Messages from the Mayor | Redland City Council

Messages from the Mayor

A message from Redland City Mayor, Karen Williams is published quarterly in Our Redlands Coast magazine and in the Mayor’s quarterly newsletter.

View the latest message from the Mayor below. 

Karen Williams

Mayor Karen Williams

Phone: (07) 3829 8623
Mobile: 0416 123 588


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Mayor’s message - Summer 2021 (Special Edition)

On the western edge of our city is a significant area of land that is steeped in history.

Framed by Tingalpa Creek on one side and Old Cleveland Road East on the other, the precinct includes the 61ha former Commonwealth land at Birkdale, which boasts important military history including a decommissioned US Army receiving station that is believed to have received the first message that the Japanese had surrendered, marking the end of WWII.

Along with its rich Quandamooka heritage, the military history of the property has helped forge our local, national and global identities and has created a deal of excitement in the community.

On the neighbouring property is the 153-year-old heritage-listed Willards Farm, which is a great example of early farming and agricultural life with the original farmstead and dairy providing a glimpse into our region’s farming and agricultural past.

These properties hold so many memories for residents, including my own family. It was just down the road that my parents first made a home after emigrating from Eastern Europe in search of a better life.

They lived in what my mother described as a “humpy”, a very basic hut with no frills but with plenty of opportunity for my two older brothers to explore these neighbouring properties. Growing up, I heard many stories of my brothers exploring the land, often getting up to no good. Like the time my eldest brother tied a rope around his younger brother’s waist and threw him into Tingalpa Creek to teach him to swim. And then there are their tales of their visits to the Cotton’s farm (previous owners of Willards Farm) to play on the property and watch TV, as we didn’t have one in our house.

I have heard so many amazing stories of these properties and it is this rich and deep history that prompted Council to work so tirelessly to save them from being turned into another housing estate.

In 2016 we bought Willards Farm on the eve of its demolition for houses and, since then, we have undertaken a number of studies to better understand its rich agricultural history. In 2019, after almost a decade of lobbying the Federal Government, we finally acquired the Birkdale Commonwealth land for the community. This property had been included in a Federal Budget document as a potential housing estate, prompting me to advocate strongly to the Prime Minister and successive Ministers to save it, including presenting Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a petition on behalf of the community when he visited Redlands Coast.

We have an exciting opportunity to create something very special at Birkdale Community Precinct, with Council continuing to try to secure other land in the vicinity which has the potential to increase the precinct size. As part of Council’s strategic precinct planning approach, we will use your ideas and feedback to develop a draft vision for the property. It's rich history and proximity to Tingalpa Creek, other key projects such as the revitalisation of the Capalaba City Centre and its location on the border with Brisbane, provide a great deal of potential.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a real legacy for our community and I want you to be part of it. To assist, Council has identified five key themes that may form the basis of how the land is used in the future – Education & discovery; Agricultural & rural tradition; Heritage & history; Environment & ecology; and Adventure & recreation. You will find out more about these is this edition.

Years from now other Redlands Coast families will share stories of their connection with this land and you have a chance to help write those stories. In the meantime, the naming of Brisbane as the preferred host for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games has the protential to be another game-changer for Redlands Coast.

There is still much to play out here but bringing the Games to South-East Queensland would be a catalyst for vital transport and other infrastructure upgrades that we need. This would open up Redlands Coast's significant tourism and business potential while accelerating the provision of improved transport links for residents.

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