Blueprint Tamborine Mountain

 

Blueprint version 3.0 has been written and published. It is a ‘compressed’ four pages document distributed in print by the TM News, and online on the visit Tamborine website. The long version, Blueprint version 2.1 and Blueprint version 1.0 are available online as well, to provide full transparency.
An online questionnaire will be ready before Christmas 2018 on this website and stay online for the month of January. The community will be invited to fill it out. Early February another community meeting will take place.
To communicate with the Blueprint-Team* please use the special form, to be found here
BLUEPRINT VERSION 2.1 (latest update 17 December 2018) is available below.

Contents

Summary

Vision

Infrastructure

Natural environment

Living on Tamborine Mountain

For locals and visitors

Local government

Summary

Crucial to the success of Tamborine Mountain in 2030 will be high quality of management of infrastructure, because of ongoing growing numbers of visitors to the mountain. Local and regional public transport is essential for a sustainable combination of local living and viable economy. Long Road extension, an extended cycle/foot-path network, car parking-management, a state of the art digital infrastructure and implementation of Gallery Walk plans including Cook Road extension are part of this plan.
Preservation, and use, of natural environment will address the need to protect existing nature, improve the quality of natural environment, establish ways for locals to – employment-wise – participate in nature-based activities and events, and manage visitor numbers and experiences.
A third subject will address issues that are relevant to local residents , like the subdivision policies, population numbers/cap, ground-water and sewerage, wast collection and sport, education, healthcare and aged care.
The fourth subject addresses topics related to both residents and visitors, like the village atmosphere, use and increase of renewable energy, a policy on recyclable bags, cups and other products , and a comprehensive plan recognising the importance of the arts community/industry (incl. retail and a public gallery).
The fifth chapter describes the interaction with government, by clarifying what the community expects from its relationship with its local government; there is substantial room for improvement

Vision

Descriptions like “Green Island in the Sky” and “Green Behind the Gold” are the unique set of environmental and economic features defining our community. In 2030, Tamborine Mountain should still be a location defined by large sections of remnant rainforest and parks, both on public and private land. Existing public land should stay in public ownership: “We love our flora and fauna, our forests and views, our art and hospitality, and above all: our ruralness”; “Our city friends tells us that a visit to TM is to experience “being in the country”, enjoying a breath of fresh air spiritually and physically, and to feel and enjoy the rejuvenating atmosphere of our local businesses.”

  • The natural, social and cultural environments define the quality of living on the mountain as well as the opportunities for economic development. The same definitions also outline restrictions and direction of future development.
  • On the doorstep of the Gold Coast and Brisbane, Tamborine Mountain prides itself in being driven by a healthy, sustainable economy, where visitors and locals experience the beauty of the natural environment in combination with sustainable living; this includes sufficient overnight accommodation.
  • TM should be designated as a clean, green, eco community, with businesses focused on and leveraging from that. TM should be self sustaining and sustainable, leading the way and educating the world. Tourists should visit for that reason, not just for picnicking.

Infrastructure

Outline

Lack of comprehensive and locally supported infrastructure policies have led to an unsustainable situation on Tamborine Mountain, especially on weekends and during events. It is only a matter of time till traffic pressure will increase on all mountain roads, also leading to further intrusion in residential areas, because no control plan is in place. Traffic accidents will also increase due to large numbers of vehicles, trucks, buses, motor bikes, bicycles and pedestrians sharing the same narrow roads.
In addition to road-management outcomes, infrastructure planning should support sustainable living, a healthy lifestyle, recreational facilities and conservation of flora and fauna.
Tamborine Mountain welcomes at least 1.3 million visitors each year according to tourism definitions and data of ‘Tourism Australia. In addition, about 700,000 plus visitors from within 40 kilometres and/or of an age of 16 years or below, which are not counted in official data, also visit the mountain annually: a total of over 2 million visitors each year[1]. This not only creates a large local industry (just the wedding industry alone is valued at $ 30 million/year), but also causes a lot of impact on the local population:

  • locals are irritated by the mess caused by the traffic;
  • tourists are struggling to find car parks and safe pedestrian areas;
  • local businesses cannot attract enough traction to make a good living.

A medium-term infrastructure plan is crucial to achieve the goal that Tamborine Mountain will (still) be a pleasant place to live in 2030, but also benefits from a healthy local economy. The plan should include a method of moving visitors and locals over the mountain, using local and regional public transport options, and minimizing the vehicle movements of local roads.

A comprehensive traffic plan

 

 

 

Pedestrian Zones

Pedestrian areas not only improve the visitors/shopper’s experience, it also increases road safety and may encourage visitors to use the premises for a longer period of time. Three potential pedestrian areas have been identified: Gallery Walk, Main Western Road and Main Street

Each Pedestrian Zone provides:

  • Parking areas at least at both ends of the Zone.
  • Vehicle registration recognition boom gates restricting vehicle entry to only residents, their guests, service vehicles and emergency vehicles.
  • A relatively modest entry fee for visitors – to be used for controlling access, and generally supporting the management of the natural environment
  • walking and cycling paths, amenities, a bypass road and access to local public transport


Long Road extension

In 2005 a roundabout was built behind the Showgrounds, to ‘be ready’ for the Long Road extension. Since then, nothing has happened with it. Extending both roads – Long Road and Main Western Road) in parallel is important to reduce traffic pressure at busy days, and provide flexible traffic options in case of a natural disaster:

  • Long Road should be extended to Normandie Court as a sealed road
  • Main Western Road should be connected via White Road (parallel to Bartle Road.
  • Getting all weather access for emergency vehicles is the first priority.
  • Some locals are vehemently against opening up Long Road mainly because of the impact on their lifestyle and on the cattle.

 

 

Gallery Walk

Gallery Walk has a vital tourism role to play: it should be the show case of the Mountain’s values and also be attractive to locals. The community needs to take ‘moral ownership’ of ‘our Walk’. The main tourism center should be greener, much more pedestrian-friendly and – using a GW development plan – set enforceable outlines for the sort of shopping-experience visitors will have.

  • A Gallery Walk Infrastructure Plan needs finally to be put in place, executed, based on plans developed in 2000 and 2010. Council wrote in their 2010 plan: Scenic Rim Regional Council is sympathetic to the needs of community members and retailers to retain access to the area and is addressing the current congestion by commissioning SMEC Consulting community feedback that the best way to preserve the quiet lifestyle of the mountain is to construct a bypass road which will divert through traffic away from Gallery Walk via Cook Road.” The plan needs to include management of ‘overload’: what to do when too many people visit at once? It also includes much more green than the current precinct.
  • An over-arching Gallery Walk Development Plan should be developed by residents, the business community and local government to address the image of the Walk, with measures in place to enhance the quality and diversity of products and services. To a certain extent, rules should be mandatory for business owners and landlords: “The difference between Montville’s commercial centre and ours is sadly too clear: it’s the difference between planning and chaos”. The precinct has developed over four decades, without significant guidance by government. That should change now.
  • In any beautification plans only indigenous trees and plants should be used.

Public transport

Two forms of Public transport have been identified; regional and local. The goal is to include many more locals in both public transport services.

  • A regular service to and from the Gold Coast. Two or four runs per day (or more if possible). Preferred destinations: Helensvale station (because of light-rail connection), Nerang (because that avoids using the congested M1) or Coomera Station (shopping center and direct train link to Brisbane). should during each run cover most of TM plateau. Other public transport options should be considered on their merits, by local community and local government is the options become available. Considerations will include use for locals, impact on nature, impact on roads, impact on tourist numbers and investment options / local involvement in such project. Buses should allow taking bikes. For example, the idea of a cable car up the mountain causes shudders and rumblings, but it really needs to be considered as ONE option to transportation, not only of people TO the mountain, but for people ON the mountain who lack their own way to go down for medical services, shopping or whatever cannot be taken care of locally. Before starting any new project, failed projects from the past should be studied and included in plans for future public transport. Whilst a cable-way might seem to be an alternative, its siting, provision of transport to the departure point on TM, and the necessity of the Gold Coast end connecting with public transport are major hurdles.
  • A local service should provide both locals and tourists public transport between 10am and 3pm. The 10 minutes service should connect to all shops, car parks and tourism destinations. A fee is required. Electric vehicles would be good for costs, image and noise. Hop on – hop off, for instance. Free car parks and bus tickets for owners of electric vehicles?

Walking and cycling tracks

Ideas for a walking track around the mountain have been on the table for more than a decade. In a comprehensive infrastructure it could be integrated with the also foreseen tracking/cycling track network on the plateau:

  • The map includes not only public transport routes and the main roads, but also – in red – a paved walking/cycling track, providing opportunities for locals, visitors and students to use the bicycle to get to and from work/school, shops, all shopping centers, sport center, tourism precincts and national and local parks. A pathway along Main Western Road could possibly be a Boardwalk / eco footpath from Witches Falls to the Hangliders lookout, and an easement connecting the Main Western Road track with the Long road extension without going around the Showgrounds.
  • A special bicycle track from and to the mountain would reduce the danger currently experienced by both bikers and car-drivers on the main roads
  • An extension of the walk/cycle track could be the creation of a walking track all around the mountain, linking the plateau and the escarpment. A nature trail promotes health, vibrant and active towns, road and pedestrian safety, and ecotourism developments.

Street-scapes

The community at large considers a well-managed infrastructure plan more important than incidental, beautification projects, even if the outcome of beautification is appreciated. Beautification comes ‘on top of’ well managed infrastructure, not ‘instead of’.

  • If ‘beautification‘ projects are executed, local government should seek input from the local community. Imposing projects without sincere consultation is not effective. This also applies to public art, which should not be intrusive, dominant or detracting. “Hedge rows” and “post and rail” fencing, both included in former Town Plans, as well as garden barriers and street furniture deserve consideration.
  • Despite lacking town sewerage, more public toilets are needed, some suitable for caring of disabled children. Often, a single unisex toilet with disabled access, changing facilities and an outdoor sink is all it would take. Should some toilets, especially in tourism locations, be ‘user paid’?
  • More zebra crossings (markets, hang gliders, school?), a 50 kmh speed limit on the entire Mountain, reduction of heavy vehicle movements (management of school buses required), and signs at gateway points stating that “Tamborine Mountain is a sanctuary” can all help to improve road safety on the mountain.
  • Better curb & channeling for storm water drainage may help to reduce erosion on public and private land but should only be built if ‘unavoidable’: more curbs will increase a suburban look and feel which is not what the community likes. Water courses need to be unblocked debris causes flooding, such as at Curtis falls intersection.
  • If road kill hot spots have been identified, measures to reduce the impact need to be considered (signs, traffic slowing measures, alternative crossing options for wildlife)

Natural environment

Outline

Being a rainforest wonderland in its original state that was “exploited” by a bunch of battling farmers in the early days, TM luckily avoided becoming another suburb: retaining good wildlife habitat is the leading principle. In principle the green space of the mountain should not be reduced anymore.

The main managerial challenge of Tamborine Mountain continues to be the balance between economy and ecology. The good news is that they need each other: without economy (especially tourism) the town would not thrive; without ecology the place loses its attractiveness for both residents and visitors. Protecting and improving nature, is therefore, and for ecological reasons, widely supported by the community. The community at large is very well aware, and appreciative, of the role of both. It’s not ‘either, or’, it’s not either healthy or wealthy…. both matter.

Emphasizing the artificial divide between economy and ecology is not helpful, will split the community and allows government to do (or better: not do) whatever they like. Instead of thinking in terms of ‘division’, the Blueprint defines a managerial solution in seeking the balance, in accepting the value of both. If questions arise, the community needs to be sincerely involved in making decisions, or deciding on priorities. The main features of the mountain that need assessment for any foreseen future development include:

  • Quietness – minimise traffic noise
  • Protection of the environment – good control of tourists in moving through sensitive areas
  • Easy movement around the Mountain
  • Access to services, shops

If these criteria can be agreed then any development can be properly assessed against them.

Reiterate the Mountain’s qualities

Redefining, or better: re-iterating, what the Mountain is, forms the essence of management of natural environment. This approach includes – not for all, but for many – the awareness that only by looking after the planet in a better way, we can preserve it. TM celebrates its local businesses because of their locality, charming presentation and local flavours: for locals and visitors alike, it’s all about the feeling of escaping ‘the country’ with a rejuvenating atmosphere. Defining the main qualities of this image is central to a sustainable future for the mountain, and defines what choices need to be made locally.
Tamborine Mountain’s ‘Green behind the Gold’ concept, as described in this Blueprint, becomes reality.
In addition to the managerial side of environmental protection, several practical topics need fixing. It should be considered to apply to become a biodiversity hotspot or biosphere; use of renewable energy and electric vehicles and ban of single-use plastics, promotion of reusables deserve active support, as does the production and sales of locally grown food. In general the community supports minimizing the use of public light ; protection measures on both public and private land need support, and the creation of walking tracks on the plateau and around the mountain is also good from an environmental point of view.

Green behind the Gold

A location like Tamborine Mountain needs a structured involvement of the community in environmental policies. Currently, Council’s Biodiversity Strategy, Urban Planning Schemes and funding bodies all have fragmented impact on protection of nature. Landcare continues its work, and so do the volunteers of the Botanical Gardens, Visitors Information Centre and national Parks. None of this is comprehensive, or with an overall view on the balance between protection and access of nature. A major threat is ‘loving nature to death’ by too large visitor numbers. It requires management, also in the context of already increasing pressure of climate change.

  • A Local Environment NGO should organise better involvement of the local residents in the preservation and use of natural environment. A comprehensive plan should be endorsed by existing local organisations like TM Landcare, Natural History Association, Garden Club and Chamber of Commerce.
  • The NGO should also create an ‘Environmental Code of Conduct‘ describing how residents should act to preserve and enhance our environment: preservation, regeneration, and protection, including things as limiting the use of pesticides and promoting planting native species (like the Birdwing Butterfly Vine). Property owners, including local and state governments, should be required, at their own expense, to remove excessive amounts of invasive weeds, or be fined. It needs to have ‘teeth’.
  • To be able to create funds – apart from grants and subsidies – it is necessary to offer products and services that will generate income. The focus for any program should be ‘non-polluting, non-invasive … creative ways to connect people with wildlife’ (more than ‘nature in general’, or just flora). TM should aim for a reputation as a premium destination for wildlife experience. ”
  • Another funding option: All businesses on the mountain offer to tourist customers when they are about to pay, the opportunity to contribute to a fund that is supporting the maintenance of the natural flora on the Mountain, which tourist enjoy. The suggested amount is 1% of the sale but any amount will be gratefully received. There could be POS promotional material outlining how the money is being used etc. It would be worth trying to get the banks to set up on every EFPOS machine an automatic tab for this with the money going directly into the Fund’s account at no cost to the business owner.Apart from providing much needed funding for Land Care and similar groups it would be great PR for the Mountain and if they came on board, for the banks who sure need some good news stories. It would also help bring the green environmentalists and the business community closer.
  • Local guides will organise, paid, nature based walks, night walks and other nature activities, so some of the economic benefits will stay on the mountain instead of going to operators elsewhere.
  • Private and government land owners should get together in a formal way to define locations for corridors and protect those. The wildlife refuge status would be more effective than ‘Land for Wildlife’.
  • Responsible new activities could be initiated, like a travel application to guide people to and through the natural environment in a modern, interactive, non-polluting way and creative ways to connect people with wildlife, like a phasmids-farm, bird-feeding events, glow-worm- fire-flies-, nocturnal wildlife- and lyre-bird walks. Public involvement in surveys is another way: lyrebird surveys, quoll searches and phascogale spotting for instance; native butterflies, katydids, bugs and rhinoceros beetles can be bred in special habitats by expert people for display and visitor interactions. Arts classes in/about nature, and photography workshops form another option, as one off (for visitors) or repetitive (for locals) events.
  • At the VIC information should be given in a modern way; a make-over of that Centre should be based on expectations from tourists, including modern communication devises (touch screens, for instance). Turn the VIC into a real, state of the art, rainforest information centre with up to date technological features. Alternatively, a new center for this purpose could be built at the current Landcare site.
  • Better signage, BBQ facilities, better traffic/parking control and improved track maintenance are some of the policies needed in National parks.
  • Liaising with the local schools could help to raise awareness of the value of our local natural environment.
  • Extra viewing points need to be established to both the East and the West.
  • 15 council parks (many of those managed and regenerated by Landcare) are now regenerated. Maybe some sites are suitable for public access, even though Landcare is reluctant.
  • The council parks hardly have any formal protection, despite the great outcomes of revegetation efforts. The should be legally protected against any development. Other blocks of nature that can be identified as very important for local flora and fauna should also be formally protected.

Biodiversity hotspot

Previous efforts to establish a ‘World Heritage Area’ failed because we were already too fragmented. Tamborine Mountain (TM) remains a ‘biodiversity hotspot’. Even if it does not give full legal protection, efforts should be made to define our mountain in a formal sense as a unique biodiversity location.

  • TM should try to become a Biosphere.
  • Protection of natural environment against future developments is described in the chapter ‘Development Control’. Green Space on plateau and escarpment deserves protection, and if possible: extension. If possible, suitable land should be bought back by government for this purpose. Main-made structures in natural environment should be limited to a minimum.
  • A “significant tree” register needs to be created and made available to the public.
  • A global policy (meaning covering the whole mountain) to protect larger animals like mammals, large birds and large reptiles like land mullets and goannas is needed.
  • Studies should show what impact Climate Change will have and how we can adjust.

Plastic free

The Green Behind the Gold profile does not mean a lot without a serious effort to reduce the use of disposable plastic. The final goal is a totally plastic free environment (paper bags, cups, bottles, cutlery, plates for sale and to be used at all premises).

  • Clean drinking water should be made available without the need to buy plastic bottles. Free springwater bubbler like in Rome is an option, filling points like Nabropure[2] or water supplied/sold by local businesses is another option.
  • Ban sale of plastic water bottles. The small town of Bundanoon, New South Wales (Australia) enacted such a ban in 2009[3]. High schools, colleges, municipalities and universities across the world have implemented bottled water bans on their campuses.

Support for private land owners

With most of the land being privately owned, support of land-owners will be essential for successful management of the natural habitat.

  • Advice on ways to optimize wildlife habitat is one thing, support to allow the public to access private land in a responsible way (e.g. for the long walking track) is also important. Private landholders should be supported/encouraged to develop nature based attractions on their land, if possible extra funds should be created/found. Coordinated efforts to remove specific weeds, like privet, on private and public land, deserve support of the community and government.
  • Local nursery retailers should stock more local native species to increase supply.
  • Locals should be encouraged to enter Land for Wildlife and Nature Refuge programs and receive support for regen activities on their properties.
  • Pets should be restrained and legislation should help to contain the impact of domestic cats.

Living on Tamborine Mountain

The Green behind the Gold profile not only relates to practical outcomes on the ground. Legal frameworks to manage the development of the mountain are crucial, like the Planning Scheme. Other relevant planning issues include local food production, light pollution restriction, energy policy, water and sewage, waste management, digital infrastructure, education, healthcare and aged care, sport, library and fire-management

Planning Scheme

The Blueprint coves a timeframe of 12 years, ending 2030. Planning schemes cover a shorter period of time, and only some of the Blueprint topics are also addressed in Planning Schemes. Nevertheless, the topics that are vital for good planning, are mentioned in the schemes, and therefore getting results from the Blueprint is only possible if Planning Schemes are in place.

  • The Urban Planning Scheme should enforce, with even stricter by-laws, restrictions on tree felling and building in slip-country.
  • Tamborine Mountain deserves its own Town Plan, but this does not mean that it is isolated from the rest of the region. The Gold Coast has included in its planning schemes separate sections for each suburb, to emphasize the features and challenges for each separate suburb, rightfully accepting differences. The Council considers differences as weaknesses, where they are strengths.
  • Contrary to the ‘one size fits all’ principle of the new planning scheme, we have to acknowledge that we are different from the rest of the shire. Among other fields, this in particular applies to arts. In the local plan, planning decisions of bordering areas in the Gold Coast, Tamborine Village and Canungra should be considered. Canungra, for instance, faces rather large scale residential developments leading to almost 300 new homes and the identified bypass road is nowhere near realisation. Planning issues in Canungra should be considered on the mountain as well.
  • Population growth will impact on natural environment and infrastructure, but also create bigger waste water and effluent issues. A very restrictive population growth policy is needed to protect the 2018 lifestyle. Research is needed to decide on the need of caps, (population, dwellings, subdivisions, size and sort of industries) to decide what kind of population IS sustainable.
  • The foreseen population growth in the shire (from 41 to 62 thousand people) is currently a projection, but given the expected extra revenue, it is likely to become a target instead. It will pressure council to accept more MCU applications. Council needs to be strong enough, financially (legal costs) and politically, to stand up against inappropriate (illegal or unwanted) development. These two goals are really conflicting, because Council should stop activities that make them lots of revenue. Tamborine Mountain expects Council to clarify its position in this conflict: how will Council stand up against developments that lead to big extra revenue? How can we be sure that Council is willing and strong enough to protect our community against further loss of nature and increase of living density?
  • Compliance with approval conditions should be enforced, rather than approving Development Applications “with conditions” and hoping for the best.
  • If possible, an arbitrary date – say 1/1/2020 – should be established after which no further approvals will be given for subdivisions, secondary dwellings or buildings to be used as AirBnBs
  • Housing affordability is a major issue. Housing options should be created for less wealthy people, including elderly and young people, by allowing building and renting out additional dwellings, including tiny houses on wheels, on all properties (while meeting environmental standards and waste water management). The Planning Scheme should allow this, without giving unlimited room to everybody to create dual living (in big houses) on existing properties. Second dwellings should not be restricted to areas on properties which are essentially unsuitable, like locations near forests, creek or in the shade. Tamborine Mountain could be one of Australia’s first tiny house friendly towns!

Local produce

Locally grown and sold fruit and vegetables ae good for health and for the environment. As a country town we support anyone growing their own fruit and veggies.

  • The local markets are strict in selling only local and regional produce, which is great. The Green shed deserves support.
  • Food could even become a bigger deal if it is included in the ‘Green behind the Gold profile: traveling to, or living on, Mount Tamborine is not only about nature, views and art, but also about locally grown food. The mountain needs to focus on organic living – businesses that enhance the environment. A good example is Margaret River, whose council allegedly supports small agriculture, food, arts and micro businesses (including farmers and artists).

Light

Lack of street lighting is a major feature of the mountain, reducing impact on wildlife and allowing views to the night skies. The community at large is supportive of this situation.

  • Allow small, downward pointing, low intensity lights on Gallery Walk and Main Street at night to increase safety and vivid appearances of those locations.

Energy supply

The world is shifting to renewable energy, because of global warming, reduced availability of fossil fuels and lower costs. Whatever the driver is: the shift is taking place and Tamborine Mountain is well located to participate. In the Green behind the Gold profile, renewable energy supply is a major factor.

  • A plan needs to be developed to increase production and use of renewable energy, establish charge points for cars of locals and visitors (from solar power), a solar farm and public transport based on electric vehicles.
  • Production of solar energy can take place on roof tops, in mini solar farms and/or on public buildings, like the Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) concept. The main power grid will more and more serve as a backup network.
  • Water-driven and wind energy options need to be investigated
  • If new power lines are needed, they should be ‘below ground’.

Water, sewerage

The mountain’s drinking water supply comes from the aquafers, and from roofs. TM values the system of relying on rainwater and ground water for drinking water supply: a healthy resource without added chemicals. If well enough regulated this system is practical and sustainable. Some residents would prefer a reticulated water and sewerage system. But with increasing population pressure better regulation is required to protect the quality and use of aquafer water.

  • Local supply from bores, as back up of roof water, might play a role in a system of reliable drinking water supply. Council should regulate the supply, and even the pricing. Or the community at large, QUU or the council, should own a bore, for instance the existing “minor public water utility”. There is a danger that too many bores per unit area will soon result in pollution. A larger tank supply should be encouraged or become mandatory.
  • Major extractors on the mountain do not come close to extracting to the limit for which they have approval, so there is no need for any further “Minor Public Utility” approvals, which have a tendency to be used as stepping stones to greater volumes of extraction.
  • Tamborine Mountain should be excluded from any provision for Commercial Water Extraction other than for local use.
  • Our aquifers are presently at risk of contamination in some areas and overflowing smelly septic trenches pose a health hazard. A time line should be established to complete the transition to more environmentally acceptable waste water treatment solutions with provision for rate reduction and/or subsidies. An audit of sewer systems, because too many old systems putting sewerage into creeks. Old systems should be phased out, to be replaced by approved HSTP systems.
  • If sewage is processed off the mountain currently, then maybe a local sewerage treatment plant is needed.

Waste

The community should discuss with council the way waste is collected and charged. Some suggestions:

  • Regular large waste curb-side pickups as well as green waste collection and soft plastic recycling.
  • Each household should be given the option annually to nominate the number of bin collections and be charged accordingly; different bin colours can be used.
  • Waste transfer / tip open 7 days/week and allowing anything to be dumped, including concrete and so.
  • Larger works crew stationed at TM Council Depot

Digital infrastructure

Reliable, high speed, low cost internet connection is crucial for businesses, for community services organisations and for private residents.

  • Tamborine Mountain needs to be connected to state of the art internet and mobile phone network; supporting lifestyle and business development. Black spots to be solved.

Education

With three primary schools, two high schools and two kindy’s the mountain is well serviced for primary and secondary education.

  • Given the location on a mountain, with limited capacity access roads, the local schools are mainly meant to service the local community; growing the schools for children from elsewhere is not a good idea. Canungra State School for instance is at maximum capacity. A solution for that problem should not be to use Tamborine Mountain as overflow.
  • People at the age of late high school often don’t feel enough reason to stay on the mountain, so they leave and leave. It should be considered how to make the mountain attractive for people of every age group.

Health care and aged care

The healthcare and aged care services of the mountain are crucial, and much appreciated. Limited capacity of the aged care facility, and zoning issues for health care are of major concern:

  • Health service providers are acutely aware of Tamborine Mountain’s unique isolated position as the plateau, making access challenging. TM has no hospital, no x-ray facility and no public transport to allow patients easy access to these facilities off the mountain. The mountain roads are challenging for timid or aging drivers. The pharmacies have limited after hours opening. Managing patients on a daily basis with these limitations of access is very challenging. Government grants to help provide services, in the way of rural loadings for billings and services, have been helpful.
    The changing of the Government assessment of Tamborine Mountain under the new Monash Model is a real concern. As of mid next year Tamborine Mountain will no longer be considered rural, but urban (referred to as MMM1), same as Southport or central Brisbane. We will lose the rural grants which have enabled us to provide the service we have been providing at the same level. The local surgery will also have less choice regarding training of registrars and maintaining a good supply of doctors, as currently it can support overseas trained doctors who are committed to work in rural areas for 10 years. The current GP trainees are also on a rural pathway, so this will change the nature of the trainees who would be then wanting to be suburban GP’s rather than rural.
    The rating probably can’t be changed, but each service affected by it can apply for an exemption. That should happen soon.
  • The aged care facility as well as overall medical services should be increased to be able to meet with the needs that will arise by 2030; encourage and incentivize development of further aged care facilities on the mountain. It is important to keep families on the mountain. The facility could potentially be a community owned business

Sport

The mountain has sufficient sport grounds, but improvements are possible:

  • Stage 2 of the Sportground needs to be implemented. The sport grounds need to be better used, with festivals, the future observatory (?), cultural activities and for instance a playground.
  • Larger public pool, heated, all year round usage, with water-slide; alternatively, the current pool needs upgrading. Also evening openings for people who like a swim at night.

Library

The library should be larger, and equipped with modern data / meeting/function room facilities; the former IGA would be a good location.

Fire risk

We need risk assessment of bush fires, especially in times of very limited rainfall. The assessment needs to be published widely in the community

For locals and visitors

The local economy relies on local residents (retail, services) and visitors (tourism). A plan for development of this local economy does not exist, but is needed. Local government and business community should define plans for defining the future prospect of the mountain’s economy: size, quality etc. Also, to maintain a rural atmosphere, establishment of retail chains like McDonald, or even big supermarkets, could ruin the character of the mountain.

Art and culture are important in the total mix of activities for (and by) locals and visitors. A policy should be developed.

Local economy: vision

  • A economic vision needs to be written that includes targets on jobs, and includes hard facts and data like tourism numbers and tourism accommodation. Ideas for future development should be based on data and facts, more than emotions; the local economy includes much more than tourism and that should be reflected in this vision. Future job growth will be in skilled service industries and lifestyle property. The focus should be to make better what we’ve got, instead of creating new precincts/features. The local economy should benefit much more than currently from visitors to the mountain.
  • Development of festivals and other events should be based on needs and be embedded in this vision. Examples are the Screcrow-festival, Xmas in July street decorations, springtime on the mountain festival, artisan fair, open studio trails.
  • With the mountain having its own Local Tourism Organisation it is necessary for local government to take that industry seriously, and put many more managerial and financial resources to support that industry much better, and in a sustainable way. The vision should also define a position on AirBnB, camping and glamping facilties, an RV park, the wedding industry etc. If ‘serving people’ becomes part of the identity, then people with interest and skills will move here to provide these services. Yoga retreats, camps for children with disabilities, camps for parents with children with disabilities, nature retreats, camping parks with activities to enjoy and learn about nature. Open farms for teaching farming skills. Camps for adults or families who want to camp, but have no experience in doing it. The best way forward is to further develop existing facilities, like the Beacon Road precinct and Thunderbird Park.

Art and culture

Tamborine Mountain is home to a large community of amateur and professional artists. The services offered to this industry are minimal. The Heritage Centre, Zamia Theatre and Community Centre is all there is in public space.

  • Tamborine Mountain deserves a community arts and interpretive centre to display and sell local art, books etc and to display information about TM with an educational emphasis on local biodiversity. The current library could be converted into a local artists’ gallery space run by TMAC if the Library moves to the former IGA; TMAC needs its own space, with storage space, meeting room and public viewing. Another option might be  space at the Showgrounds or the Sportgrounds. The Center should allow locals to display their works. Emerging artist and workshops should define the centre. Maybe it should be combined with either the rainforest centre and/or the observatory. Alternatively, local artists and an entrepreneur might find a way to work together business-wise to run a place like this.
  • Local art should be used for display and sales at local shops. The former Open Studios Trail could be included in co-operation between artists and businesses as well.
  • An annual festival organised by TMAC at Main Street, three days in May, called Mace; first time 2019.
  • The current zoning MMM1, under the Monash Model, needs either to change to rural, or the burden this classification brings to health care and art funding needs to be compensated by Council. Being the only MMM1 zoned region in the Scenic Rim means lower chances of accessing certain state grants for art.
  • Expansion of public art, like works of art all over the mountain, carving of bower birds, pademelons, carpet snakes in different timbers, as well as avocado, Rhubarb, Kiwi fruit, reflecting what is on the mountain in art-form. Camphor laurels should be used for carvings, to be replaced by indigenous habitat .

Observatory

In 2017 an initiative was taken by the community to rebuild the former Tamborine Mountain Arthur Page Observatory. This precinct for use by locals and visitors deserves support by local government.

Local government

The ideas of the community about their own future will only become reality if and when the local government, which reigns over Tamborine Mountain, is supportive.

Local government and community

Local government Councillors, as well as the Council at large, is working for the community, not the other way around. The relationship between Tamborine Mountain and the local Council has been sub-optimal for a long time. Suggestions for improvement include:

  • A certain level of “Divisional Autonomy” should be applied to strengthen the voice (and vote) of a local councillor about policy-decisions in his/her division, if residents in other divisions are not negatively impacted and if decisions invoked do not set a “Precedent. Consideration should be given to make this part of the “Rules of Conduct” of Councillors.
  • It might be a national, or even global, trend, but that doesn’t make it right: governments using ‘community consultation’ mainly as a form of ‘informing the community’. ‘Consultation’ is a marketing exercise, instead of a dialogue. Our local government should consult with the community at a moment that outcomes of the dialogue can easily be included in policy proposals. “Consultative surveys” could be part of the process; Council meetings should be open (privacy of individuals can be respected and hidden when necessary); Council’s right to spend up to $100,000 without explanation and public support should be challenged.
  • Members of the community need to be willing to rethink and reshape the boundaries we all have, particularly in imaging the future. Another example of rethinking boundaries is why do we need to align ourselves with neighbouring towns: why not towns with similar dreams – such as Montville, Maleny, Stanthorpe come to mind. Why let the government define us by putting us in a group. We should form our own governing group of like-minded people.
  • The choice for local government should be with the people of the community.
  • It could be important for marketing purposes to be part of the Scenic Rim: it gives a good image.  Other submission states that the mountain would be better off as part of the Gold Coast for many reasons, including marketing.

Rates

With 1% of the land size and 19% of the population, Tamborine Mountain contributes 24% of the rates to the Scenic Rim Council. The perception is that this contribution is not reflected in returns. Local residents also are puzzled why the rates at the neighbouring shire of the Gold Coast are roughly half of the TM rates. And every mountain property is being gouged of the order of $800 to $1000 a year in rates more than the towns of Beaudesert or Boonah. Nevertheless, our vision is well balanced:

  • It is not reasonable to expect a return of 24% in investments from the Council, even if 24% of the rates is contributed. The system works in a different way: wealthier people contribute more to Medicare, wealthier communities contribute more to Council budgets. Therefore it is important to define what is reasonable to expect from ‘invested’ rates: it will be more than now. Why do we pay an extra local government tax called “infrastructure charge” for which we have no idea what it truly pays for? Public facilities and infrastructure are worse if compared to others in Scenic Rim.
  • The financial inequity of rates on the Mountain must be considered, as well as the inability of council to exist without our revenue. If TM would join another shire council, the Scenic Rim would not survive: alternatives need to be defined.
  • The Differential Rating mechanism needs to be re-implemented, in order to ensure that we receive Services with relatively identical price tags as extended to other parts of the region.
  • Council should implement the ‘Equity-principle’: the intentional commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect and civility, and ongoing action and assessment of progress towards achieving specified goals.
  • Pensioners should be given a rate discount (as allegedly other councils do as well). The current $ 200 pensioner discount is funded and administered by the State Government.
  • Lowering rates requires – according to the council – a larger rate payers base. So, maybe the shire is too small to survive?

[1]  Count of visitor numbers Tamborine Mountain 2017 by TM Chamber of Commerce; data supported by Earth Check consultants, a business advising the SRRC about tourism strategy.

[2] http://www.nabropure.com.au/en/pages/locations

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/jul/09/australian-bottled-water-ban 

* The Team currently includes Bob Minneken, Peter Rea, Richard and Cheryl Wistow, Gordon Chalmers, Jenny Peat, Alison Rip, Hilary Furlong and Jaap Vogel. Hillel Weintraub and Howard Stephens have volunteered to be included as well.