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Communication is key for new SRG

20 Nov 2012

Communication is key for new SRG Image

The Southbank Residents Group has officially undergone a changing of the guard, after a new president and vice-president were elected at last month’s annual general meeting.

New president Michael Smolders is a relative newcomer to Southbank, but is now in love with the area, while new vice-president Barry Janes has lived here for several years.

Living in Freshwater Place has exposed Mr Smolders to the politics and protests of the controversial Queensbridge Tower and he said he had caught the bug and was passionate about ensuring Southbank residents got a fair go in all future decisions in the suburb.

He said he was well aware of Southbank capital city zoning and was certainly not against development. He said he just wanted residents to be able to have a say in the process.

“We want to see more engagement with the state, we’d like to see more consultation before the minister approves C171,” Mr Smolders said.

He said there had been times when planning decisions were made without consulting residents and knew how important it was that residents were across issues that would affect their living arrangements.

“The only aspect of the DPCD’s (Department of Planning, Community and Development) name it takes any notice of is the D – Development. It seems to be to the exclusion of how anything else needs to be done,” he said.

“For me, what we want to influence comes down to two words – town planning. Whether it be developments, sites for schools, a larger supermarket or improved public transport, it’s all about town planning.”

He said the group would also endeavour to connect with owners corporations from all buildings to canvas the major issues facing Southbank, to ensure it was representing the wider Southbank community.

Mr Janes said both he and Mr Smolders brought skills to the group which would help communicate residents’ needs to the appropriate authorities.

“Our strength is having the capacity to communicate our views to the State Government, opposition and local governments,” Mr Janes said.

“We will be reactive to any resident’s concerns. We really want to build the numbers of the SRG and the best way to do that is by showing progress and that we get the job done,” he added.

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