The attached email was obtained via a right to information request which requested Moreton Bay Regional Council provide copies of its communications about any proposed North Lakes Golf Course development.
The attached email I believe represents Council setting up a meeting between key planning decision makers for an urban planning consultant and a developer who had donated to Moreton Futures Trust at the 2016 Council Elections.
I question why was this meeting taking place?
The subject of the meeting was to be a project at North Lakes.
This proposed meeting was to be with;
The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, the Divisions Councillor, Director of Planning, Manager of Planning Services and a Council employee the strategy officer?
For the developer;
The developer, the developers’ urban planning consultant and the developers’ PR company?
What makes this more interesting is that the divisions Councillor is Cr Greer an invitee to the meeting happens to live right near the proposed development site…..therefore she has a material personal interest because of that.
Cr Greer also has a conflict of interest because she benefited from Moreton Futures Trust (MFT) donations at the last election…….the developer had donated to MFT.
Later Cr Greer receives advice from the Office of Integrity Commissioner confirming both of those interests.
Even more interesting is that the Mayor had also received the benefit of MFT campaign donations made by the developer via various companies …..later he declares a conflict of interest confirming that
So why then one month before the project becomes public is this meeting being setup when the perception of these conflicts of interest should have been apparent?
The Councillors had obvious conflicts of interest with being in the same room as the developer who donated to their election campaigns?
Why put the Councillors, developer donor, the developers Urban Planner, developers PR and Councils key planning decision makers in the same room to discuss this project?
New laws for Councillors who have conflict of interests have already come into effect prior to the planning for this meeting.
Those laws are about not influencing fellow Councillors or Council employees who might be decision makers.
So who would know why then a meeting is being setup with the Director of Planning and The Manager for Planning Services who will eventually be responsible for assessing any development application that might result…..wouldn’t they be influenced by it?
About one month after the planned meeting no development application has been lodged but a letter box drop flyer to residents informs them that the developer and the golf club have a new project……it’s a retirement village.
Community wide outrage ensues…..the project if approved will result in the golf club closing and a retirement village being built in its place.
I recall Council stating via its Planning Spokesperson that they knew nothing about the detail of the proposed project and they were taken by surprise……
It’s ironic that Cr Greer who has a material personal interest and a conflict of interest in the project would later be prevented from publicly speaking about the development but at that time didn’t seem to preclude her from being invited to this meeting to talk to the developer.
There are a formal processes for pre-lodgement meetings that can be requested between a developer and Council……but it’s my understanding that Council has confirmed that none of those formal and minuted meetings have ever taken place about this project to date.
It’s evident that Council employees had previous involvement and dealings with a proposed development of the North Lakes Golf Course going back a number of years whilst employed by Council and prior to this emailed proposed meeting.
The above opinion stated is my own personal opinion and is based upon the attached email obtained via right to information.