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Gold Coast's new Council urged to reconsider growth targets

Media Release Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A Gold Coast planning seminar on Sunday resulted in a unanimous call for Gold Coast’s new Council to pull back on plans to accommodate an additional 150,000 homes over the next 20 years and to consider and protect the city’s values before signing off on a new population growth target.

The seminar, addressed by solicitor Larissa Waters from the Environmental Defenders Office and hosted by Gecko – Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council, was designed to empower community members to lobby for changes to the Local Growth Management Strategy (LGMS).

Ms Waters said that this figure of 150,000 almost doubles the existing accommodation of the Gold Coast and will add another 250,000 residents. “That’s over a quarter of all the growth forecast for the whole of South East Queensland being imposed on the Gold Coast alone,” said Ms Waters. “As an area of extremely high nature conservation value and narrow floodplains, it is difficult to see where this growth is going to go.”

“75,000 of these homes will be infill of already developed areas,” said Lois Levy, spokesperson for Gecko. “Unfortunately our councillors have not looked to see whether this is sustainable, safe or desirable, so we’re asking now that they urgently consider the implications of further development before they sign off on this Strategy.”

“Plans to put the other 75,000 homes in undeveloped areas will see the continued destruction of the highly valuable bushland that is left within the urban footprint,” said Ms Levy. “With no protection for bushland outside the urban footprint we stand to lose much bushland that provides our life support services and sustains the extremely high biodiversity of our city.”

Residents will convey their concerns to their councillors in the coming weeks urging them to reconsider the additional number of dwellings for the city in light of the following constraints:

  • Climate change impacts including risk of storm surges, bushfires, cyclones, and sea level rise;
  • Concern about extreme levels of density around transport nodes (between 30-80 dwellings per hectare), impact on quality of life – becoming the slums of the future;
  • That infrastructure plans are unrealistic and cannot keep up with this level of growth;
  • That development of infrastructure projects, such as roads, trains, dams, desalination plants, pipelines and power lines, will adversely impact upon natural areas, both urban and rural;
  • That currently the LGMS does not protect or enhance biodiversity or open space.

“We need policies to better deal with climate change, protect greenspace inside and outside the urban footprint, and reduce population to the carrying capacity of the region,” said Ms Levy.

For further information about this important issue, please contact the following at Gecko on 5534-1412 or directly: Lois Levy 5534-3706 or 0412-724-222 or Sheila Davis 5530-6600 or 0423-305-478

Gecko - Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council, 139 Duringan Street, Currumbin Qld 4223 Phone: (07) 5534 1412 Fax: (07) 5534 1401 E-mail: info |AT| gecko.org.au www.gecko.org.au

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