Does it cut both ways in terms of does the rail line deliver passengers to Bromelton as well as deliver passengers to the CBD?
• Yes well it needs to be dual gauged first and there was funding set aside by the federal government which has disappeared … but dual gauging is what's needed to then have a second line. It will still allow freight but they'll just have two lines on either side. That would take people into the city and back out.
So you see that as an extension of the citytrain network by that time?
• Hopefully by 2030. Yes definitely.
Where would you see stations along there?
• Flagstone and Greenbank would be the two. Flagstone at that stage would be a developed city of about 80,000. Greenbank would have infill of about 20,000. these figures come out of the regional plan. Jimboomba has a lot of infill. Bromelton shows job projections at about 30,000 jobs. And obviously some urban footprint around Boonah, Beaudesert and other small regional townships and those will rely heavily on rail.
• But Bromelton also has a very large urban footprint so it can cater for jobs and carting freight interstate as well.
Stations at Flagstone and Greenbank would be a must for you … do you see them being developed as Transit Oriented Developments (TODs)?
• That's what the regional plan has outlined as a requirement that under transport nodes that there is a higher density and we're going through the local area plans and structure plans as well. And the TODs certainly feature as part of that. Particularly right around the train stations, you'd have to have higher density.
• Flagstone and Greenbank are the two locations where we would be expected to have TODs.
In terms of development, there's also Yarrabilba as well, that's projected to have …
• About 80,000 people as well. I think the original figures were Flagstone to have around 100,000 but about 80,000 each one. So it will be a satellite city.
• The other thing there will be greater provision will be bus services as well. That's a really big feature of the plan … the infrastructure plan is to allow for more public transport and buses are certainly a part of that.
• And bikeways … so greater connectivity between the communities.
Looking at previous developments, what mistakes have been made there that can be rectified for Flagstone and Yarabilba?
• I don't think there was adequate planning. It was ad hoc. There was no large plan or plan for South East Queensland. It was just … subdivision occurring and there was no community infrastructure, social infrastructure or other infrastructure apart from the development. So what we had was a lot of blocks being carved up – one into two, one into 20, one into larger blocks – one into 100 – and there was no requirement to put into community centres or to put in playgrounds. So what we have are large communities that don't have good infrastructure in place.
• A lot of work we're doing at council level is detailed structure planning which actually looks at building a community, not just developing lots. So that will look at how to we get people from communities to jobs via public transport, how do we provide facilities for the kids … so it looks at the community as opposed to houses and residential lots.
Would you anticipate more schools?
• Absolutely. The existing schools are already at capacity. Greenbank has over 1000 and they're at capacity. I've spoken to the State member to try and buy some land for a Greenbank High School. So we desperately need the government to be visionary and forward thinking in getting land set aside for schools.
• Obviously this needs to be identified as part of the detailed structure planning but I think it needs to occur sooner rather than later because if you don't put the infrastructure in first then you won't attract people to the development.
• We've got to almost do what Ipswich is doing in that they put the infrastructure in before the population as opposed to building the infrastructure (the schools, the pedestrian crossings) afterwards. If you look to Springfield – that's a good example. They put a lot of infrastructure in and the population has just come over time. Schools are already at capacity and we're not just talking about primary schools and high schools … we're talking about TAFE's and Universities. I think over the years, particularly in the more rural areas, we've found that a lot of young people have yet – they turn 18 and then they leave – it's the biggest export of our city because there's no university or provision of work or jobs so we need to make sure we give people a reason to stay.
What about health facilities?
• Both the major cities (Flagstone and Yarrabilba) … when we talk about creating a city, it refers to the provision of all services so you get your community, you get your residential lots as well as your work (commercial and industrial) but also your hospitals, schools, TAFE's, university because to sustain a population of 80-100,000+, you do need local hospitals, you do need schools and for example in the immediate catchment area – Logan and PA (Hospitals) – they're too far out, they're already at capacity so there will need to be medical services incorporated into that city and that's the thing about masterplanning and creating a community as opposed to just carving up lots – it's about providing all the infrastructure necessary to support that development. That includes your police, your fire, your ambulance. We'll be identifying that as we move forward in our detailed structure planning and council obviously as we progress and implement that plan – over the next decade or two decades and beyond - will be making sure that everything fits within that plan so that the infrastructure is there but also it's a reminder to the state and federal government to do their part and to provide those uses as well for facilities and services.
Market forces – catering for 80,000 … if you build it (some infrastructure) they will come?
• Things like a cinema would come when population would demand. There are certain things that people would expect and people's expectations have changed now. Years ago you could have a population of 20-30,000 before you put in a small corner store or land was acquired for park purposes. Now those people have an expectation that there will be a basic level of services provided. As far as roads, libraries, sporting ovals … but as a population grows there's a greater need for greater retail to stop people from traveling into the city just to meet those needs. So there's a lot of things that are market driven, particularly commercially. But certainly services, when it hits a certain threshold, there has to be some basic services – state, federal and local that have to kick in to support a community that's grown so rapidly.
• I guess the state came out with a regional plan. It was their concept and their idea and in principle I think it's a great idea – I might not necessarily agree with how they decided and what they came up with the cities should be – but in principle I think having a regional plan for South East Queensland is good. But what we then need is a doctrine of equal weight which then says how the state is going to contribute to public transport and other services for that growth in that community.
So you're saying it's great to have all those lofty ambitions to have 80,000 residents, but there should also have a plan to fund these things:
• And we've had none of that released by the state at all. They've given us the South East Queensland Regional Plan, cater to this catchment area for over 100,000 people and no details on how they are going to fund the schools or the hospitals, education, main roads … absolutely nothing. So council is already forward thinking and planning for water and sewerage. Council's doing a lot by determining how much parkland we need and what it's going to cost us and so the state should do this at their level.
What do you think of a future north-south link east of Beaudesert Rd?
• A lot of north-south and east-west links are important to connect the urban footprints and a lot of them do that i.e. provide connectivity between the two satellite cities or further up north or down to the Gold Coast to connect Ipswich.
• It's part of a greater plan to connect the major cities
What do you think of a future enhanced link between Greenbank and Springfield?
• More upgrades are needed. We've been long pushing for a major road upgrade but Main Roads haven't yet told us whether they have an intention to take that road over because at the moment it's not coping with the volume of traffic.
• We're doing some planning as far as looking at the road network in the whole corridor and one thing that I've proposed is having a road going through the army camp and connecting out with the arterial road to Springfield and then leaving the existing road to service the school and local traffic. Something like that is needed and I think down the track I see that happening. I do see that in 20 years time that will have happened.
• I know then I'll look back and say I said this was going to occur.
• More generally about the city … I think we'll have a really good identity by then. If you look at Logan at the moment – I mean 30 years ago it was made up of part of Brisbane and Albert and Beaudesert that no one wanted and then with the last amalgamations, Gold Coast gave the bit they didn't want and the State Government didn't want Beaudesert to thrive so they gave the most viable part to Logan and so Logan doesn't have a strong identity and that's one of its weaknesses.
• But I think with good planning, which I think is occurring … in 20 years time, I think the city will have a very good identity. I think Woodridge will be like the next West End … it will be culturally rich and I think it will be really cater for the 170-200 nationalities that will be living here … so I think it will be the arty quarter of south-east queensland. It will be culturally rich and just have a strong identity – which I think we're just totally lacking at the moment.
• It's been thrown together. It's been a mishmash of other council areas. And as soon as Logan was starting to get on its feet and build up an identify, it's gone through some major reform again and it's created a lot of unrest so I think that in 20 years time assuming the boundaries don't significantly change again … I think the city will have its own identity and will just dramatically alter as to what it currently is.
• If you look at West End … there's a good example of years ago you wouldn't live in West End but now it's one of the trendiest suburbs and I think the same will happen to Woodridge – it's 15 minutes to the city and I think it's only a question of time. By 2030 our population would have well and truly doubled. People will still want to live close to the city. I think we'll be known for our culture and our fine food and for our great planning. We'll leave behind a very good legacy for the future.