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A vision of Brisbane’s future as new City Plan adopted

Some of us have better imaginations than others. Where I see fluffy clouds in the sky my youngest daughter can see clear shapes of the most amazing creatures and even outlines of random houses and buildings (the price of being the child of a real estate agent!) We all see the world just a little differently to the next person and we should celebrate those differences.

But when Brisbane City Council had to redraft their townplanning rulebook for Brisbane, the City Plan, they had to find a way to map out a future for our city that most of us could agree on. What do we really want Brisbane to look like in 20 and 50 years’ time? This month, after years of meetings, submissions, redrafting and ‘visioning’, our new City Plan was signed off and is now with the state government for their tick.

You can read the full Plan at their website. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Council had considered feedback from more than 2700 submissions on the draft plan that was initially released in November 2012 and followed a doubling of the statutory community consultation period during 2013.

BCC says under the draft plan less than 7 per cent of Brisbane would experience significant change over the next 20 years, and major residential growth would be focused around key transport corridors. “Brisbane is at the centre of one of the fastest growing regions in Australia and this plan is about balancing the effects of our increasing population with our enviable way of life,” Cr Quirk said.

Criticism has been swift, much of the public discussion focusing on the increase in allowed height of houses from 8.5m to 9.5m, and the reduced notification to neighbours required when a development is submitted to BCC. Density of new development was always going to create divisions and Gabba Ward Councillor Helen Abrahams raised concerns over parking requirements: “Fewer parking spaces are proposed in inner City areas. Multi-Unit dwellings in the City Core and City Frame will now have less than one parking space per unit and only 0.15 spaces for visitors.”

Amongst the data from BCC is some encouragement for those who’ve invested in our city and want a growing tenant market. Cr Quirk said by 2031 Brisbane would have 443,000 new metropolitan jobs and 7.8 million square metres of additional commercial, industrial and retail space. Even allowing for some optimism, they’re big numbers for the Brisbane of just 17 years time.

As inner-city real estate agents we meet property owners and residents who share all sorts of opinions on how our city should look and what development should and shouldn’t be allowed. We’re all entitled to that opinion and if we don’t like the vision drawn out for us we should get involved when these planning reviews come around. Great imaginations are needed.

For better or worse, in some parts of Brisbane’s city there could well be buildings in the clouds by the time my daughter grows up…

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