Bureaucratic Delays Stifle Suburban Growth in Upper Kedron: The Unopened Bridge

Residents in a fast-growing housing estate in Upper Kedron are facing significant disruptions due to bureaucratic delays that have kept a brand-new bridge closed to the public for over six months.

Daily Inconveniences

The bridge, built by developer Cedar Woods Properties and dubbed by locals as the “Never Never Open Bridge,” was intended to provide a second entry and exit point for the estate, easing commutes and reducing travel time for local residents. The prolonged closure of the bridge, currently barricaded, has forced residents to take longer routes, increasing travel times and causing daily inconveniences. 

Local businesses are also feeling the pinch. The delayed bridge opening has meant less foot traffic and fewer customers for shops and services within the estate. Business owners are concerned that prolonged delays could lead to a decline in revenue and ultimately affect the viability of their operations. 

The community feels the absence of this critical infrastructure in their daily lives, and the economic repercussions are becoming more apparent.

Safety concerns are another issue arising from the delay. With only one entry and exit point, emergency response times could be affected, posing a risk to residents in emergencies. The blocked bridge also forces more traffic onto the existing routes, increasing the likelihood of accidents and congestion.

Timeline of Administrative Delays

October 2022

  • The Queensland Department of Resources provided pre-lodgement advice to relevant stakeholders, highlighting the requirement to submit an application to dedicate state land as a road.

November 2023

  • Cedar Woods Properties lodged an application with the Brisbane City Council to create a road reserve for the newly constructed bridge.

April 2024

  • The Department of Resources received the application from Brisbane City Council, despite regulations being highlighted two years prior.
  • Brisbane City Council completed the application to the Queensland Government for consent.

June 2024

  • Approval for the land transfer was received from the State Government.
  • Brisbane City Council insisted that all required documentation to open the bridge was supplied to the developer two years ago, but the developer only finalised it this year.
  • The Department of Resources expedited the application process and is now working with the Brisbane City Council to finalise it.

Expected Timeline

  • Registration and opening of the bridge are anticipated to take 4-6 weeks from June 2024, once the administrative processes are completed.

Proposed Solutions and Reforms

Comparing Upper Kedron’s situation to other suburbs facing similar issues provides insight into how such problems can be addressed. In other regions, streamlined processes and better communication between developers and government agencies have helped expedite approvals and reduce delays. 

Experts suggest several solutions to mitigate such delays in the future. These include:

Improved Coordination: Enhancing coordination between developers, local councils, and state governments to ensure all parties are aligned.

Streamlined Approval Processes: Simplifying and speeding up approval processes to prevent prolonged delays.

Transparent Communication: Keeping the community informed about the status of projects and any issues that arise to maintain trust and cooperation.

Accountability Measures: Implementing accountability measures to ensure that delays are promptly addressed and resolved.

The residents of Upper Kedron remain hopeful that the bureaucratic hurdles will soon be overcome, allowing them to fully enjoy the benefits of the new bridge and the improved connectivity it promises. 

Published 8-July-2024

Upper Kedron Residents and Minister Exasperated by Delays in Ellendale Bridge Opening

Residents in Upper Kedron are outraged by a prolonged two-year delay in obtaining approval to open a new bridge in the rapidly growing Ellendale estate. 

Locals of the burgeoning northside community are currently compelled to take a 5-kilometre detour to visit relatives mere hundreds of meters away, due to the prolonged delay in securing a road reserve permit. 

One local shared that she has to take a long detour to visit her son-in-law who lives on the other side of the bridge. Max Crane, a spokesperson for the Ferny Grove & Upper Kedron Residents Association, criticized the project’s applications, which have led to inefficiencies and real-life consequences for residents.

The Brisbane City Council, however, attributes the delay to the developer, Cedar Woods Properties (CWP), for not submitting necessary plans and certifications promptly. CWP has responded by stating it expects the bridge to open within six to eight weeks following a fast-tracked approval process by the Department of Resources.

Ellendale Bridge
Photo Credit: BCC

The company also confirmed the recent opening of Levitt Rd and Minnie St, following upgrades linked to the bridge construction. The company emphasised that the Brockman Rd bridge serves as a secondary, not primary, access point to the estate, underscoring their commitment to safety by installing bollards to restrict access during the approval process. 

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has echoed the frustration among the community members. He has openly criticized the Council for its sluggish response in applying for the necessary approvals. According to him, the delay could have been avoided had the Council acted more promptly. Despite the Council’s claim of persistent reminders to CWP, the essential application for road reserve was only lodged in late April 2024, long after the bridge’s construction was completed.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Department of Resources acknowledged the application’s receipt and emphasised its priority status. As the administrative processes for registering the new roads and bridges near completion, CWP, in collaboration with the Council, is gearing up for the eventual bridge opening.

Published 17-June-2024

Ellendale Stage 5 Development in Upper Kedron Rejected

Council has denied the development application for Stage 5 of the Ellendale housing project in Upper Kedron, citing concerns about the earthworks and their impact on vegetation, ecology, and biodiversity.

In the decision report filed for DA A005255683, Council delegate John Neville underscored that the proposed plans were deemed unacceptable because the earthworks will alter the topography along the waterway corridors and take out a significant portion of the Eucalyptus trees on the site. 

“Stage 5A, 5B, 5C, earthworks filling of the mapped waterway corridors conflict with the Stormwater code as the development does not maximise the use of natural waterway corridors on the site, “ the report stated. “Due to the proposed filling, there is no protection of environmental values of receiving waters, no use of the natural waterway corridors and drainage path for fauna movement, and the basins will require extensive earthworks in cut and the use of tiered retaining walls.”

Photo Credit: Developmenti Brisbane City Council

Huntsman Property, the developer, also failed to submit proper documentation of its compliance to the Bushfire overlay code. Neville cited that the developer had outstanding issues with its Bushfire reporting and still has not demonstrated acceptable measures to curb the risk of bushfires. 

The advocacy group PlanRight Upper Kedron hailed the rejection as a win but also reminded the residents that the “fight is not yet over.” 

“Ellendale do have an opportunity to appeal the decision or resubmit a new Development Application,” the group said. “In that regard, we continue to extend our support for dialogue with Ellendale so that any next steps they attempt are done in a collaborative fashion and to avoid the problems, stress and cost endured by all to this point.” 

The Ellendale housing project has had a number of controversies since it received preliminary approval from former Planning Minister Jackie Trad. Residents have opposed the development early on because of its outcome on the environment. 

Photo Credit: Ellendale Estate/Google Maps

Stage 5 was supposed to expand the development to connect sections of Halifax Street to the south section of the project, which had been Stage 1.