Prince Henry Heights
Community Action Group
Expert engineering advice given to Prince Henry Heights residents has raised significant question marks over a planned 40-lot pole housing estate proposed for the leafy escarpment suburb.
Following a community meeting last week where unanimous support was shown from hundreds of residents to fight the project, an action group meeting last Friday was told that the building application before Council seemed to contradict Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) own planning requirements in a number of areas.
Consulting engineers have advised that traffic bottlenecks, landslides and the destruction of sensitive native bushland will result if approval is given to the estate.
Action group spokesman Mr Philip Collins said that key findings given by engineers who had reviewed the proposed plan said that traffic could increase by more than 130 percent on the suburb’s narrow one way roads, severely restricting access for emergency vehicles in the event of life and death situations.
“We’re playing with people’s lives here and to think that the suburb’s current narrow roadways will cope with an emergency is ridiculous.
Council needs to understand the gravity of the issue if more added pressure is placed on the suburb’s narrow roadways.”
The roads feeding into the 40-lot estate are almost 2 metres short of Council’s own recommended street width of 7 metres.
“They are barely adequate to service the existing houses yet alone another 40 lot estate,” Mr Collins said. “Panorama Crescent that will feed traffic into the estate is just over 5 metres wide.”
“It’s ludicrous to think that it might be a good idea to add the traffic generated by another 40 three bedroom residences to this road without requiring the existing road to be upgraded, costing ratepayers millions of dollars.”
Mr Collins went on to say that apart from traffic issues, the estate seems to also sidestep proper planning scheme compliance issues in other areas.
“Stormwater and drainage compliance proposals are vague and could result in soil and hillside rock layers to become unstable. It’s not improbable to think that large tracts of Redwood Park on the escarpment could fall away into the gullies below. The destruction to the ring road of Prince Henry Drive, ecosystems and wildlife would be unimaginable.”
“We saw in the floods of 2011 the damage it caused and to multiply that again because of inadequate controls would be disastrous,” Mr Collins said.
The environmental impact of the estate seems to be underestimated, if Council’s own planning guidelines are taken in to account. “Our advice suggests that much more than the 2 hectares of native bushland surrounding the estate will need to be cleared to meet buffer zone requirements.”
“A permanent scar of barren and stark rock across Toowoomba’s scenic landscape escarpment, a desecrated ecosystem and the eradication of native wildlife will be left for future generations to enjoy.”
Mr Collins said many residents have already voiced their concerns to Council and to elected officials over the proposed estate. Community representatives will seek a meeting with TRC later this week to discuss the issues raised from the engineering report.