Residents march on council chamber to oppose development
A NEW housing estate proposed for a large area of bushland in Ipswich's east has residents up in arms.
Concerned Bellbird Park residents descended on the Ipswich City Council chambers on Roderick St this morning to express their outrage at a developer's plan to replace 34 ha of bushland with 300 plus homes.
It follows a community meeting on Saturday, attended by more than 100 residents.
The site off Eugene St at Bellbird Park is a steep hill backing onto Woogaroo Creek.
Developer CB Developments Pty Ltd wants to build 333 homes with blocks in varying sizes from 300 m sq to 700 m sq with most lots described as less than 400 m sq.
Bellbird Park has already undergone significant land clearing to make way for homes.
The area is zoned low-density meaning blocks should be 600 m sq or larger, according to the Ipswich City Council Planning Scheme.
Residents fear if the proposed 12-stage development goes ahead, vital bushland that supports local wildlife would be destroyed along with the suburb's leafy appeal and residents' way of life.
Cody Murray, a Bellbird Park resident and qualified environmental consultant working for the University of Queensland, represented the residents' group that marched on the council chambers.
Bird calls, projected over a megaphone, sounded throughout the building as the group made its way upstairs to a meeting room.
Ms Murray acknowledged the city was experiencing rapid population growth but said that challenge represented the council with a "unique opportunity".
"(If the council fails to act) it would further demonstrate how we are losing this opportunity and how the council is failing the people of Ipswich, in this regard," Ms Murray said.
Ms Murray was pleased the group was able to meet with the mayor and planning chair Cr David Morrison saying she had been prepared for the council to take no action at all.
"As a community we will continue to rally together to try and put pressure on the council to use the environment fund they have, which we pay for with our rates, to buy back that land," Ms Murray.
"I feel like, with the type of growth we are experiencing, (buying back the land at Bellbird Park) is probably the safest long-term arrangement we can come to."
Today, Mayor Andrew Antoniolli gave the group of residents a commitment that if planning officers recommended the application be approved as it stands, he would call the development before the councillors to be voted on.
Officers are expected to make a recommendation this week which will be followed by a formal decision.
Council officers assessment of the application has included a comprehensive information request and clear feedback from council officers that the proposed development does not conform with the Ipswich Planning Scheme regarding density.
Cr Antoniolli was clear that he did not support the application in its current form, citing density and storm water run off as major issues.
Ms Murray and the other residents want the bushland preserved and incorporated into the area's existing nature reserves.
This isn't the first time Bellbird Park residents have aired concern about this particular development; the alarm sounded when the application was first lodged in June 2017.
At the time, divisional councillor Paul Tully said it was "one of the worst town planning applications he had ever seen."
CB Developments Pty Ltd has been contacted, via consultants Land Partners, for comment.