Canada trip canned for land debate

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Cr Paul Bishop with the Australian Communications and Media Authority site at Birkdale behind him. 
Photo by Chris McCormack

Cr Paul Bishop with the Australian Communications and Media Authority site at Birkdale behind him. Photo by Chris McCormack

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A REDLAND councillor has decided not to attend a summit in Canada in September, when it is expected major decisions will be made about a block of federal government land at Birkdale.

Division 10 councillor Paul Bishop took the unusual step of withdrawing a request to council for $5935 to partly pay for the trip.

Cr Bishop said he no longer wanted to leave his division in September, when he expected council to start consulting the community about the future of 80 hectares of federal land at Birkdale.

He said the evaluation and consultation process for the land was due to start in the next month and be over by December.

The council started negotiations with the federal government in January to buy the two parcels of bushland south of the Howeston Golf Club and bordered by Tingalpa Creek on Old Cleveland Road East.

All councillors voted to buy the land from the federal government and voted again on an acceptable purchase price, which has been kept confidential.

The land was used by Air Services Australia to guide aircraft into Brisbane airport and by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to monitor broadband spectrum use.

Under conditions of the sale, buyers have to demonstrate future uses of the land would protect the environment and satisfy Redland City Council and state government zonings.

The land is zoned Community Purpose and Conservation and has strict rules to protect koala habitats in the area.

Cr Bishop said acquiring the land was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ratepayers and its future deserved careful consideration.

"I was invited to the community-building summit but I have chosen to not go because it is when there will be consultation over what to do with the site," she said.

"I have proposed a design-by-inquiry phase and will invite committed members of the community who have planning experience to consider best and worst case scenarios.

"Council has significant research documenting the land's history and the history of the next door block of land, which is currently being assessed for a 12-lot development," he said.

Cr Bishop said he was concerned a 100-year-old house, The Pines, on the neighbouring block of land to the federal site would be knocked down.

He said it was believed the house was built in the 1890s by the Willard family, after whom Willard Road was named.

It was later bought by the Cotton and then the Brandt families and two of the original slab huts are still on the site.

The proposal for the old Willard homestead on 8164sq m will include 12 residential lots and a public road.

A town planning assessment by Plan A Group Pty Ltd showed the development complied with the Redlands Planning Scheme Development Codes.

It found the proposal would not impact on heritage places and did not need to be assessed against amenity criteria.

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