South Brisbane, West End population to increase three-fold

Sourced from – Written by Tony Moore

Brisbane City Council estimates the population of South Brisbane and West End will increase by 312.5 per cent over the next 20 years.

The resident population growth – triggered in part because the Queensland Government needs to find space for 156,000 new homes in south-east Queensland – is contained in the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan, which goes to council today.

Council is eager to replace industrial land at Montague Road on the river – called the Kurilpa Precinct – with sustainable accommodation.

The population in the area was forecast to skyrocket from 8000 to 33,000.

“The South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan will facilitate the urban renewal of obsolete, industrial brownfield sites in the Kurilpa precinct and create opportunities for new vibrant, well designed and sustainable accommodation, close to employment and public transport,” the council plan says.

“The projections council has prepared are an estimate only and are dependent on the market taking up the development opportunities in the plan.

“The current projections are approximately 33,000 residents and 72,000 employees by 2031.”

Local councillor from the Gabba Ward, Helen Abrahams, said the population growth figures were too high.

“In July 2009, the projections in the South Brisbane Riverside Renewal Strategy document were 25,000 residents and 55,000 workers coming into the peninsula,” she said.

“The community cannot have any faith in this planning process when the projected population figures keep changing.”

But planning chair Amanda Cooper said the projected numbers had not changed and the ALP had added existing population figures to make it appear they had.

“Cr Abrahams has added the existing residents and workers to the forecast numbers of people to make it appear as though the figure has gone up,” she said.

“This is desperate and dishonest stuff from a councillor who is trying to cover up the fact that she actually voted for high-rise and high density in West End and spoke in favour of the new town plan for this area.”

The plan proposes a mix of building heights, including 12 storeys on sections near the river, eight storeys in some areas, eight storeys near Musgrave Park, and 15 storeys on Mollison Street in West End’s cafe strip.

In May 2008, all ALP councillors voted to support a motion for increased building heights and densities for West End, South Brisbane, Fortitude Valley and the Kurilpa Precinct.

But Cr Abrahams last night denied the ALP had backed the increased residential densities for inner-city Brisbane, which would see building heights of up to 30 storeys.

“I voted for a plan where the community’s wishes were listened to, where there was going to be appropriate heights. I did not vote for these heights. Never did and never will,” she said.

Cr Cooper said the council had to meet the population pressures asked by the State Government and 30-storey buildings were confined to just one area.

“The choice is clear in that we either we allow widespread development of our tin and timber suburbs or we build high-rise closer to the CBD and protect the tin and timber,” she said.

“The Labor Opposition specifically voted for this high-rise plan and now Cr Abrahams is trying to pretend she didn’t. That is shameful and she should be held to account for misleading her community.”