When is a park not a park?

As we mentioned in our previous article here (School site in limbo), Brisbane City Council is moving incredibly slowly with its plans for the old Wynnum Central school site. Although the council said it would respond to ideas and suggestions for community uses for the large brick building by ‘early 2014’ we have heard nothing yet.

It also recently released its plans for the sub-division of the whole area, which allocates the west end (6145sqm of the total 14571sqm site ie 42% of the entire site) to ‘commercial development’. This had always been a part of the proposal, but the most recent plans showing the sub-division show an area across the plot reserved for a ‘park’. The only problem with this designation is that the ‘park’ is 15m wide. Now at WynnumCentral we’re no experts in town planning or landscape architecture, but we think that describing a 15m strip of grass as a park is stretching the bounds of the meaning of the word.

It also seems to be contrary to the council’s own Wynnum Manly Neighbourhood Plan:

“redevelopment of the Wynnum Central School site must provide publicly accessible open space that ensures pedestrian connectivity between Florence and Charlotte Streets. The area of open space must provide adequate space for informal recreation for residents, visitors and workers in the Centre. The parkland must be located next to the heritage building to retain the context of open space next to the grandeur of the building… where development occurs on the Wynnum Central School site, a public open space area of 40m in width is provided that has frontage to both Florence and Charlotte Streets, and is located next to the heritage building in accordance with Map B—Wynnum Central Sub–precinct.”

Last week the Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce joined with a small number of concerned locals to challenge the sub-division creating the 15m wide ‘parkland’ in a mediation* session, suggesting to council that this was not a large enough space, was contrary to the neighbourhood plan and that local sentiment expressed during extensive consultations in 2012 showed very widespread support for a park on the site.

At this point council’s plans remain the same.

What do you think? Is a strip of grass 40m long and 15m wide a ‘park’? Tell us below, or better still take our quick poll by clicking on the speech bubble…

Is it a park?

*the WynnumCentral editor was present at the mediation, representing the interests of the Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce. The proceedings of the mediation are confidential and so we are unable to provide any information on the discussions during the mediation.

Main image shows the line marking out the proposed ‘park’, with the commercial development to the left of the line, and the existing school building marking the east edge.

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  1. The proposal to have a”park” 15 meters wide is very sad.

    It is a betrayal of the councils own plan.

    Buildings with the dignity and grandure of the old school are diminished when they are not surrounded with space that let’s their structure and magnificence breathe.

    A larger Park is needed to do justice to the history and the status of the buildings in the community.

    A larger Park is needed to give breathing space to the wynnum CBD. Gradually this part of wynnum will grow up and this will only increase the need for more space where workers can have lunch and families can rest.

    The existing proposal could only really be described as a grass corridor. If that is the best or our town planners and Councelors can develop then they are bereft of imagination and vision that blesses people.

  2. I have no love for Wynnum Central School and see it as an impediment to development. Ask for plans for a combined residential and commercial structure/s without the building and see what happens.

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  4. I think that if we do not create a substantial park with a botanic garden in it, we will be far worse off. When we travel we always look out for a park to rest in and remember the town through their parks. If we want people to visit Wynnum we need something more to attract them here – something that makes shopping an enjoyable experience. Having the art market in the school grounds brought in so many more people to the area, a park is somewhere the kids can play, somewhere that makes you feel so much more relaxed. We also have beautiful established trees here an old rare bottle tree plus old figs and a Queensland Kauri pine. Established trees are becoming rarer and developers would pay a fortune to transplant them for their aesthetic beauty.

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  6. It’s community focus – a Community Hub – that will serve us and the old school facility and the grounds best. Should commercial and residential development always be the focus of change and development? Imagine a community allotment here … people coming together to learn, teach, grow, eat – something to sustain us into the future. “…. when all the trees are gone, only then we man realise that you can’t eat money.” (Native American Indian famous quote)

    And the unoccupied shops? Landlords could consider the long term positive effect of offering the unoccupied spaces to local artisans (for example) with the aim of beckoning people to come, to linger, in Wynnum Central, thereby creating exposure for existing business. Perhaps one or two of the ’empty spaces’ could be used for art / craft exhibitions to coincide with the local market, or other activity, creating the illusion of use, and thereby positive exposure for Edith / Florence Streets / Bay Terrace.

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