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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

developers « Previous | |Next »
April 16, 2008

There's been plenty of news coverage of what happens when developers are allowed to influence decision making, most recently in Wollongong, but you don't hear much about what happens when they don't get a foot in the door.

The big money was behind Liberal and Labor candidates at the recent Gold Coast elections, and nobody bothered much with Ron Clarke. He was supposed to lose. Big business, which around here means real estate and developers, couldn't wait to be rid of him so no way were they going to help fund his campaign. And now they're quite cross.

Clarke won and so did a bunch of other independents, which was supposed to make Clarke's job a lot easier. Supposed to. Ever since the result was announced the local media has been devoting itself to airing the grievances of poor, hard done by developers who only have Gold Coast residents' best interests at heart.

Local newspapers devote wads of space to hard luck stories about developers having to comply with the red tape of environmental standards, approvals, and green and recreational space requirements. Residents in new estates at the northern end of the coast go without services, but developers spit lava over not being able to build enormous shopping centres next to other enormous shopping centres. And more residential developments next to other residential developments, with nothing but road in between.

An ongoing spat over a proposed rapid transport system is typical of your average response to Clarke. Offered a range of options including light rail, everyone and their dog knows residents chose buses. Funding agreements between the Council and State government ground to a halt mainly because vested interests wanted to keep the options open. Rarely did those interests consider the feasibility of whacking light rail through the middle of Surfers Paradise which, despite the impression of lovely wide roads you might get watching Indy, offers all the elbow room of your average inner city street.

Given population growth and changing distributions of population density, it seems reasonable to stick with systems that offer route flexibility. Residents are also under the impression that the whole thing is for the benefit of tourists anyway, and they're not inclined to support funky transport/theme park crossbreeds just to keep tour operators and holiday package deal types amused. But the 'debate' continues anyway, as if all the public consultation never happened.

This story is typical of the way these things play out in media. You can't trust Clarke to give you the story, local studies aren't good enough and in these circumstances you can't rely on the decisions that have been made. Stuff what residents think. We'll continue to argue over which southern route from Helensvale we should have and forget about anybody further north, presumably because there's nothing to go to there other than acres of nothing but houses. And vacant land that will eventually become more acres of nothing but houses when pressure eventually forces stinky Clarke and his smelly mob to stop insisting on more diverse land use.

Wildlife corridors. Green recreational space. Youth precincts. Sustainability. Services and local employment. Whoever heard of such nonsense.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:40 PM | | Comments (2)


they get their foot in the door quietly by having pro-development councilors elected. The local media is also pro-development

It was really amazing to hear what people had to say about developer influence in council around the election. Developers didn't get the chance to proceed quietly this time.

the local media is pro anything that gets them advertising. The local papers are a couple of sheets of cats up trees stories wrapped around real estate lift outs the size of phone books.