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According to documents received by The Friendly Bay Islander, the reason Redlands City Council has changed regulations for island home building has everything to do with recent property development growth. The directive has been made by a single officer in the Plumbing Department without even referring it to the Council table or the communities involved. It highlights the absurd situation that provides the power to one person to change the lives of many without any form of proper research or consultation. This situation is possible because of the State Government and the Plumbing and Drainage Act of 2018 which allows council paid staff to side-step the elected council representatives. The plumbing section of Council presumes that an overall direction of growth is directly relatable to a single sewage system in a single house. That is not the case. It has everything to do with the population in each island home. And here, Australian Census figures make a laughing stock of the reasons for the plumbing regulation changes which says “rooms previously designed, listed and used as an office, TV entertainment/media room or ‘work/project’ room in an island home design, are now to be classified as a bedroom. Current Australian Census figures state that the average occupancy on Russell and Macleay Islands is 1.9 persons per household and on Lamb and Karragarra Islands it is even lower at 1.8 and 1.7 per persons per household. This is way lower that Council’s approval figures of two persons per bedroom. The council officers, however, are indicating that with rooms for an office, a media/TV room etc, these are actually potential bedrooms indicating a household population for three bedrooms, and office and media room of 10 people living in the house and adversely impacting the individual sewerage septic system. This is clearly absurd. The other factor behind this plumbing direction is that officers’ act on the basis that most applicants who submit plans to council are ‘liars’. Council plumbing officers say in a recent report: “Historically, plans have been submitted with a magnitude of room types ‘bedroom’, ’study’, ‘media’ and ‘ironing’ with each room housing a door that may be closed, and in many instances, include a closet. “In the past, applications have been assessed on the plans only to find that down the track these rooms are in fact being used for the purpose of housing additional persons.” Census figures make a mockery of this statement. To add further evidence to the contrary, the census figures also say that the average number of children per family for families with children on our islands, is just 1.6 children; hardly an overflow of household population. It is believed this matter is to be the subject of a Notice of Motion at a March general meeting of Redland City Council. It needs to be overturned, NOW!

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