Speech in Response to e-petition presented to Council for upgrades to Esplanade

Extract from Brisbane City Council Minutes

Cr Peter Cumming speech in reply to e-petition presented to Council for upgrades to Esplanade, Wynnum.

Councillor CUMMING: Thank you, Madam Chair. I refer to item D and item B. Item D is a petition requesting the Council upgrade the esplanade from Wynnum to Lota to the same standard as Redcliffe, Townsville or Cairns. I have been approached by a number of non-political local residents about this issue, and they could best be described as aspirational. They have seen what is on offer in Townsville, Cairns and Redcliffe, and we are of the view that it was superior to what the Wynnum Manly and Lota esplanade offered.   I decided to give them the opportunity to sign a petition in relation to this issue, and with little effort, 161 residents signed the ePetition showing there’s significant interest in the issue. These residents want the best for their area. In Redcliffe there’s a deep pool which allows swimming plus a nice little landscaped picnic area and various other facilities—a performance area, basketball court and the like—and subsequent to the big improvement of the esplanade in Redcliffe, there’s been a considerable amount of development occurring in that area.  Several years after they did the upgrade of the esplanade, the council up there allowed high density development to be built, and the result is there’s a number of apartment blocks around the Redcliffe area, and I believe it has improved that area economically. People are keen to see that happen in Wynnum Manly as well.  In Townsville there’s a swimming lagoon at one end of the esplanade plus a great water play—the bucket water play, I call it—which is a great facility. People love it—kids and adults. The game seems to be: don’t be underneath it when it dumps all the water on top of you, and it’s great fun. There is also a magnificent fishing platform which I know Councillor FLESSER has enjoyed working on. It’s got pylons like you’d build a bridge out of it—a beautiful fishing platform –

Councillor interjecting.

Councillor CUMMING: In Wynnum Manly I’ve got a resident who has spoken to Council staff for about eight years from time to time about a fishing platform somewhere in Wynnum Manly, and we’re still waiting. In Cairns there’s a beautiful system of pools of different depths which draws large numbers of locals and tourists alike. Councillor interjecting.

Councillor CUMMING: No, I didn’t see any crocodiles in the pool, Councillor. I don’t think they like filtered pools. But also a very well landscaped esplanade.  There was federal funding, I believe, for Townsville and Cairns; not for Redcliffe, though, Councillor BOURKE, and also the $14 million that was spent, it hasn’t been spent in the last six years. You will find that most of it was spent in the 2004-08 term of Council, and the balance in 2008-12 when the last project finished was Lota.  I support these local residents for being ambitious for their area and raising this issue, and their attempts to get Council to upgrade the esplanade are well justified. Perhaps if the Wynnum esplanade was better than it is, we would not still be waiting five years on for the first apartment building to be built under the Wynnum Manly Neighbourhood Plan. I do not consider Council’s response, which says the funding for further development is not considered a high priority. This is a put-off, placing the matter on the never-never, and is not a satisfactory response for the petitioners or for me. I will be voting against this recommendation, and move that item D be dealt with seriatim for voting purposes.

Chairman: Thank you. Councillor CUMMING: In relation to item B, the naming of the park after [Bill Benham], I know Bill; he’s Treasurer of the Port of Brisbane Rotary Club which is very active in my area. He’s a very hard-working member of Rotary. He’s a very efficient Treasurer of the Wynnum Manly Australia Day Breakfast, and he’s got an accounting background. I appreciate the efforts of Bill, and the work he has done in my area. I understand he has worked very hard with Councillor MURPHY to get that park in Hemmant, and I congratulate Bill on his efforts, and I think it is well deserved that the park be named after him. Thank you.