People power roared into action on Sunday when more than 350 concerned residents packed into the Moorooka Bowling Club to protest against a move by Brisbane City Council that locals fear could lead to the loss of 200 character homes.
In scenes reminiscent of the bowling club’s heyday when 40 years ago it proudly hosted the sport during the 1982 Commonwealth Games, hundreds of people packed the building and later spilled out on to the bowling greens with placards and banners to air their fears and concerns.
Councillor for Moorooka Ward Steve Griffiths said he was pleased but not surprised by the number of people who braved the inclement weather to turn up.
“Residents, both long term and more recent arrivals share the same concerns,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Under Council plans more than 200 character homes could lose their protection and be allowed to be removed or demolished for unit blocks.”
“People don’t want to see unit blocks of five to eight storeys high appearing next door to them. But this is exactly what could happen under Council’s plan.”
“Let’s be clear, I am not against development. What I am against though is for a rush to knock down character homes only to be replaced by unit blocks of this size which will take away from the character feeling of these areas.”
“These homes represent the history of these suburbs which is why they must be protected.”
Cr Griffiths said the Mayor’s team voted against fully maintaining existing character protections for all houses in the Nathan, Salisbury and Moorooka Draft Neighbourhood Plan area.
“Other suburbs have their character homes protected. Why is it different here? It’s a case of double standards.”
“I want to pay special tribute to the local community for mobilising and making their voices heard at City Hall.”
Residents at the meeting also spoke of their fears for the local environment and waterways by the emergence of such large and numerous unit blocks.
Opposition Leader Councillor Jared Cassidy said this approach was typical of the LNP across the city.
“Labor Councillors have been calling on this LNP Council to get serious about supporting the development of affordable housing, in places it makes sense to do so. This shouldn’t be at the expense of our unique suburbs.”
“We have been calling on Council to listen to the community to protect the character of their neighbourhoods and provide the infrastructure and growth in areas that are well designed for it. The LNP approach is developer profit first, community interest last every time and it’s residents who pay the price.”