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Landscape architecture students
to prepare a blueprint for Maleny

by Cameron Outridge

Landscape architect students from the Queensland University of Technology will be combing the hills of Maleny in order to develop a proposed blueprint for the town's future.

The final work will be exhibited in Maleny on Saturday, June 5.    The students range from third year undergraduate landscape architects to final year postgraduate landscape architects and urban designers.

Their brief involves coming to grips with the challenges posed by the proposed Maleny Community Precinct on the Calaqua/Porters land.

"These are big challenges for our students but they are here to learn about the real world and this is about as real as you can get," said QUT Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Glen Thomas.

"This site is clearly a contested terrain, in the academic sense of this terminology, as it reflects the differing views within the current community debates.

"Our students' role is to contribute intelligently to this debate through a challenging learning experience of working in real world contexts."

The project has been initiated by community members pushing for a Bioregional Garden for Maleny as an alternative to the concept of a Community Precinct centred on a golf course and paid for through housing development as presented by the Council's Taskforce on 21 February.

"It is clear from the meetings we have had with them that they also share a much broader concern about the future of this lovely town and the strong sense of community that characterises it,'' said Mr Thomas.  "And they also share a concern that the growth and development that will inevitably occur is done in a way that respects the broad community values.

"Calaqua intend to utilise this site for effluent management, a use that is not in conflict with either the Taskforce Concept or a Bioregional Garden or indeed a host of other potential uses for this land including intensive crop production.

"What is important here is that whatever use is ultimately made of this and other land on the periphery of Maleny, the development is able to contribute positively to community and environmental values and to management of water quality in the Baroon Pocket Dam catchment.

"Our students have access to the concept for this land as proposed by the Council's Taskforce as one model for the future and are required to recognise that this is part of the debate.   We have recognised that the aims and objectives and the genuine concerns to engage with the breadth of community interest embedded in that presentation represent ideals that we should emulate in our design explorations.

"The Taskforce has based the economic feasibility of their Concept on a major housing development to finance the wide range of community facilities proposed. Concern has been expressed by members of the community, including our 'clients', that this is too much, too quickly and not enough attention has been given to its impacts on the current infrastructure of Maleny and the objectives of its Development Control Plan.    Concern has also been expressed about the continued alienation of prime agricultural land which is a global issue in dealing with urban expansion.

Mr Thomas said students would not be allowed to reject housing without offering an alternative means of funding or of delivering the community facilities that have been asked for by the people of Maleny.

Similarly he said: "it is unacceptable for them to follow the housing model without considering how its impacts on the town can be responsibly managed."

Landscape architect students from the Queensland University of Technology will be combing the hills of Maleny in order to develop a proposed blueprint for the town's future.

The final work will be exhibited in Maleny on Saturday, June 5.    The students range from third year undergraduate landscape architects to final year postgraduate landscape architects and urban designers.

Their brief involves coming to grips with the challenges posed by the proposed Maleny Community Precinct on the Calaqua/Porters land.

"These are big challenges for our students but they are here to learn about the real world and this is about as real as you can get," said QUT Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Glen Thomas.

"This site is clearly a contested terrain, in the academic sense of this terminology, as it reflects the differing views within the current community debates.

"Our students' role is to contribute intelligently to this debate through a challenging learning experience of working in real world contexts."

The project has been initiated by community members pushing for a Bioregional Garden for Maleny as an alternative to the concept of a Community Precinct centred on a golf course and paid for through housing development as presented by the Council's Taskforce on 21 February.

"It is clear from the meetings we have had with them that they also share a much broader concern about the future of this lovely town and the strong sense of community that characterises it,'' said Mr Thomas.  "And they also share a concern that the growth and development that will inevitably occur is done in a way that respects the broad community values.

"Calaqua intend to utilise this site for effluent management, a use that is not in conflict with either the Taskforce Concept or a Bioregional Garden or indeed a host of other potential uses for this land including intensive crop production.

"What is important here is that whatever use is ultimately made of this and other land on the periphery of Maleny, the development is able to contribute positively to community and environmental values and to management of water quality in the Baroon Pocket Dam catchment.

"Our students have access to the concept for this land as proposed by the Council's Taskforce as one model for the future and are required to recognise that this is part of the debate.   We have recognised that the aims and objectives and the genuine concerns to engage with the breadth of community interest embedded in that presentation represent ideals that we should emulate in our design explorations.

"The Taskforce has based the economic feasibility of their Concept on a major housing development to finance the wide range of community facilities proposed.   Concern has been expressed by members of the community, including our 'clients', that this is too much, too quickly and not enough attention has been given to its impacts on the current infrastructure of Maleny and the objectives of its Development Control Plan.   Concern has also been expressed about the continued alienation of prime agricultural land which is a global issue in dealing with urban expansion.

Mr Thomas said students wwould not be allowed to reject housing without offering an alternative means of funding or of delivering the community facilities that have been asked for by the people of Maleny.

Similarly he said: "it is unacceptable for them to follow the housing model without considering how its impacts on the town can be responsibly managed.

"QUT Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture Glen Thomas
urban designer Jo-Ann Baynham and Dr Les Hall of Maleny.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.