She said the group was disappointed but not surprised the application had been approved.

"This decision has been made for an extremely long time and this project was always going to go ahead," she said.

Ms Lea accused the council of using an independent assessor to hide the fact it had made a deal with a developer 10 years ago that it could not get out of.
"Everybody has been very happy to have the independent assessor because it abrogates everyone of responsibility," she said.

Liberal planning spokesperson Carol Cashman said Liberal councillors had not supported the initial plan but had been told that backing out of the deal would have been too expensive.

"The contract deal was done by the Labor Party; to get out of that contract would have cost the ratepayers millions and we were not prepared to try to fix up Labor's failings," she said.

Ms Lea said she was disappointed that Liberal councillors had backed down.
"(Lord Mayor) Campbell Newman campaigned in the area on stopping the development," she said.

"They still could have voted against it."

Local resident and former council employee Francis Price said the planning process had worked.

"The tender was awarded to deliver the project but as a condition of that it had to go through a pretty stringent series of approvals," he said.

"If the independent assessors hadn't been satisfied on an economical or environmental basis it wouldn't have gone through.

"So to suggest it was a fait accompli is really questioning the integrity of the people who'd done that assessment."

Mr Price said he supported the project because it was a good result for the environment and the community.

"The area's stood stagnant for 30 or so years since council bought it," he said.
"The reality is nobody's ever going to put up the $2 million required to reforest the area and take care of its problems.

"It's an area of neglected land that really needs to be managed and given a future."

Council's urban planning chair David Hinchliffe said the final outcome balanced financial realities with good environmental and recreational outcomes.
"Council today simply cannot afford the $15 to $20 million that it would cost to build a public golf course," he said.

Ms Lea said MAD was still deciding on whether to launch a court challenge to the application.

"We're looking at an appeal but we're going to be taking further legal advice on that," she said.

Story originally from Brisbane News. For Further Information, visit Minnippi Against Development. To see what kind of native species are threatened by thei development visit my home page.


It is inappropiate to delevop an unessesary golf course where the Minnipi Park Lands already stand on which there are endagered species. If this project is going forward I would suggest that all animals sould be taken out and moved to an new home.

seriously get OVER it. its not like there wont be anymore area for the animals to live. did you ever think about the people who dont have proper homes and might want to live there so just give them a go. this is just a big sook. find something better to do with your time!

Actually, the sugar glider in Minippi Parklands is an endangered species and may well end up becoming extinct as a result of the Minnippi development. Another endagered speces in South East Queensland is the koala.

There are things being done for the gliders that will even make them better off.

If that is true, that is good news. However it is hard to imagine how the further encroachment upon their natural habitat by condominium housing and a golf course would be to the benefit of the sugar glider.

Please explain.

Excuse me MR BOO HOO,
WELL I would love your house to be destroyed and put to the ground. There are animals thresterned with extinction in the Minnippi Park Lands. Who cares if people want homes. It's called buying your own property and building a house. Thank you very much!

I am saddened by the proposed development of Minnippi Parklands. As a child my family often celebrated birthdays there. It was free, easily accessible, and had space enough for extended families to congregate without crowding into someone's dining room. I remember that on long weekends or mother's day it was often difficult to get a table or bbq, that is how popular the park is.
I thought That Minnippi was a landfill (read dump) before it was turned into a useful and pretty park. If that's the case, how can the council approve building on land that may be of questionable quality? What are the risks of subsidence, flooding and any chemicals that may lie buried? What about future residents? Logan City Council had a problem when they approved development in Kingston, over the site of an old gold mine. Over time toxic chemicals found their way to the surface and residents had to be relocated. The Brisbane city council needs to really think about this!
Another point worth bringing up: There are not many places for children to get out and enjoy themselves for free. Bike riding, football and just running around to let off steam, require space, and lots of it. We no longer have a back paddock to send the kids off to, and in many cases, the backyard is little more than a courtyard with patch of brown stubble. It isn't safe for kids to play in the street, so where can they go? Magnificent parks just like Minnippi, are the answer. The council could 'spin' it as targeting 'the obesity epidemic' or something.
Why sell off the park? Because at the moment no one is making money from it, so true to capitalist economic ir-rationalism it must be developed so that one or two fatcats can charge admission, in the form of golf membership fees, to the few who can afford the luxury.

It should be allowed. It's not that big a problem. And besides, the residential area will be needed to house Queensland's growing population. What would you prefer: A few dead birds with people living in proper accommodation, or people living on the streets while birds live. C'mon.

The existing Minnippi Parklands (the bikeways, park, lake etc.) are not being developed, the proposal is only for the area to the west of the creek.

What is the latest with the development? Are things going ahead? It seems hard to find info on the subject that's not more than a couple of years old...

Only developers want parkland destroyed. There is plenty of opportunity to renew aging suburbs and build highrise or midrise apartments in place of houses.

so ur saying that people will rent to homeless people that won't pay the rent?

The firm you mention, Urbis, is often consulted by govt as highlighted in this article. It is also engaged by developers alike. On many occasions Urbis has made recommendations to govts of all levels on matters which may affect broad aspects of social and planning policy. Even a general google search like: 'urbis report government', 'urbis report planning land use council', 'urbis report planning state government' reveals how extensive Urbis's involvement with government is; adding other search criteria reveals an seemingly endless involvement with government. It also represents developers and possibly other commercial interests. Do these interests have the potential to be affected by the govt policies which Urbis has previously advised on? This is a question, not a claim or judgment.

Whilst my intention is not to cast aspersions on Urbis, I do question the governmentt practice of engaging firms such as Urbis without debate. Are these matters which affect the public interest? Particularly if the advice given on is matters may involve multiple stakeholders including community, government and commercial interests, the latter two groups being with conflict interests to communities and both potential clients of Urbis? Should Urbis be engaged by government in providing planning or land use advice if it actively represents large commercial interests which may also be stakeholders down the track?