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North Bank redevelopment proponents decline invitation to debate

On 31 March Brisbane's Courier Mail Newspaper reported that the proponents of the proposal to build a high residential development on a concrete slab above the Northern half of the Brisbane River adjoining the Central Business District had declined to put their case at a public debate to be organised by the Brisbane Institute.

Peter Skinner a lecture in Architecture at the University of Queensland and an an outspoken critic of the proposal had issued the invitation to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh ,a principle backer of the proposal. When she refused claiming that it clashed with another commitment, an invitation was made to Deputy Premier Paul Lucas who also declined. Multiplex, the developer who is hoping to build the residential complex also declined an invitation.

As I wrote in a letter published in the Courier Mail of 1 April 2008:

... Given that at least the Premier and Deputy Premier must surely have satisfied themselves beyond any reasonable doubt that their plans to entomb much of the Brisbane River adjoining the CBD beneath a giant slab of concrete is in the best interests of the public they serve, what could they possibly have to fear from an open public debate?

Comments

I received the following, in an e-mail, from a person who actively against the North Bank project in 2008:

I have a quite different view of the politics of North Bank, because it is my belief  that it was a Beattie deal that Bligh was locked into before she took over the Premiership.

I personally am very grateful that Bligh and Lucas took the tough decision to scupper the project in 2008, and I was pleased to see the back of some of its strongest backers in Public Works at that time.

In my view Bligh acted honourably in this matter, and I have nothing but admiration for her subsequent leadership of the state and the party.

Editorial comment (continued): His view, that Pemier Anna Bligh did not want to procede with the North Bank project, is contrary to the impression I formed at the time and wrote of in the brief article, above. I remember how many, who campaigned against decisions of former Premier Peter Beattie, held out hope that things would improve once Beattie was succeeded by his then Deputy Premier Anna Bligh of the supposedly "left-wing" faction of the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party. In my view the evidence is that nothing of consequence has changed. The decision by Bligh to scrap the North Bank development might just be an exception to what I consider to be Anna Bligh's on-the-whole poor record as Premier, but I have yet to see any evidence that she wanted to stop the project. I have yet to see evidence that Bligh did not stop it only because she judged the political cost of continuing with the North Bank project would have been too great. I have invited the person, who sent me that e-mail, from which the above excerpt was taken, to

explain why he believes that "Bligh acted honourably in this matter." When he does, I will be happy most happy to publish it. Of course, he, as are all site visitors, is welcome to submit the material as a comment himself.