Mega suburb land value jumped after deal
A 1350 lot subdivision is planned for land next to The Gap. Photo: Louie Douvis
A land owner sold a site slated for a new mega suburb for $70
million more than it was valued at earlier this year, after signing a
deal with Brisbane City Council.
The council signed an infrastructure agreement with Ian
Macallister, a long-time LNP donor, in February that paved the way for
him to sell 227 hectares of land bordering The Gap to West Australian
property developer Cedar Woods for $74 million in May.
Without the legally binding agreement, the Upper Kedron
property's unimproved capital value was just $2.5 million, according to
The document forms part of an assessment application made to
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt by Cedar Woods, which has
proposed a high density, 1350 lot subdivision for the leafy site that
has been met with fierce opposition from neighbouring residents.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is on leave, so was unavailable for comment on Monday.
Acting Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner was also unavailable for comment.
Save the Gap president Shane Bevis said the document appeared
to confirm residents' fears that the development application was a done
deal, despite contravening the allowable density for the area in both
the new City Plan 2014 and the Ferny Grove Upper Kedron local plan.
He said no developer would outlay tens of millions of dollars for land without some guarantee their plans would be approved.
"This agreement appears to have been worth in the order of
$60 million, so this is no insignificant document council has entered
into with the original land owner," he said.
"What it looks like to us is council has been trying to hide
this document, to hide the existence of it, they have not discussed it
"They have entered into a legally binding agreement that says
something completely different to what the City Plan says and how the
local plan says this land should be developed.
"It's time for council to come clean and start answering some
serious questions about how this agreement was entered into and on what
The infrastructure agreement is not available in publicly
accessible documentation relating to Cedar Woods' application on the
council's planning website, PD Online.
A council spokeswoman said the document did not guarantee
approval of Cedar Woods' development application but rather, was a bid
to protect the site's "significant ecological and waterway corridors".
The infrastructure agreement, which the council spokeswoman
said was binding on future development, irrespective of property owner,
was signed just 20 days after the council endorsed City Plan 2014, which
came into effect on July 1.
It appears to override planning instruments in both the City
Plan and the Upper Kedron Ferny Brook neighbourhood plan, both of which
were endorsed after extensive public consultation.
In both plans, the site is designated for low density future development and as environmentally sensitive.
"Everybody who believed the council and the Lord Mayor when
he said City Plan would protect our leafy suburbs, when this document
was created at the same time, it's a real kick in the guts," Mr Bevis
"To those who thought they would have protection, the
residents of Upper Kedron who rightly have an expectation council would
stick to the local plan, it is just a real kick in the guts.
"This agreement runs counter to everything council endorsed just 20 days earlier."
A huge backlash from residents of The Gap and Upper Kedron
greeted the massive subdivision proposal, when it was submitted by Cedar
Woods in June.
The council spokeswoman said the site had been identified as a
location for future housing development under the South East Queensland
She said it was not uncommon for infrastructure agreements to precede a development application.
The council's opposition leader Milton Dick called for a
special council meeting to examine the emergence of the infrastructure
"The Lord Mayor personally met with this developer on two
separate occasions, including the day the Infrastructure Agreement was
signed and it's been reported he has made supportive comments in a
statement calling for investors to the project," he said.
"We need to restore independent scrutiny to the assessment of
this development application and I call on the Lord Mayor to cut his
holiday short and immediately re-call councillors for a special meeting
of the Brisbane City Council."
The council is currently in its spring recess period.
Mr Macallister has donated on several occasions to the
Queensland LNP, as well as to the respective election funds of Cr Quirk
and former Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, Team Quirk Forward Brisbane
Leadership and Forward Brisbane Leadership.