The Gold Coast City Council is “ahead of the game” for the first time in 15 years, and it has the community to thank for that, according to one of its Councillors.
Gold Coast City Councillor David Power, speaking at a Property Council Gold Coast breakfast on the new Gold Coast Town Plan on March 19, said that in the past planning schemes were good in terms of direction, however the issue of strategic growth had never before been dealt with.
“The Gold Coast’s new Town Plan has been branded Our Living City Planning Scheme for a simple reason,” he said. “It sets a direction for the evolution of a dynamic, diverse, prosperous and liveable Gold Coast – a City which truly lives and breathes.
“It is a plan of certainty.”
The new Town Plan is the result of 18 months of consultation between industry, residents and the State Government, and Cr Power said that community input had formed the basis of changes to the plan.
It is the first planning scheme for the City under the State’s Integrated Planning Act (IPA).
“It introduces new terminology and a stronger emphasis on performance, or rather encouraging a development to meet certain community and government expectations for an area, rather than applying a set of rules,” Cr Power said.
“It gives us a consistent plan for the City’s future as it replaces existing plans for areas covered by the former Gold Coast City, Albert Shire and Beaudesert Shire Councils.”
Cr Power added that the scheme involved changes, however these were mostly in name.
“For example, zones are gone and in their place we have Domains, hence there are no more rezonings under the new scheme.”
He added that the new Plan had considered the potential for the introduction or expansion of air services, heavy and light rail and ferry services, and the need for increased funding to ensure that the necessary improvements could be put in place.
”The Planning Scheme is working to ensure that land uses and transport systems integrate, to reduce the amount of travel that people need to make, and making walking and cycling more attractive for short distances,” he said.
Local Area Plans (LAPs) are another addition to the scheme. There are 29 LAPs included in the scheme and Cr Power maintains that more will be added in the future.
David Perkins, director of Humphreys Reynolds Perkins, also speaking at the breakfast, highlighted the mistakes made and lessons learned from the Brisbane City Plan 2000, and added that the biggest drawback would be the fact the Gold Coast would be operating under three schemes for two years during the transition.
“There were mistakes made in the drafting of the City Plan and as a result of this amendments are still being made,” he said.
“Even though this new Planning Scheme hails to take a more performance-based approach, it doesn’t mean there will be certainty in its execution.
“The Council may underestimate the resources required. It is a lot of work to get a scheme up and running, and the Council is just coming to terms with this.
“Ongoing dialogue with the development industry is vital.”
Steve Amundsen, from Minter Ellison Lawyers, said that the conceptual basis for the Plan was ecological sustainability.
“When considering a new scheme you must take into account social, economic and ecological factors,” he said.
“Only then can you get the desired environmental outcomes. The new scheme is conceptually different, and creates more opportunities through innovation and flexibility.
“However, there are two rules which should be considered throughout each step of the process: pre-lodgement meetings are essential and outcome-focussed supporting material should be made clear.”
The Town Plan is open for public comment until May 22, and Cr Power urges the community to have its say while it still has the chance.
“If you think objections are not being met, then we need to know,” he said.
“I urge everyone who owns a home or business in our City – and even those who are interested in where the Gold Coast is headed – to look at the scheme in its final consultation phase, and give us your feedback.”
For more information go to www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au