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Moggill & Bellbowrie Town Hall - Proposals and Discussions

A sustainable vision for Moggill-Bellbowrie

Greens proposals for Moggill-Bellbowrie, presented at the February 2024 town hall. 

1. Better and more frequent public transport

Moggill Road is one of the most congested roads in Australia – because successive governments have failed to prioritise investment in public and active transport infrastructure on the West Side for decades. At the Lions West Transport Forum in 2023, it was revealed that promises made to the western suburbs in 2009 and 2014 never even got as far as feasibility studies.

The more people who have access to high-quality, affordable and convenient public transport, the less cars on the road and the quicker everyone can get where they need to go.

Listening to residents since Elizabeth won office, we learned that the 444 and 443 routes are appreciated and well-used, but could be improved. The Greens are advocating to extend the 444 route, and to expand the hours the 443 runs and its frequency, along with investigating bus lanes and T2 lanes along sections of Moggill Rd so buses no longer get trapped in traffic. This would connect with the Western Busway that Michael Berkman, Member for Maiwar, has been campaigning for.

2. Natural hazard resilience

Since the 2022 floods isolated Moggill-Bellbowrie, the community has been calling on authorities to ensure that future extreme weather events don’t end in tragedy. As well as the peninsula being flood prone, bushfires pose a hazard in dry seasons, and many residents only have one road out. This latest summer has yet again raised awareness of both the bushfire and flood threats to the area.

Two years later, we’re no closer to ensuring residents are able to escape the area in case of emergency, or to ensuring emergency services can get to the people who are in trouble. Yet development approvals continue, often with little consideration to issues such as overland flow or the impact on traffic and services.

The Greens support exploring the possibility of a mixed-use bridge for public and active transport that can be accessed by emergency services when necessary, and call on the government to expedite feasibility studies to determine the best location. Elizabeth has written to the Federal Infrastructure Minister and the Treasurer to advocate urgently for this feasibility study.

3. Revitalising shops and services

Bellbowrie Plaza has fallen into disuse since it flooded in 2022, with the new Coles shopping centre opening up the hill taking away the foot traffic from smaller retailers. It’s a topic locals talk about with frustration: the central location of the site means its current state leaves a hole in the heart of the community.

It’s not the only place where shops are lying empty: across the city tens of thousands of homes and shops are sitting empty long-term, because the owners are demanding rents businesses can’t afford. In many cases, it’s more profitable for a property owner to leave property vacant, thanks to the perverse incentives built into the system. This robs entrepreneurial locals of opportunities, and leaves residents with fewer options for shopping, entertainment and socialising.

The Greens proposed vacancy levy – an increased tax on properties left vacant for more than 6 months for no good reason – would encourage owners to put their properties to use, for the benefit of everyone.

4. New community centres in Kenmore and Moggill-Bellbowrie

Once upon a time, community centres were a priority in city development, and older suburbs of Brisbane have public infrastructure that’s available for the community to use for all sorts of purposes. Decades of developer-led priorities in Brisbane means many areas don’t have spaces for the community to use.

What spaces do exist are not truly fit for purpose. Kenmore Shed West, Kenmore Bridge Club and eWaste Connection Kenmore share a site on Brookfield Rd that, while functional, is incapable of servicing larger gatherings and broader community groups. The grant they received from the Federal Government for upgrades has been so poorly managed by the Brisbane City Council that it is unlikely any of the groups will see a meaningful increase in the functionality of the site.

The Greens will continue to fight for a good outcome at this site, while advocating for the Council or State government to acquire new sites in both the Kenmore area and in Moggill-Bellbowrie to deliver new, multi-purpose community centres.

5. A new high school for Moggill-Bellbowrie

Despite campaigns and petitions, the Queensland Government refuses to even entertain the idea of a High School to serve Moggill, Bellbowrie, Anstead and Karana Downs – even though there are around 1500 high-schoolers living in the area and leaving the suburb to get education every day.

Queensland Education’s stated plan is to expand Kenmore State High School – which is already at capacity. It’s the same approach to planning that saw them scrambling to put demountables on the oval at Indooroopilly State High School over the school holidays. It’s clear their approach to planning is not fit for purpose.

The Queensland Government has never funded our public schools to the minimum standard established by the Gonski Review more than 10 years ago. This refusal to invest in our young people (despite a current $12 billion surplus) forces them into poor decisions like this, which have flow on effects for thousands of people living around Moggill Rd.

The Greens are calling for the state and federal governments to fully fund public education when they renegotiate their funding agreement this year, and we are advocating for the state government to commit to a genuine public consultation process to locate the best site for a new school in the Moggill-Bellbowrie area by 2025 to commence construction shortly after.

Discussion summary

At the town hall, the audience broke into small groups to talk together how the sustainable cities principles would affect decision-making and planning in their neighbourhood. Each group responded to the same three questions. 

Moggill-Bellbowrie question 1:

Building and widening roads only induces demand. To tackle traffic congestion, we need to make public and active transport viable options for more people. As well as extending the 444 route and running the 443 more often, would you support converting one of the car lanes on multi-lane stretches of Moggill Road and Coronation Drive into a transit lane or bus lane so buses aren’t held up in general traffic?

  • Across the 5 groups, most residents supported a transit lane on the dual carriageway sections of Moggill Rd, feeling that a dedicated bus lane wasn’t feasible.
  • Residents familiar with T2/T3 lanes in other suburbs (eg Waterworks Rd) were especially supportive of the idea of a transit lane.
  • Some argued that this proposal is about getting people to the CBD, questioning whether getting people to the city should be a priority.
  • Several discussion groups raised other ‘fixes’ needed to make the 444/443 routes more usable. Suggestions included connector bus routes and better shade at bus stops.
  • Several groups raised the lack of safety for active transit in the area.
  • One resident continued to advocate for road widening.

Moggill-Bellbowrie question 2:

Creating spaces for community to gather and interact has not been a priority for many years, and as a result suburbs have been allowed to grow and densify without governments making investment in community infrastructure. Both Kenmore and Moggill-Bellbowrie urgently need a space for community – but the lack of planning creates challenges. The site of Bellbowrie Plaza, no longer the shopping hub, is often mentioned as a potential site, but it has flooded every time Brisbane has flooded. What space for community is needed in Moggill Bellbowrie, and where should a community space be built? 

Across the groups, there was some difference of opinion about what community services and facilities include - some people wanted to include shops and services, whereas others thought it meant space for community gatherings. 

  • The wishlist for services and facilities included:
    • Library
    • Multi-purpose meeting rooms
    • Community battery
    • Stadium for sports
    • Youth centre/programs
    • Better primary health care options
    • Urgent Care clinic/Satellite hospital
    • Dog park
    • Shopping precinct
    • Community Hall
    • High street where people meet
    • Parks for older kids/teens
  • Several groups raised the idea of utilising school facilities more as community spaces - including the option of dog walking on the oval. 
  • Two groups suggested that re-using existing spaces (such as empty shops) and having sites that are shared by multiple groups is better than special purpose buildings. 
  • With regards to where more community facilities could be built, the group suggested land near the Moggill State School, the higher ground on the Bellbowrie Plaza site, and some vacant land on Mercury St. 
  • One resident argued that no facilities are needed. Another argued for more trees to be planted. 

Moggill-Bellbowrie question 3:

It’s clear that we need a new public high school to service the now 1500 high school students living in the Moggill-Bellbowrie area, to fix the problem of school traffic on Moggill Rd and to relieve the pressure on the Kenmore and Indro State High catchments. This has been discussed for years, but it has been dismissed by the government. The community has suggested several possible sites over the years. There’s no perfect site, so any decision we make will have trade-offs., but we need to take a specific proposal to the government. One option raised by community members is to turn the Moggill State School into a K-12 school. What would be the pros and cons of this proposal? And how could we resolve some of the potential ‘cons’? 

  • Across the groups, people identified many ‘pros’ to the proposal of expanding the state school to include other grades, including convenience for parents and students, the possibility of the school becoming a community hub, and space to create safe active transport access to school, which would be positive for the area generally.
  • Several people across the groups were concerned there wouldn’t be enough space on the current site, and one opposed the idea of building up to accommodate more people. 
  • Some groups raised the possibility of a school on UQ land in Pinjarra Hills. However, the distance from the built-up areas of Moggill to the site was raised by other members of the group as a downside.
  • All of the groups spoke about the need to improve public and active transport to the school.
  • One resident suggested the same idea could be tried at Mt Crosby State School. 

Following the forum, community members have shared information that demonstrates that there is as much space at the proposed site as there is at another secondary college in Brisbane.