ABC site Toowong
Almost 2,500 people completed our community vote about the future of the ABC site and a bridge to West End. We've formally closed the vote now, but you're welcome to communicate your vision for the site directly to me in an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can check out a summary of the results, some graphic summaries and the full (anonymous) transcript of the what people had to say here.
In June 2019 I wrote to all the nearby elected reps, at Council, State and local levels asking them to support buying back the whole ABC site, and sharing the results of the community vote. My message to the LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is here.
A short time later, Brisbane City Council announced that it was in talks to purchase a part of the ABC site as a landing-point for a bridge. This is a really big breakthrough, but it would still allow new apartments in the site instead of a public park.
WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT THIS?
All over Brisbane, we’re seeing public facilities and green space sold off, with hardly any new infrastructure to keep up with rampant profit-driven development. The former ABC site at Toowong was publicly owned land, until the Federal government sold it to developers in 2013 for well under market value. In doing so, they sold off the last remaining riverfront site of its kind, and lost the opportunity to provide Toowong with much-needed green space and a connection to West End. Within 200m of the former ABC site on the Toowong side there is a whopping 3,500 apartments existing, in construction or approved. Yet half the public space in the same radius has been lost in the past few decades.
The private developer Sunland’s most recent application for 486 apartments at the former ABC site in Toowong has just been scrapped. This provides a unique chance to rethink how this space could be used, and an opportunity for the governments at all levels to consider buying back the site. This kind of buy-back would be an opportunity to invest in something that Brisbane residents could enjoy for generations to come.
Far too often community members are shut out of city planning decisions while developers, property speculators and advertising agencies’ self interest take the place of good planning. Brisbane City Council frequently runs tokenistic ‘consultation’ which is almost always ignored. We need to do better. To plan better cities we need to fundamentally transform and democratise our planning system to restore power in the hands of the community.
BCC and the State Government have already identified the need for transport options (especially via cycling and walking) connecting this part of Toowong and Orleigh Park in West End. A bridge could ease congestion, encourage active transport and improve cross river connectivity.
The former ABC site could be an idyllic riverfront park and a perfect landing point for a walking and cycling bridge connecting West End and Toowong. Imagine if we used it to for a new public pool that everyone could enjoy, a spot to have a BBQ or picnic with friends or family, or a community hall for groups and events. The possibilities are endless.