The Sherwood Bus Depot official opening was held this morning and although no local residents were invited WTSAG was interviewed by ABC 612 Radio. The following is a transcript of the attached audio interview.
It's a 3:15pm, it houses around 200 buses and not everybody wants it there. Brisbane City Council's Bus Depot in Sherwood is officially up and running today and if you've got children in the car, that's where the buses go to sleep. It's approval triggered the resignation of local councillor Nicole Johnston who was concerned about the pollution, and congestion but standing there and admiring it I suppose is our Terri Begley. Are you there Terri?
G'day Tim, admiring I suppose is one word, I am on side of Sherwood Road which is right where this new bus depot has been officially opened I guess this morning and as we speak I am watching across to the new depot and seeing buses drive in and drive out, so it's a fairly constant stream of Brisbane City Council buses leaving and entering the depot here. As I said, I am just opposite the entrance to the depot and as you mentioned not everyone is so happy about the opening of the depot and we're going to find out why right now.
With me is Allan Howard, he is the president of the Walter Taylor South Action Group, one of a couple of groups who had concerns way back when the plans were on the drawing board for this depot, and sadly they feel that their concerns have all but been ignored with where this location is, where the bus depot has been built and also the sort of problems they foresee in the future. Allan, thanks for joining us this afternoon on 612 digital, now there are two key reasons that you are not happy about this bus depot, let's start with the first one, and that's to do with flood impact.
Yes, that is correct. When they first proposed to put the bus depot in they were going to provide a small amount of fill to level the land out, but following the January floods they decided that where essentially the whole site had gone under they needed to take some action to allow the bus depot to be developed and proceeded to raise the height of the bus depot and to such a concern that adjoining residents in Corinda are concerned with potential future flood impact should we get a similar event to January where we believe the water will actually back up behind the bus depot and impact houses more than it would have should it have not have been built in the first place.
Because as we stand at the entrance to the bus depot right now we are a lot lower than the depot is at itself. And when I look across the road and we have cars parked right next to the depot they are a full cars height below where the entrance to the depot is. So that's quite a high structure now.
Yes, well right where we are standing now, the water would have been probably another few metres over our heads. As you can see it went up to the bottom of the bridge, so the whole entrance, even with the heightened bus depot would be blocked off by the water.
So the water would come towards the bus depot, it would hit the bus depot and go around either side of it and a lot more water would be channelled to the houses behind. That's what your concern is?
That correct, and we've been chasing council now with a number of other resident groups to get a proper flood study done on the Oxley Creek Catchment. The flood studies that have been done have been done with very old modelling tools. We're told council has access to the new modelling tools and they will gradually do it across the city. We think that it's a priority to get the Oxley Creek Catchment modelled in the new tools so that everybody can understand the impact of the development that will happen along the creek banks, including the bus depot.
What sort of measures would you like to see council or state government paying for the residents behind this depot, so if another January 2011 flood occurred they'd be saved, or to at least given some more warning?
Essentially that flood study is really important to get it right. It needs to be done. There has been talk about a flood levy around the markets potentially even channelling the flood waters through an even narrower gap causing issues for both downstream suburbs of Graceville and upstream suburbs of Corinda and Oxley. So we would hope that they would look at that in a holistic manner and come up with a reasonable set of solutions for residents.
Now, it's a double-bunger this one. You've also got concerns about, as you can hear behind us, the congestion that this bus depot is now going to create from this point on Sherwood Road, particularly in the light that we're only about 400 metres away down from what is a very busy school, Sherwood State schoool. I know you don't have children there, but you've spoken to parents there, tell us about some of their concerns?
Well the parents are quite concerned, I mean the council had planned to only send 20% of the buses towards Oxley Road past the school. At school pickup and dropoff time it's already quite congested and the intersection there is already quite dangerous with dropoffs, plus we've also got active students who are cycling and walking to school. I mean we want to make sure that the're safe. If we look up here just 50 metres past up the the road towards Sherwood School the road narrows quite significantly and takes a bend across the railway line and it's quite blind and there is no room for cyclists and for buses and really cars all at the same time.
But you as an action group would have been in touch with the council as it was going through the planning phase for this bus depot. Surely some of these concerns were brought up a long time ago from you. Why have, do you feel that you've been ignored and you can't trust the council.
I think that council had already committed to doing something here without really studying it properly. I think one of the things that council isn't doing well is their community consultation. If they actually listened to the community and what they say. You know, we have solutions, it's not just about saying no. We can tell the council what happens and what doesn't. They didn't believe us on the flood level, the end result we had January's flood, the flood level that they said were appropriate were inappropriate. They need to listen to that, plus what people are saying about the local traffic and how that works. I've already been along Sherwood Road this morning and quite disappointed to see the buses exceeding the speed limit just trying to get back to the depot. So, yes, safety is a primary concern around here for such a narrow busy road as Sherwood Road.
Well the best case scenario would be the council coming and scrapping the depot. We both know that's not going to happen in our lifetime. What are these solutions that you think would make it easier on the residents who live around here?
Well for one thing I think that the release of the flood study, so the general community could see the impact and understand it properly. We could help by working with council to come up with appropriate solutions. Secondly we need to ensure that the Development Application came with a number/set of rules with regards to noise, hours of operation and lighting effects, we need to ensure that those design criteria are adhered to so that the residents are looked after.
Do you really think you are going to get any of these answers to these questions ahead of what's an upcoming council election?
Ah, no, but I can say that the Walter Taylor South Action Group have planned to call all the local candidates to together in a meeting in the week before the election and we're going to be putting some questions to all of them to see their response. So we'll be most interested in hearing those responses.
You'll have to get back in touch with us and find out how that goes, Allan, thank you.
Thank you very much Terri.
And from a sweltering afternoon as this storm seems to be about on us Tim, I might cross back to you.