BCC Should Refuse Oversized Development Application at #160 Macquarie Street

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 A huge unit block Development—by far the most densely populated, and one of the tallest in the whole Street on one of the smallest pieces of land--may soon be given its final Approval by the BCC Assessment Manager for City West.

      It has 73 households (say, 250 residents and visitors, on any day), on 15 floors, plus six floors underneath (five underground) that accommodate 96 residents’ cars, and parking for private and public service vehicles.

     Replacing one medium-sized single house at #160, the block sits on the break in Macquarie Street where the (closed to cars) Smyth Creek bridge is crossed daily by hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians taking the main route along the River from the Guyatt Park end of Macquarie St, to and through the University of Queensland, and beyond it to Hawken Drive.

     This end of Macquarie St, along with Keith and Carr Streets forms an enclosed pocket. In it are the only entrances by car to two childcare centres entered from Keith Street; to a Rowing club, and a Bowls club on Carr Street.

       So how will all the huge cranes, diggers, bulldozers and trucks get in and out, and where will they be parked when they get in? Open the Smyth Creek bridge to them? But there is only one exit/entrance, Lawrence Street, for all the rest of Macquarie Street.

       And the cyclists would have nowhere else to go but onto Schonell Drive

       Planning they call it? The peaceful, leafy Macquarie Street pocket, that is a pleasure to live on or traverse, would be transformed, along with the adjoining Carr and Keith Streets that connect it to Schonell Drive, into a place of rat race. Or even both parts of the Street, if the bridge is opened to vehicles.

       There are major risks of disturbing the stability of the Creek and River banks with a massive development in an already highly flood-prone area. The house at #160 was under water in the last flood, and at high tide now the River is only half a metre below the edge of the land at the back of #160. The only sensible development for this tiny bit of land is a few townhouses or a small block, raised well above ground level.

        Residents and other users of the Street have got nowhere with making Submissions to the Council, about the problems of greedy Development proposals for #160. These have come around in waves since the Council’s 2013 Code Assessable determination for construction at #160, but have never attracted enough buyers.

         Should a block resembling this Development ever be built, the new residents would likely be as unhappy as many current residents are becoming now. They would be more unhappy, even, as the overbearing design of the block (right up to the land’s boundaries on the three sides) overlooks five surrounding blocks within eye- and ear-shot. The balconies of #160 will have to be shuttered to maintain some privacy and amenity in the Street.

       The Development has been advertised as “Bringing a bit of Manhattan to St Lucia.” It isn’t clear to us which bit of inner-city New York would be good in Macquarie St. The Developers say it will be like Chester and Ella in Newstead. But the sites, the Street, and the vehicle access are not remotely similar.

        Please support our Petition to the Lord Mayor, asking him to take some interest in, and responsibility for his Committees, if they are not working for the ratepayers and citizens who elect and fund them. We have invited all the Councillors from the City Planning Committee, and (repeatedly) its Chair, Julian Simmonds, to come to visit the site so we can show them on the ground why we are so concerned. But only one Councillor has come to talk to us.  We propose to present this Petition to the weekly Council meeting.

The picture shows the proposed block at #160 alongside Waterville at #164 (currently the tallest in this end of the Street). If you put Paringa, across the Creek at #146, on top of Waterville, #160 would still be taller.