the Breeze

COUNCIL CRACKDOWN ON SMALL DWELLING LIVING ON ISLANDS

• One of the very small buildings in question on Russell Island.

The issue of small dwellings and inadequate container living has been addressed by Redland City Council.

The situation has come to a head with a number of small dwellings, that are less than 60 square metres, being erected on several island blocks .

Cr Mark Edwards became aware of the situation a few months ago when he observed a very small dwelling which was being erected on Russell Island that appeared to be no larger than a small garage.

He was also concerned that more of these very small dwellings would appear on the islands, especially if they drew developer interest.

"I don't believe this type of housing is supported by the wider community and I was surprised that the planning scheme, adopted by previous Councils, allowed for this type of self assessable development."

As a result, he successfully moved at a council General Meeting to limit the size of self assessable dwellings on our islands to a minimum of 60 square metres internal area.

He also said that this space was for 'living only' and could not include verandahs or carport.

In recent times, a situation occurred on Macleay Island when a small dwelling was about to be erected on a site in Pecan Street.

The owner of the block had told neighbours they were going to erect a very small 20 square metre 'donga'.

Local resident Ricki Thavenot wrote to council and Cr Mark Edwards on the matter recently.

In her letter she said: " This island is once again turning into a dumping ground of dongas and containers for people to live in and the Council does not appear to be doing anything to stop it.

"Surely, the the council inspectors who visit our island every Wednesday are shocked to see such poor dwellings being dumped on the island," she stated in the letter.

The appearance of a container home on High Central Road has also surprised many residents.

Cr Edwards said that council officers are investigating some recent structures that involved approvals by private certifiers that appear to be outside council policy.

"If the investigation reveals that structures have been erected that are outside council policy, these will be subject to action by Council."

The matter, however, appears to have been addressed with a number of recent building applicants having to reconsider their building plans.

Responding to Ricki Thavenot's complaint to council, Mayor Karen Williams confirmed that council's Amenity and Aesthetics Policy and Guidelines had been amended following action by Cr Edwards.

"A dwelling under 60 square metres (and shipping containers) will need to be assessed by council prior to a building works approval.

"Prior to this amendment, there was no compulsion for council to be involved in the building works assessment of a dwelling under 60sqm.

"Therefore, private building certifiers were able to issue building approvals without reference to council.

"Unfortunately, it is likely that there are dwellings that have been lawfully approved and built given they preceded the policy amendment, although these are required to meet relevant construction requirements.

"I would advise that council has recently commenced compliance action in relation to a number of dwellings that may not comply with the amended aesthetics policy," the mayor said.

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