From the New Councillor for The Gabba Ward:
I was sworn in as the new Councillor for the Gabba Ward on Tuesday, April 12. As you can imagine, it’s been a very busy week.
I’d like to start by thanking and acknowledging my predecessor, Helen Abrahams, who worked tirelessly for our community for many years. I’m conscious that I have big shoes to fill, and I’ll continue to draw on Helen’s advice and guidance as often as I can. I know Helen will remain an active and supportive member of our community.
For those who are wondering, I’ve lived with my partner and a few housemates in East Brisbane for the last two years, and before that I lived in West End and Highgate Hill. If you’re curious, you can find out more about my background at our website – jonathansri.com
– which we’ll be updating regularly with a range of information relating to my role as councillor and the community more generally.
Staying in touch
In the last few weeks I’ve been getting along to as many community group meetings as I can. With 30,000+ residents and so much happening in the Gabba Ward, it’s impossible for me to make it to everything, but I’ll do my best. For the first month or so, I intend to prioritise catching up with groups and individuals who I haven’t met with previously. If you’re part of a local group that would like me to come along to introduce myself, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about your upcoming meetings and events.
Our Gabba Ward office phone number remains 3403 2165, and we’re still at Helen’s former office location at 2/63 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba. Check out jonathansri.com/contact
for the current opening hours and further details.
We intend to send out regular updates via email, and we’d love your feedback on how often you want to hear from us and what kinds of information you’d like to see included in those regular mailouts. If you have friends and neighbours who’d like to be kept in the loop, please forward them this email and tell them they can sign up through this link
Where I stand
A common theme in my election campaign was that ordinary residents have lost control over many of the big decisions that shape our city. Some departments of the Brisbane City Council do a pretty good job of notifying and consulting with residents over smaller changes, however it often feels like we get very little meaningful say in bigger decisions, particularly those concerning highrise development approvals and BCC’s budget priorities.
I feel that my job as city councillor is to stand up for residents and amplify your perspectives on what kind of city you want Brisbane to become.
Overwhelmingly, Gabba Ward residents are telling me that they don’t mind a bit of high density development, as long as it’s economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. This means new developments should be designed at a human scale, should include sufficient open green space and should be accompanied by infrastructure to support a growing population.
Crucially, I think we must fight to ensure that local, independent businesses and lower-income residents aren’t forced out of the inner-city by rising real estate costs. Our neighbourhoods are changing rapidly, and we need to make sure those changes benefit Brisbane residents, and not just big corporations. (If you want to read more about where I stand, check out this opinion piece I wrote
If you feel passionate about these issues, and would like to volunteer to help us campaign for changes to the current system, you can sign up to our volunteer list here
(this list is separate from our ordinary Gabba Ward mailing list).
Urgent Public Meeting regarding the Absoe Development
Right now, construction of a particularly large development is about to start on the Absoe site in West End (the current site of the Boundary Street Markets and the Motor Room). Under the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan, this site is zoned for up to fifteen stories, and I’ve been told the developer intends to construct seven towers in total. The developer has also applied for a very large supermarket on the site, which I believe will, on balance, have a negative impact on the many small local businesses that give Boundary Street its special character. You can read more about what I’d like to see instead on this site here
I believe it was a mistake for the neighbourhood plan to permit development of that scale on that site, and I will continue to push for changes to the city plan and a complete revision of the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan. In the meantime though, we as a community need to decide how we will respond to this particular development.
I’ve organised a public meeting on this issue for this coming Thursday night at 6:30pm at West End Uniting Church (11 Sussex Street). Further details and an agenda will be posted at jonathansri.com/absoe
by Monday afternoon. You can also find the Facebook event page here
Don’t worry if you can’t make it – notes from the meeting will be posted online and on my Facebook page, and there’ll be more meetings and opportunities to share your perspective. And of course you can always email me.
In the near future, I’ll also be organising further public meetings and Q&A sessions in other parts of the Gabba Ward, so keep an eye out for the next email. (And don’t forget to let me know what kinds of info you’d like to receive in regular email newsletters – Do you like hearing about local events? Do you want regular updates on development applications in your area? Or are short sharp emails better?)
That’s pretty much it for now. I’m excited about the coming four years and I look forward to serving our community to the best of my ability.
Councillor for The Gabba Ward
The Gabba Ward Office
2/63 Annerley Road (Cnr Crown Street)
Woolloongabba QLD 4102
Ph: 3403 2165