Two petitions calling on Council to fix the Einbunpin Lagoon and Brighton Foreshore were debated in Council on Ocotber 16. My contribution to the debate is below:
To say that the response to the petitioners contained in these petition responses here is deeply disappointing would be an understatement, Mr Deputy Chair. I don’t know whether the LORD MAYOR doesn’t understand the issue, or that he does understand the issue and doesn’t care, or he does understand the issue and is actively working against the community. I’m not sure which one it is but either way the wishes of the community, in my community, are being ignored regularly by this LORD MAYOR.
I’m not sure if he’s been out to my ward very often since the last election. I know he has once or twice to—I don’t think he’s had a Civic Cabinet in there since the last election, but he’s been to one business forum in my ward in the last two and a half years. So perhaps he hasn’t seen the Brighton foreshore or the Einbunpin Lagoon or the state of those two assets in years gone by.
But what we see here in the petition response is what I think—is a complete missing of the point. It talks a lot about the blue-green algal blooms which have been an issue and it does say here that they tend to be worse during hot, dry times of the year, or that they were worse—the worst they had been was last winter and it was a particularly hot and dry winter, but it’s getting worse at all times of the year.
I do note that Council officers have been trying some new techniques and they’ve done that out at Forest Lake in Councillor STRUNK’s area and in the Einbunpin Lagoon, and that has had great success in dealing with the blue-green algae.
But that’s not what their petition was about. The petition is about the amenity of the lagoon; the water quality outside of just the blue-green algal blooms; the high nutrient load that is in there and the poor filtration as a stagnant still body of water that is there.
It is a fairly human-made lagoon these days. It was much more natural pre-European times. It has been altered significantly and therefore it should be maintained much more significantly and shouldn’t be left. It is right in the heart and the centre of Sandgate.
Council has recently done a local business activation plan which says we want to be getting local tourism coming to Sandgate. When people come to Sandgate they’re regularly seeing a lagoon that is pretty disgusting. It stinks and it’s not a place that people would want to spend time in. The community has been calling on Council to try different things and every step of the way Council says no we’re not going to try anything different.
There has been money put into wall repairs, emergency wall repairs, after the temporary fencing was up for three years around dangerous slipping walls from the 1960s in this lagoon. We’ve got funding on the table this year which my parks regional coordinator says is for more wall repairs, although there are no evident issues of wall slippage. So I’ve requested, and the petitioners have, that other things can be tried. There are lots of different options out there—natural filtration—but again this Administration seems to either not understand the issue or not care about the issue.
Moving onto—Item F does cross over as I say so I will talk to Item G now. Yes, so Item F and G as the cross over. So it does note here that the Brighton foreshore did have a plan for an upgrade due to the 2011 floods, and we have been through this ad nauseum in this place so every Councillor should know this issue back to front, except the LORD MAYOR continues to ignore his previous commitments to my community, even as recent as the last election—said that he would do upgrades down there.
The 2011 floods came along. Of course the funding was diverted away from the Brighton foreshore area, and what we see in the response here is that the playground in Decker Park was upgraded in July 2016 and a small amount of path work was done on the Brighton foreshore between two of the avenues. That’s about the extent of the upgrade that has been done. All those things are basic maintenance.
It talks about the upgrade to Brighton Park which doesn’t form part of the Brighton foreshore area. The remediation work again was to remove—was a safety issue to remove asbestos from a park that had been fenced off for years and unusable by the community.
At paragraph 66 it talks about foreshore pedestrian lighting along Decker Park’s 19th Avenue section which was delayed for years and years and years. There was a safety issue. What we need is an upgrade to the Brighton foreshore that the northside community deserve.
We had the foreshore upgrade to the Wynnum, Manly area; the Sandgate and Shorncliffe area a decade ago. This foreshore upgrade was committed to by Lord Mayor Campbell Newman; by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk. It was funded. The money was removed in 2012. It was recommitted by this LORD MAYOR. Never delivered in the 2012-16 term. Again recommitted to in the 2016 election by this LORD MAYOR and nothing has been done in two and a half years.
So this LORD MAYOR clearly has no vision for my community; no plan for the community; is completely out of touch—completely out of touch with reality in the outer suburbs.
I cannot support the recommendations here which are—some of the projects that have been listed here by the Administration is adding up to—maintenance at the Einbunpin Lagoon and the Brighton foreshore are complete and utter fabrications. They are basic maintenance and they have added nothing to the amenity of these areas.
People pay rates, pay good money to live in the community and they expect an investment in their local community to the standard that a city like Brisbane should be giving to them, and this is a deeply, deeply disappointing response from this Administration to my community.