We need to preserve the Toowong Central site for affordable housing and community use, not private development.
Toowong Central is the now empty site across from Toowong Village in the heart of Toowong. It used to be a Woolworths before it was relocated inside the centre, and subsequently the ‘Aviary’ proposed development. Recently, that development failed, leaving the site in limbo while developers are proposing a very large merged site for luxury apartments – however they’ll still need approval from Council. The “Old Woolworths site” “Aviary site” and “Toowong Central” all refer to this location.
Brisbane City Council’s planning documents previously proposed that there would be an Urban Common (small urban green space) at this site, but recent changes to the Local Government Infrastructure Plan moved this park elsewhere (to the location of existing homes). This is essentially gifting more space to private development, a story that’s all too common with the decision-making of the current LNP-controlled Council. Meanwhile, locating the planned urban park in the place of existing houses means that it will never be built unless those residents voluntarily sell their homes to Council.
This site is too important to be developed into private, unaffordable apartments with no public space. In a housing crisis, it’s critical that any development of this scale supplies some public and genuinely affordable housing, otherwise rents and house prices are only going to escalate further.
When the Aviary development failed, State Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman called for the State Government to purchase the site and work with Brisbane City Council to build public housing on the site, alongside some much-needed green space. With increasing housing density, and in an ideal central Toowong location just adjacent to the busy hub of Toowong Village, green space is absolutely vital to providing public gathering space, fighting urban heat and generally fostering a good life in our city.
We’ve also proposed that this could potentially be the site for a new public pool for the inner west, which has been sorely lacking one since the Council sold off the well-loved Toowong Pool. This could be balanced with some green space as well as public and affordable housing to create a mixed-use site for the benefit of the thousands of locals who live or work in the area, or travel through Toowong each day.
My colleague, Greens Candidate for Walter Taylor Ward, Michaela Sargent, has petitioned Brisbane City Council to preserve the site for community use and reject development that doesn’t provide affordable housing and public amenity. You can sign onto the petition here.