About 20 people rallied outside Gold Coast City Council in Evandale on Friday to protest Council’s plan to sidestep protection of unique areas.
The rally was held by Gecko – Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council to raise awareness that the Gold Coast City Draft Plan has a “one size fits all” approach across the city.
The draft plan has omitted existing special design rules for iconic areas such as James Street in Burleigh Heads.
Former town planner and spokesman for the Gecko campaign against the draft plan Brian Feeney said the draft is a “skeleton plan” with only bare bones and no muscle to protect the character of local areas.
Mr Feeney pointed out that Gold Coast would be the only council area in Southeast Queensland without local area plans if the draft gets approved.
Gecko has urged anyone who’s concerned to make a submission to council to help reinstate effective local area protection.
“Gecko volunteers have been studying the draft plan and we’ll be lodging a comprehensive submission covering aspects such as conservation, open spaces, population and infrastructure,” Mr Feeney said.
“The Council’s suggestion that there would be significant amendments to this plan after this public consultation is clear evidence that the plan has been rushed out before it was properly finished,” he said.
“If [council] do make major changes, it should be put back to the public so we can look at what those changes are.”
The new draft has placed Burleigh in a citywide zone with building relaxations for development. The removal of special rules, including the current height restrictions to preserve the village atmosphere, could result in a concrete jungle of high-rises and high-density development.
Chairman of the draft plan’s sub-committee Councillor Greg Betts, said council should adopt the plan early next year after a review of the public’s submissions and approval from State Government.
“I know that there have been comments coming in about the plan being a ‘skeleton plan’ and I don’t really agree with that because it is a full-blown plan, it’s just that we see it as a more of a foundation plan,” Cr Betts said.
“There will be more built onto it, but it does address all the issues that it needs to address – so it’s not exactly a skeleton plan because there’s more amendments to be made down the track,” he said.
After the rally Mayor Tom Tate advised community leaders and residents to fill out consultation forms rather than protest outside council chambers, The Bulletin reported.