Redland City Council asks federal government to give Birkdale bushland to the city

ON SITE: Councillors Tracey Huges, Wendy Boglary, Paul Bishop, Karen Williams and Paul Gleeson at the site of the Birkdale bushland. Photo: Brian Williams
ON SITE: Councillors Tracey Huges, Wendy Boglary, Paul Bishop, Karen Williams and Paul Gleeson at the site of the Birkdale bushland. Photo: Brian Williams

REDLAND City Council has asked for 80 hectares of Commonwealth land at Birkdale to be gifted to the city.

Lobbying for federal funding in Canberra this week, Mayor Karen Williams has sought a public commitment from the federal government and opposition that if elected they would give the land to council for community use.

"We are asking the federal government for a formal commitment to end this game and gift or sell the land for a minimal cost to Redland City Council," Cr Williams said.

"This would be a very positive investment by the Commonwealth into our community."

The land at 362-388 Old Cleveland Road is owned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Councillors discussed the purchase negotiations - which started more than three years ago - during a closed session last week.

They agreed to ask for an urgent commitment from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Council also delegated authority to the chief executive officer to buy the land at fair market value or less should the terms of sale include a security of purpose clause.

Funds to buy the property and for establishment, maintenance and planning costs would be allocated during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years.

A council officer's report is to remain confidential until settlement.

When Mr Morrison visited Cleveland last month, Cr Williams gave him copies of a petition with more than 6000 signatures, calling for the land to be given to the community.

Cr Williams said the community was strongly against the land being used for housing, which had been mentioned in budget papers last year.

"The residents of Redlands Coast have a clear message for the federal government – do not turn this precious public asset into a housing estate," she said.

Cr Williams said if council acquired the land it would ask the community what its best use would be.

Cr Paul Bishop - who has pushed for years for heritage and environmental assessments to be done on the land - said the land had connections to Indigenous people, pioneers, agricultural practice, the US military, telecommunications and South Sea Island labourers.