Stop the approved development - Brisbane Islamic Centre at 161/161a Underwood Rd, Eight Mile Plains
|Principal Petitioner||Jason Song, Runcorn|
|Date Closed||Sat, 06 May 2017 This epetition has ended|
|No. of signatures||2741 signatures (View signatures)|
Background : The proposed Brisbane Islamic Centre development will operate 7 days from 4am till 10pm at 161 &161A Underwood Road (4.3 ha lot) surrounded by quiet and well established residential neighbourhoods. There are two existing mosques in Kuraby and Eight Mile Plains only approximately 1.6 km and 1.2 km away respectively. This approved development involves the construction of a mosque and hall comprising a total floor area of 4,649 m2 (the prayer room area alone is three times larger than an average mosque). Furthermore, a 2 into 3 lots subdivision application has also been approved to facilitate future expansion.
• In December 2011, the initial development proposal was lodged with the Brisbane City Council
• In 2013, over 530 submissions were received during the public notification period, mostly against this proposed development
• In May 2014, Brisbane City Council refused the proposal due to the increased traffic, noise and enormous impact on the ecological and waterway values
• In June 2014, this case was appealed in the Planning and Environment Court
• In March 2016, the Court ordered further hearing required before making final order
• In December 2016, the Court approved this development with conditions/reasons to stop the proposed development .
1. Amenity and Social Impact - It was made very clear in Council’s Decision Notice, dated 16th May 2014, that 'amenity' concerns regarding the development include adverse impacts on the existing and future residential areas to the north, west and future residents to the south of the site. However, the 'amenity' concerns had somehow been narrowed down to 'visual amenity' in the court’s assessment. As a result, potential social impacts including concentration of three mosques in one location, local residents’ way of life, shared beliefs, customs and values, etc. had been completely ignored in the whole assessment.
2. Procedural injustice caused by insufficient notice of the Appeal - It is evident that the appellant did not give written notice of the appeal to the 530 principal submitters who did not withdraw their submissions at the time of the lodgement of the appeal. What the submitters received was only a copy of the appellant’s letter to the concurrence agency – Department of Transport and Main Roads. The appellant’s failure to provide proper notice to the submitters is clearly a breach of section 482 of the Sustainable Planning Act. Consequently, not knowing the significance of the appeal and their right to become a co-respondent, all submitters unfairly lost their opportunity to participate in the court proceedings (including the right to appeal the court’s final approval of December 2016).
3. Child safety - The assessment did not examine the potential adverse effect of increased traffic imposed on the safety of school children in their daily active travel commute (walk and ride). Within 1.5 km distance to the proposed development, there are two primary schools, one high school and a number of child care centres with over 2,000 enrolments.
4. Conflict with the planning schemes - The proposed development is in genuine and material conflict with both 2000 and 2014 planning schemes according to the Court order in March 2016. It is located largely within both the waterway corridor and ecological corridor. The proposed development would cause unacceptable impacts to fauna. Further, transport and car park impacts on the site had not been examined thoroughly. In particular, the compulsory peak prayer time associated travel increases traffic volumes on adjacent motorway, suburban and district roads.
5. Noise and onsite facilities not considered insufficient assessment regarding the intensity and frequency of possible noise of loud speakers or amplified sound, and the potential adverse effect on local residents. No consideration has been given regarding whether the onsite facilities, such as toilets and ablution facilities may be insufficient to accommodate prayers in peak prayer time.
• In accordance with section 498 of Sustainable Planning Act, work with the local community to explore the possibility of further appeal to the court’s decision to stop the development in order to better protect public and environmental interests
• Organise community events to hear community’s concerns regarding this proposed development, and work with the local community to ensure that these concerns are satisfactorily resolved
• Provide the electronic copy of all relevant documents regarding this proposed development, including mediations undertaken from March to December 2016.
Thank you for your petition of 8 May 2017, objecting to an approval granted by the Planning and Environment (P&E) Court for a proposed mosque at 161 and 161A Underwood Road, Eight Mile Plains (application reference A003247857).
Your petition was considered by Council at the meeting of 24 July 2017 and Council can respond to you as follows.
Council refused the development application for a mosque on 16 May 2014, for a number of reasons including bulk, height and scale of the proposed development, traffic, ecology, hydrology, and planning related issues. The developer filed a Notice of Appeal on 13 June 2014, with the P&E Court. None of the 535 original submitters to the application chose to join the appeal.
Following the decision to appeal from the applicant, Council was involved in a lengthy court process which concluded on 16 December 2016. The P&E Court determined that Council’s decision should be overturned and a revised version of the mosque was approved.
In the judgement handed down, the Judge overseeing the appeal stated that a clear, demonstrable need for the mosque in the local area was identified, however, not at the size and scale which Council originally refused.
The Final Order of the P&E Court resulted in a sizeable reduction in the development footprint, which in turn reduced the traffic and amenity impacts of the proposal. The P&E Court’s conditions upon the proposal will also restore an ecological corridor with neighbouring habitat areas.
Discussions between Council and the applicant were conducted on a without prejudice basis and are subject to legal privilege. As in all similar legal cases this means that copies of documents cannot be released to parties that were not involved in the appeal.
Council's legal team represented Council's position thoroughly and in accordance with the law. During the appeal and also at the hearing of the matter, Council maintained and called expert witnesses to give evidence in relation to the concerns raised by residents and Council.
Council has reviewed the decision of the P&E Court, and determined that there were no additional points of law which would have enabled Council to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal. If local residents consider that their rights have been affected and have evidence to support this, it is suggested that they commence proceedings after having sought independent legal advice.
Details of the development application can be viewed online by visiting Council’s website at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/pdonline and searching the application reference.