New Brisbane marina could be on the cards

April 8, 2015 – 12:00AM

Kristian Silva

Brisbane Times journalist

Brisbane City Council wants to see more small watercraft using the Brisbane River.

Brisbane City Council wants to see more small watercraft using the Brisbane River. Photo: Glenn Hunt

A new marina could be built at Newstead after developers submitted concept plans to boost activity on the Brisbane River.

It comes months after the Brisbane City Council said it wanted to emulate the boating cultures of Sydney and Auckland by increasing marinas, jetties and other mixed-use developments between Yeronga and Hamilton.

In January the council said there was a shortage of docking locations and it was keen to see more tinnies, boats and yachts on the Brisbane River.

Fairfax Media understands Mirvac has submitted a joint expression of interest to build a marina at Newstead Riverpark that would see powerlines that cross over to Bulimba shifted under the river.

Mirvac has been approached for comment.

Brisbane City Council confirmed it received 10 expressions of interest by its March 25 deadline and they were being assessed by council officers.

However the council would not provide any proposal details or locations, with a spokesman saying the information was “commercial in confidence”.

Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner said more information would likely be made available to the public by the middle of the year.

“We’re keen to make information available as soon as we can but we’re also respecting the fact that the proponents’ intellectual property is a very valuable thing,” he said.

“It’s not clear whether these proposals would require a financial contribution from council. Some may be self-funding and others may require council to put in money.”

Council Opposition Leader Milton Dick said there was nothing commercially sensitive about basic proposal details or information about potential development sites.

“I would certainly want to tell the public what the ideas were in the first instance,” he said.

“Secondly, I’d want to seek feedback by anyone potentially affected by a proposal even if it’s in the draft stage.

“Commuters, businesses who operate on the river and the increasing number of people who choose to invest and live along the river need to know what council has in store.”

 

The Brisbane Times

Tolls waived for New Year revellers

December 29, 2014 – 10:57AM

Tony Moore

Parking arrangements for inner suburbs will change on January 1.

Parking arrangements for inner suburbs will change on January 1. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Tolls will be waived on the Go Between Bridge on New Year’s Eve to make it easier for motorists to look for parking spots close to South Bank and “see in 2015”.

Public transport will also be free from 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve until early New Year’s Day, acting lord mayor Cr Adrian Schrinner said Monday morning.

New Years Eve is Wednesday.

“We want to encourage people to come into South Bank and make the most of this great celebration, so Council is waiving the tolls on the Go Between Bridge from 6pm Wednesday until 2am on Thursday,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Public transport will also be a convenient option to travel to South Bank.  All public transport will be free of charge from 9pm on New Year’s Eve until 5.30am on New Year’s morning,” he said.

South Bank Parklands will host two fireworks shows on New Year’s Eve; the first at 8.30pm and the second at midnight, welcoming in 2015.

For the sixth-year, Skylighter Fireworks is in charge of the fireworks extravaganza, which will pump out the light show from three barges between the Victoria and Goodwill bridges and from three building rooftops in the city heart opposite South Bank.

Skylighter’s Max Brunner said he had added several new features this year to triple the impact of the 40,000 fireworks effects from the 10 tonnes of fireworks to go up in smoke.

“The new aquatic pyrotechnics are able to shoot both upstream and downstream, which will make it look like there are nine barges, not three,” Mr Brunner said.

If you thought you had put Pharrell’s song “Happy” onto the backburner, think again.

“We’ve collaborated on a soundtrack that will feature tracks like Pharrell’s Happy as smiley faces litter the sky,” Max Brunner said.

“And we’ll have silver strobing to represent diamonds in the sky as Rihanna’s song Diamonds is playing.”

New parking arrangements

New Years Day means the new 15-minute free parking in the suburbs around the inner-city that were announced last month come into effect.

From January 1, 2015, shoppers can park free for 15 minutes in 7715 parking meters in Auchenflower, Milton, Petrie Terrace, Kelvin Grove, Spring Hill, West End, South Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Fortitude Valley, Teneriffe and Newstead.

The on-street parking bays that can be used for the free 15-minute parking were clearly signed at each meter, Cr Schrinner said.

To use the free 15-minute parking, motorists enter their vehicle registration number into the parking meters as normal.

Motorists then choose the “free under 15-minutes” option.

At King George Square and Wickham Terrace car parks, customers enter the car park, take a ticket at the boom gate as per usual and exit within 15 minutes using their ticket.

The scheme is not a “first 15 minutes free’ scheme, Cr Schrinner said.

People who want to stay longer than 15 minutes must pay for their full parking time, he said.

“They should enter their registration details into the meter, select the length of time they wish to park for within the time limit allowed and pay for the total length of their stay as they normally would,” he said.

There is also free 15 minute parking in the two car parks in Brisbane’s CBD owned by Brisbane City Council; King George Square and Wickham Terrace.

In King George Square parking station 500 parking bays have been set aside for free 15 minute parking and at Wickham Terrace 640 bays will provide the free parking.

The “free parking” will cost Brisbane City Council around $2 million this year.

Also from Thursday, the disability passenger pick-up and drop-off zone time limits will be extended from two minutes to five minutes.

This story explains the main recommendations from the Parking Taskforce announced early in December.

 

 

Source : The Brisbane Times

Mozzies take over Brisbane

December 30, 2014 – 7:58AM

Amy Remeikis

Queensland state political reporter

Recent rain has provided a boon for midges and mosquitoes.

Recent rain has provided a boon for midges and mosquitoes.

Mozzies, mozzies everywhere and so much blood to drink.

The recent and ongoing rainfalls have provided a boon for midges and mosquitoes alike. Puddles barely have a chance to dry out before they are reformed and bloodsuckers are taking full advantage.

With many still without windows due to last month’s storm, mosquito nets have sold out in many Brisbane retailers. Ross River virus, most prevalent between February and May and Barmah Forest virus, of which Queensland usually racks up 400 cases annually, remain the major concerns.

Brisbane City Council has responded by carrying out large scale helicopter aerial sprays on December 23 and December 24, following the recent wet weather. The spray used targets larvae, not adult mosquitoes, so as not harm other wildlife.

“The ground-based treatment program operates all year round and targets mosquito breeding on public land – e.g. roadside drains, parks and reserves,” a spokeswoman said.

“Council continues to monitor approximately 3000 known breeding sites and implement both aerial and ground-based spraying programs as required.”

Adult mosquitoes live for up to two weeks – unless they fall victim to a slap fest – and common variety females can lay up to 200 eggs.

Residents are advised to clear anywhere which could be filled with water, such as pot plant bases after a few days, tyres and cover boats and canoes.  Avoid heading outside at dawn or dusk, unless you are armed with repellent, or an especially quick slap action.

 

Source : The Brisbane Times

Historic Shorncliffe Pier replacement begins today

November 26, 2014 – 12:00AM

Tony Moore

Dusk at the old Shorncliffe Pier.

Dusk at the old Shorncliffe Pier.

After being closed to the public since March 2012, Brisbane City Council will this morning begin replacing the historic 130-year-old Shorncliffe Pier.

The Shorncliffe Pier was built in 1882 and opened in 1884 and strides out 350 metres into Bramble Bay from the Sandgate/Shorncliffe shoreline.

It fell into disrepair and was closed by Brisbane City Council in March 2012, while the construction and engineering teams could assess whether the damage from marine borers it could be repaired.

Locals at Shorncliffe Pier during cyclonic conditions.

Locals at Shorncliffe Pier during cyclonic conditions. Photo: Michelle Smith

At the last Council elections Lord Mayor Graham Quirk promised $20 million to rebuild the pier.

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The work begins Wednesday morning.

“Shorncliffe Pier has been closed since March 2012, when inspections revealed it was in extremely poor condition with its timber substructure significantly affected by marine borers,” Cr Quirk said.

“I committed $20 million to the pier renewal project and am now delivering on this promise,” he said.

Cr Quirk said the new pier would be the same length, but will be built on concrete and steel piles.

“The rebuilt pier will be the same width and length as the original 350-metre long structure,” Cr Quirk said.

“But it will have a larger rotunda and ‘hammerhead’ at the end of the pier, to increase the recreation space,” he said.

“And it will have timber joints, timber decking, handrails and rotunda to retain the same look and feel as the original pier.”

The first phase of the work will be dismantling the old pier using a crane and that work will take around 12 weeks, Cr Quirk said.

The new pier will emerge from Bramble Bay early in 2015.

“A crane will drive steel pile liners into the bed of Bramble Bay, after which an excavator will drill out the core of these liners and the holes will be filled with concrete,” Cr Quirk said.

“Once the piles are strong enough, the crane will lift on the headstock and girders and the carpenters will add the timber decking and handrails.

Cr Quirk said Shorncliffe’s new pier should be re-opened in early 2016.

“I look forward to returning this historically significant piece of infrastructure to the community.”

Some of the old timber from the decking will be recycled.

Brisbane City Council’s Field Services chairman Councillor David McLachlan – who oversees Council’s recycling efforts – said some timber from the original pier would be recycled into the new pier.

Other re-salvaged timber from the original pier will go to local groups for special projects, he said.

“I think it is fitting that we repurpose timber from the original structure for use on the new pier and within the local community to ensure its legacy can endure,” Cr McLachlan said.

People and community groups interested in using some of the older timbers can contact the  Shorncliffe Pier Renewal Team by emailing cityprojects@brisbane.qld.gov.au or telephoning 1800 669 416.

About 15 car parks will be used during the construction stage and the entrance to their pier at Moora Park will become a construction site.

The existing pier was originally 260 metres long but this extended by another 91.5 m to allow ferries to dock at low tide. A small toll was collected at the entry to the pier.

The Shorncliffe Pier was repainted in 2000 and went through a major renovation in 2008.

In 2011 it was used in an English TV commercial and given a temporary makeover.

 

Source : The Brisbane Times

Buildings taller, lots smaller in new City Plan

May 29, 2014 – 11:31PM

Kim Stephens

Journalist

Brisbane City Council’s blueprint for future development, City Plan 2014, has been given the State Government green light, just as a CSIRO expert outlined how the city’s evolution is likely to occur.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced yesterday that City Plan 2014 will come into effect on July 1.

Key changes from the current city plan will enable a building height of 9.5 metres across the city, up from 8.5 metres, as well as 300 metre lots within 200 metres of 150 targeted urban centres, a measure to accommodate growth while containing sprawl.

The announcement came just as CSIRO researcher Stefan Hajkowicz delivered his Future Brisbane speech to the Brisbane Development Association, which outlined how global growth trends are likely to impact the city’s development until 2040.

Key among the requirements for population health, Dr Hajkowicz said, were urban centres such as those in the new City Plan that would facilitate greater incidental exercise.

“My hope is we see a more active population in the future, the majority of car trips in Brisbane are only very short and easily walkable and cycleable.

“If we are smart we will go down a way of living that gets us walking or running or riding to a greater extent, if we don’t get more physically active, the writing is on the wall.”

The new City Plan, debated over four days by Brisbane City Council in February, also plans for an additional 50 highrises in the CBD.

Interestingly, Dr Hajkowicz said despite the rapid growth of information technology and the ease with which it makes working remotely possible, city centres will become more important in the future, not less.

“We believe the city centre will get more important, we’ll go to these places for social interaction,” he said.

“They will have the feel good factor, physical spaces in the future will deliver the experience package.”

In addition, he said, despite one of the major concerns expressed about the new City Plan being the potential loss of Brisbane’s big backyard, families will increasingly shun large homes in outlying suburbs.

“I think we’ll see movement towards the city centre and aren’t willing to commute and there will be an emergence in growth for apartments for families,” he said.

“The need to have a lawn and big bedrooms, etcetera, will be increasingly be given away.

“A lot will be the same but  technology has allowed us to focus on the lifestyle aspects of being in the city.

“I think it will be a much more fun city with an urban design that makes people want to be in that space.”

Cr Quirk said City Plan 2014 was a collaborative effort involving the council, residents, community, environment, heritage groups and industry over the last three years.

“The new City Plan will give Brisbane a strategic framework to guide future development until 2031,” Cr Quirk said.

“This planning will provide clear advice about land use and infrastructure, giving a long term vision for our city to manage investment and growth to 2031 and beyond.”

Opposition Leader Milton Dick said despite the plan being hailed by planning experts as a conservative one, he remained concerned it favoured developers over residents.

“This is nothing more than a rubber stamp by the LNP state government approving the developer’s wishlist, it’s a tick and flick for developers,” he said.

Key changes to the new City Plan

Small lots: The requirements for small lots of 300 square metres have been revised in the low density residential zone, with sites now having to be within 200 metres from a centre zone that is larger than 2000 square metres.  This will boost housing options in appropriate suburban areas.

Building Heights: The maximum building height for a house that does not require a development application is 9.5 metres. This is designed to allow for improved flood immunity and more flexibility to accommodate climate sensitive house designs.  Low density residential and Character residential zones must still only be two storeys.

Protection of pre-1911 buildings: These buildings within high and medium density residential, industrial and centre zones now have the option of relocating the building to a site legally secured within the traditional building character overlay, where the building is not practical to maintain on the current site.

Parking Ratios: Reduced visitor parking for multiple dwellings. Maintained or increased resident parking rates for two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, and decreased resident parking rates for 1 bedroom units in areas within 400m walking distance of a transport interchange.

Source : The Brisbane Times

Brisbane’s Riverwalk opening remains a mystery

May 23, 2014 – 6:04PM

Kim Stephens

Journalist

Brisbane City Council will not reveal when its new and improved Riverwalk will open, despite the project nearing completion.

The city’s inner north pedestrian community is eagerly awaiting the opening of the 900 metre path connecting New Farm Park and Howard Smith Wharves, more than three years after its floating predecessor washed away in the 2011 floods.

In February, deputy mayor Adrian Schrinner said the new $72 million pathway was on track for a mid year opening but council is remaining quiet on the intended opening date.

Brisbane's inner city Riverwalk starts to take shape before its reopening.

Brisbane’s inner city Riverwalk starts to take shape before its reopening. Photo: Scott Beveridge

Brisbane CBD bicycle users group co-convenor Paul French said cyclist numbers in the inner north suburbs of Teneriffe, New Farm and Fortitude Valley had plummeted following the destruction of the original path.

Figures compiled by the council support his observations.

“It’s been a massive hit on cycling levels and also people walking to the city so there’s a lot of anticipation of the reopening of that very important infrastructure,” he said.

“People just flat out stopped cycling and put the bike back in the garage.

“To think people are driving to the city from New Farm when it should be an easy cycle ride.”

Mr French said about 40 members of his cycling group were given a project briefing before it commenced.

“Overwhelmingly, people were super impressed with what was going to be delivered, it is certainly going to be a major improvement on what was there before,” he said.

“I live south of the river and I’ll still be one of the first people on it, I reckon.

“We love giving positive feedback where we can and we would want to put out a positive media statement congratulating council on its work.”

The original, floating Riverwalk lasted just seven years following its 2003 construction but it quickly became a highly utilised piece of city infrastructure.

In February, Cr Schrinner said the path carried an average of 3000 pedestrians and cyclists between New Farm and the CBD each day.

He said it was expected the new structure would be used by even more commuters.

The project has been funded with a combined State and Federal Government contribution of $72 million in flood recovery cash.

Source : The Brisbane Times

Bridge crew have a hot Story to tell

January 5, 2014 – 12:01AM

Cameron Atfield

Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist

Brisbane City Council workers brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago.

Brisbane City Council workers brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago. Photo: Michelle Smith

As most of Brisbane did its best to remain cool on Saturday, 100 hardy workers were busy sweating through one of the city’s toughest jobs.

With the temperature close to 40 degrees, they toiled in the hot sun sealing and resurfacing the Story Bridge – all within sight of one of Brisbane’s favourite watering holes.

Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the $1 million project was tough for the workers, but necessary as the Story Bridge must be resurfaced every 20 years.

Brisbane City Council workers brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago.

Brisbane City Council workers brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago.Photo: Michelle Smith

The last closure for such work was in 1994.

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“I really feel for the workers up there on the bridge working in the hottest January in 70 years,” he said.

“We’ve taken precautions – we’ve made sure all the workers are wearing appropriate protection and there’s also plenty of access to cool drinks and they can come down for a break every now and then in the airconditioning.

Brisbane City Council workers, including profiler Colin Callaghan keeping hydrated with water, brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago.

Brisbane City Council workers, including profiler Colin Callaghan keeping hydrated with water, brave hot temperatures on the weekend to resurface the road on the Story Bridge. The bridge was last resurfaced 20 years ago. Photo: Michelle Smith

“But I certainly feel for them and I thank them for the work that they’re doing.”

In addition to the road resurfacing, new lane markings – including directional arrows on the roads and cats eyes – were being added to the Bradfield Highway on the bridge.

Several lights were also being replaced.

The bridge closed at midnight Friday and will be reopened early Monday morning.

Cr Schrinner said the project showed how the closure of just on river crossing can have a massive effect on the entire road network.

“This is one of the busiest river crossings in our city that normally carries around 100,000 vehicles a day, so we’ve taken the opportunity during the quietest period of the year to resurface the bridge,” he said.

“This has been around six months in planning.”

The Go Between Bridge and the Clem7 tunnel were both made toll-free during the work.

Cr Schrinner said despite the scorching heat, the work could not be rescheduled.

“It’s just unfortunate that on the date we’d planned six months in advance, it happened to be two of the hottest days on record,” he said.

“We can’t reschedule it because of the traffic demands on this bridge. We need to use this quiet time over the new year period because at other times the impact on traffic would just be prohibitive.”

Making matters worse for the workers was the constant sight of the Story Bridge Hotel, which was almost within spitting distance.

“They’re encouraged to have a drink after their shift and I am sure many of them will take the opportunity,” Cr Schrinner said.

But the bridge workers took it all in their stride.

“It’s beautiful weather – couldn’t ask for better,” truck driver Lawrence Repia said.

Road profiler Colin Callaghan managed to find some shade beneath the bridge’s iron support beams.

“It’s pretty hot, but you’ve got to get on with it,” he said.

The Brisbane Times

Brisbane traffic system at risk of cyber attack

November 22, 2013

Kim Stephens

Journalist

A hacker using a laptop.

A hacker using a laptop. Photo: Paul Johnston

Chaos could ensue on Brisbane roads at next year’s G20 summit, an audit of Brisbane’s traffic management systems has revealed.

An alarmingly high susceptibility to hacking of road systems operated by both Brisbane City Council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads has emerged in a report by the Queensland Audit Office tabled in parliament this week.

“The systems to manage traffic critical infrastructure in the Brisbane area were demonstrably not as secure as they should have been, and they were susceptible to targeted attacks,” the report concluded.

“Our ability to successfully penetrate some components of the system meant the risk of unauthorised access was unacceptably high at that time.”

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The report found the susceptibility of the system lies largely in its use of common information technologies and connection to the internet.

“This reliance increases the threat of security breaches and malicious damage,” the report reads.

The audit examined the security, continuity and cost effectiveness of the systems and recommended that both council and the transport department develop security plans for the intelligent transport systems environment and implement comprehensive staff security awareness programs.

“Traffic systems had not been adequately secured to withstand targeted physical and software based attacks,” the report reads.

It also recommended a migration to single, intelligent transport system.

In response to the audit, transport department director-general Neil Scales said in a letter to auditor-general Andrew Greaves, steps had already been taken to address the problems identified.

“I am pleased to advise that TMR has commenced a traffic systems improvement plan which has prioritised actions to address the issues raised throughout the conduct of the audit,” he said.

“I am confident that when this program of works is completed, our risk exposure will be at acceptable levels.”

Brisbane City Council chief executive officer Colin Jensen said City Hall had also taken measures to address the key recommendations but was concerned about the cost involved in implementing a single ITS platform.

“While council acknowledges the aspirations of a single ITS platform for Queensland, given council’s previous experience and successful use of the Sydney Co-ordinated Adaptive Traffic System, council does not believe the analysis presented in the report is sufficiently robust to justify any conclusions that a single ITS would be more beneficial or offer financial or economic advantages,” he said.

The Brisbane Times

Brisbane City Council borrows to overcome rates shortfall

 

Brisbane City Council has borrowed $450 million in 2½ years to fund bread and butter services that would normally be covered by rate revenue.

General purpose expenditure funds services such as local road and footpath upgrades, libraries and sporting facilities as well as accessibility programs.

Council budget documents show that general purpose borrowings have grown consistently every quarter since March 2011, jumping from $247 million to $682 million in September 2013.

“Why has debt increased so much to fund these smaller projects?,” ALP opposition councillor and council finance committee member Kim Flesser asked this week.

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“It’s quite normal for council to borrow money for infrastructure projects and general borrowings, you can expect to borrow about 50 or 60 million a year, about the same amount council repays.

“It looks like the toll roads are causing such a hit on council’s finances the council administration are relying more and more on general purpose borrowing from year to year.”

Finance committee chairman Julian Simmonds said the LNP administration had debt-financed some important infrastructure projects like Legacy Way in order to keep Brisbane moving.

“We are also delivering key upgrades to our city’s libraries, pools, sporting facilities, entertainment venues to improve these facilities for our residents,” he said.

“All of this is in black and white in our budget every year. We make no secret of the fact that we are investing in our city’s future infrastructure.”

However, Cr Flesser said finance committee chairman Julian Simmonds had been unable to say exactly what projects the general purpose borrowings had funded.

“There needs to be more of an explanation as to why they have increased by so much over 2½ years, what it has been spent on, what these projects are,” he said.

“In the past council used to be able to fund these projects out of ratepayer dollars.”

Cr Simmonds said total council debt had been forecast to peak in the 2014-15 financial year, but would be significantly reduced after federal funding for the Legacy Way toll tunnel is received.

“What Labor opposition councillors fail to understand is that council will receive $400 million worth of funding from federal government for Legacy Way upon the project’s completion which will significantly reduce our debt levels as published in the budget,” he said.

Brisbane Times

Indooroopilly mine records high lead levels

October 4, 2013 – 12:01AM

Tony Moore

brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

The Indooroopilly silver-lead mine, circa 1924.

The Indooroopilly silver-lead mine, circa 1924. Photo: John Oxley Library

Lead from old mine tailings at levels at 10 times industry standards has contaminated land at Indooroopilly.

The former mine, which was used as a teaching and research tool by the University of Queensland, is surrounded by residential properties.

Brisbane City Council has been informed of the lead contamination on the site, as have nearby residents on Isles Road.

The site was a silver and lead mine between 1919 and 1929.

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Lead is common in household activities, but can have serious health implications in large doses if swallowed or breathed in, because it builds up in the body.

“Lead can affect children by causing learning and attention problems, hearing loss, slowed growth, and bad behaviour,” a Lead Safe Queensland Health document says.

“Lead can affect pregnant women and pass through the mother’s body and harm the unborn baby.”

UQ believes the lead came from old mine workings from the original mine.

The tests reveal six sites are contaminated with lead and UQ last week formally advised the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Lead levels should be below 1500 milligrams per kilogram at industrial sites and at 600 for recreational use, according to test results.

The results show several test sites at 17,300, at 16,100, at 14,100, and at 12,400 milligrams per kilogram.

In one stream sediment study, the lead is also 10 times the industry safety level.

“The soil testing has confirmed some areas of lead contamination believed to stem from historic workings at the site, which operated as a lead and silver mine between 1919 and 1929,” UQ property and facilities director Alan Egan confirmed in a statement.

UQ could be asked to evacuate all staff, to fence off portions of the site, or to cover portions of the site with trees by the state government.

It could also be asked to bitumen large parts of the site.

There are 130 staff and 30 students work at the experimental mine, which was bought by the UQ in 1967.

“This contamination appears to be historical, pre-dating the University’s connection to the site,” Mr Egan said.

“It’s an unfortunate legacy that UQ has inherited.”

The council’s zoning classes most of the site as “community use”.

Mr Egan said the location of the contaminated soil and the use of the site meant it was unlikely lead would be ingested or inhaled, or that anyone would have been exposed to it over an extended time.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is now considering the findings.

Brisbane Times