Forest Lake Residents Raise ‘Fighting Fund’ Against The Esplanade Retirement High-Rise Development

Residents in Forest Lake are joining forces against a high-rise developer who plans to build a high-rise retirement village at 5 The Esplanade. The legal battle, which started last July 2018, is expected to cost a substantial amount of money to pay for the services of a barrister who shall contest the developer’s appeal on their behalf.

On the afternoon of 12 Jan, the residents gathered at the ampitheatre for its fundraising meeting. Forest Lake Action Group (FLAG) spokesperson Hamish Krammer hopes that more people will take an active stance against the development.

James Property Group submitted its building plans for the company’s first 8-storey retirement village in Forest Lake to the Brisbane City Council in April 2018. Members of the council, however, blocked the proposal, thus the group’s JRD Number 2 director Jim Dupuis filed an appeal, with some minor changes to the project, with the Planning and Environment Court.  

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council

The developer’s modified plan will instead have a 6-storey building. Mr Dupuis emphasised that the retirement village will benefit the community as there are more demands for quality living spaces. He also said that he has a few other developments in mind for the Forest Lake community.

Hundreds of residents have been regularly attending the protest meetings since they have signed on as co-respondents against the appeal. Local solicitor Gregory Huddleston and the town planner Shane Howard have been advising and representing FLAG pro bono. FLAG also has the support of MP for Oxley Milton Dick and Councillor Charles Strunk.

The local community is against the said development since the building “is inconsistent with the Brisbane City Plan 2014 and the Forest Lake Neighbourhood Plan,” the petition underscored. The building will also apparently block the view from the lake, which may impact the residents. The excessive height of the proposed retirement village might also set a pattern for more high-rise developers to construct buildings that may ruin the landscape and architecture of the community.

However, Mr Dupuis downplayed the feedback from the residents by stating that there will always be complaints. FLAG, however, is still rallying up more residents to sign as co-respondents.

Forest Lake Action Group Adamant To Fight For Their Suburb Against High Density Residential Developments

Forest Lake residents have formed a group opposing several housing developments in various areas within the suburb.

The group is called FLAG, which stands for Forest Lake Action Group and they are taking action towards property developments within the area which they consider to be “unsuitable.” These developments are:

  • 150 Lovat St., Ellen Grove – 41 Townhouses
  • 35 Roxwell St. Ellen Grove – 44 Townhouses
  • 50 Crossacres St. Doolandella – 94 Townhouses

The group consists of real estate agents, solicitors and residents who are urging the Brisbane City Council to refuse the approval of these developments. The group believes that their suburb deserves better than these high-density developments.

For instance, traffic congestion is getting worse on streets with recently completed townhouses such as the one on Roxwell St. To add insult to injury, the suburb is also tackling issues about illegal dumping, further adding a burden on already congested streets.

Related article: Forest Lake Is One of The Leading Suburbs With High Cases of Illegal Dumping

Cr Charles Strunk shares the same sentiments as the residents of Forest Lake and said that the council should put more thought into the level of high-density developments in the suburb.

On the other hand, responding to the negative feedback, the council has requested the Ellen Grove development on Lovat St. to be reduced from 41 townhouses to 36. However, the group does not think this is enough and said that even if it gets reduced to 36, it still doesn’t comply with the Brisbane City Plan 2014 and the Local Government Infrastructure Plan, which cites that Lovat St. is an emerging community zone that only allows 18.8 dwellings per net developable hectare.

Another concern of the residents is the sewerage capacity which may not be able to accommodate increased density dwellings. However, the residents are concerned about sufficiency of sewerage capacity, despite assurances from Queensland Urban Utilities.