Redland City Council is urgently pursuing more details from the state government on population growth modelling included in the SEQ Regional Plan and plans to include Southern Thornlands in the urban footprint.
Councillors voted at the September general meeting to submit a Right to Information application with the planning department amid claims local governments in SEQ have been kept in the dark on “key” details relating to the region-shaping report.
Mayor Karen Williams, who tabled the motion during a mayoral minute, said lodging an RTI would provide greater “transparency and understanding” on the assumptions and modelling used to develop the regional plan.
Council is seeking access to any investigations used to justify the proposal to include Southern Thornlands in the urban footprint.
This includes considerations given to wildlife values in the area, noting that Southern Thornlands was previously removed from the urban footprint to protect koala populations.
Council will also ask for access to the full suite of “inputs, assumptions and methodologies” used to model the regional growth scenarios published in the report.
The request for further information comes just weeks after Cr Williams questioned the amount of time state planners had spent consulting face-to-face with councils on the plan, claiming Redlands had been afforded just two hours.
The mayoral minute notes that local governments – including Redland City Council – have made several requests for key information relating to the review, but a response has not been forthcoming.
According to the updated plan, which was released for public consultation in August, Redlands will require an additional 20,000 homes by 2046 to cater for an expected population increase of 50,000 people.
A planning department spokeswoman said more attached low-rise housing such as apartments and townhouses would be required in Redlands.
“By necessity, we must place a greater focus on diversity and well-developed density in areas that can cater for growth,” she said.
“The Southern Thornlands expansion area will not only provide diverse and affordable housing stock, but has also been identified as an opportunity to provide much needed land for business and industry within Redland City Council.”
Council’s preferred land uses for Southern Thornlands include a mixed industry business area for employment opportunities and rural residential living.
“These future land uses have been informed by consultation with the broader Redlands Coast community,” Cr Williams wrote in the mayoral minute.
“To provide assurances to the community that a robust and transparent process has been followed, council is requesting access to investigations and reports relied upon to inform decision making.”
The planning department said it had been in regular dialogue with all south-east councils since releasing the 2017 Shaping SEQ report, including on matters related to dwelling targets.
“As part of the 2023 review, we have created opportunities for local governments to provide meaningful feedback on how growth is to be managed across the region via a number of methods including workshops and one-on-one sessions,” a spokeswoman said.
“These sessions will continue from draft to final.
“Alongside the draft ShapingSEQ 2023 update, the department is also preparing the Redland Housing
Supply and Diversity Strategy that will determine how much housing and what type of housing is needed to support the growing population and better align with the changing needs of households.”