Neglected by successive governments
From horrendous traffic on Moggill road, to inadequate public transport, to a lack of facilities in the area, this fast growing area has been neglected by governments of all levels. The floods earlier this year reminded us that Moggill and Bellbowrie still get cut off in flooding events, leaving children stranded apart from their parents, and vulnerable people unable to get help.
I want to work with the residents of Moggill-Bellbowrie to design a comprehensive, planned solution that considers the needs of the community holistically. After a series of conversations with members of the Moggill-Bellbowrie community, the Ryan team and I put on a community forum at Moggill State School in November 2022 to find out what the people who live and work in the area want.
2022 Community Forum
I was blown away by the amazing turnout – around 140 people – and incredibly robust discussion at The Future of Moggill-Bellbowrie forum on Sunday 13 November.
I am very grateful to everyone who came along, especially Veronica Laverick, Dr Laurel Johnson, and Cr Jonathan Sriranganathan for speaking, and to Charles Worringham for emceeing the event. It was obvious there is a great appetite in the community to shape the future of the area, and I am very glad to be able to play a role in facilitating that.
Locals are the experts in their own area, and deserve to be heard on issues that affect them but it was very clear many feel there hasn't been sufficient opportunity to come together as a community in the past. My team and I are talking with various community groups about another gathering, and we hope there will be regular meetings while we work to win support from the relevant authorities.
The purpose of the first event was to start the conversation and to hear from the local community as much as possible. Coming out of the event I felt a number of things are very clear, and some other things requires a little more teasing out.
Moggill-Bellbowrie needs more services
There was overwhelming support for the need to establish more services so that people don’t have to travel out of the area just to access basic services.
Specific services that people seemed to have real enthusiasm for were:
- a community centre and meeting space (it’s crazy that there isn’t this facility already!),
- a new high school (there are 1200 local kids of high school age already in the area, and this number is only set to rise),
- specialist medical facilities,
- more facilities for young people.
There were more ideas about other services, but these ones seem the most urgent.
The community understand that the lack of services is a major contributor to the "constipated" (thank you Laurel Johnson for that description!) traffic on Moggill Rd. People noted that school drop-off creates problems along the length of Moggill Rd.
Cr Jonathan Sriranganathan gave a cautionary note that political leaders will not make a plan for building more services unless they get worried about losing votes, referencing the lack of a plan for a new high school in his ward, despite massive growth.
Emergency access and escape must be addressed
While floods have been top of everyone's minds for the past few months, I was glad to hear people raise the issue of bushfires – we need to be prepared for both!
One thing that is a partial answer to both is a bridge from Bellbowrie to either Wacol or Riverhills. There was broad support (about 2/3s of the room from the show of hands) for this to be a bus and pedestrian/cycling bridge that can also function as an emergency access and escape bridge for cars in case of flood or fire.
However, this one was definitely an idea that needed more discussion going forward, as a decent number of people preferred a car bridge, and others had concerns about a bridge at all. It was noted that having a car bridge could open up a route west to Ipswich, Warwick and Toowoomba.
Finding the right location for a bridge does have some challenges: the approach to the bridge and its landing on the other side must also be clear of flooding. I personally feel a design solution is possible, and because this could be a very important and useful piece of local infrastructure to resolve a number of issues for the area, it deserves a deeper community conversation going forward.
Public transport fixes could start now
- it gets stuck in traffic at peak times further up Moggill Rd,
- there aren't enough links to that service.
One suggestion was to change the terminus of the bus from Westaway Park to the great sports facilities down the road, creating better access to those facilities. What a shame "Brisbane's new bus network" didn't include any improvements to services on the West Side: these changes could be made now.
Development needs proper planning
The question of where to build
Whether we're talking about a bridge, a new high school or more services, finding sites is a key question that needs to be answered. For services, the Bellbowrie Plaza site is in serious need of a revamp and has a number of advantages, including being located within walking distance of much of Bellbowrie... but the site is prone to flooding.
More community conversations
My office is very happy to help facilitate in whatever way we can. We're working on a plan for a follow-up event led by a local community group, where we can have a deeper dive into potential solutions and how we win them. Watch this space!