Redland mayor talks of potential of PDAs
EARLIER this month, the Property Council hosted Redland City Mayor Karen Williams at an event at the Townsville Brewery.
With the draft Townsville Waterfront Priority Development Area ( PDA) development scheme due for public consultation in coming weeks, the Property Council thought it timely to invite Ms Williams to speak to the Townsville business community.
The two Redland PDAs – Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek – provide bestpractice examples of how a council can work with all stakeholders to deliver great community outcomes and revitalise underutilised land.
Ms Williams reinforced the importance of the public and private sector working together towards a shared vision.
To facilitate this outcome, Redlands appointed a full- time employee to take ownership of the public/ private relationship, to ensure each stage of the process – from planning through to its current project approval process – has the support of the business community.
This included an expression of interest process run by the private sector, and the establishment of a private sector panel to assess the proposals of potential investors.
While Townsville is fortunate to have a public/ private CBD Taskforce to assist in guiding the PDA process, there is scope for greater utilisation of existing private sector development knowledge.
Another key point raised by Ms Williams was the importance of genuine consultation with the community.
Redland City Council invested heavily in the public consultation process for the PDA’s draft development scheme, including through the creation of an award- winning “virtual reality” program and innovative mobile apps.
Before finalising the development scheme, council took on board the views of the community, reducing building heights and scaling back the number of marina berths.
This resulted in shared ownership of the final plan.
The consultation process was not all smooth sailing, however, and it is not expected to be in Townsville, either.
In Redlands, a vocal minority attempted to derail the planning process and further their own agenda.
Ms Williams reinforced the importance of strong leadership from council when under pressure from minority groups, to ensure projects that have the support of the vast majority of residents are not undermined by the few.
Townsville can learn from the Redland experience in coming months when the community has its first viewing of the draft Waterfront PDA development scheme.
The Property Council looks forward to providing feedback on the draft development scheme and encourages all Townsvilleans to involve themselves in the consultation process.