Preserving Cultural Precincts..
We are strongly in favor of preserving existing precincts that have a unique and uplifting character. Precincts that already attract outside visitors.
Many of these areas have a character that has developed over hundreds of years but are now threatened by urban high-rise sprawl or greed-driven real-estate developments.
These areas are usually populated by folk with an affinity to the arts, family and community. They rarely earn 6 figure incomes and are therefore vulnerable to being priced out of their homes by CBD executives who merely see the precinct as "under-priced and close to the CBD". These executives may say they like the heritage of the area, but their high-rise pressure will soon destroy that heritage.
Millions of people are aware of the New Orleans' Bourbon Street precinct and are thankful that it has been preserved for hundreds of years.. But, the only reason the developers and their city hall 'friends' left that area alone was that it was sinking! And was now below the high tide mark!
There are thousands of similar precincts under threat from urban exploitation - all worth preserving.
Brisbanes 'West End'..
One such heritage precinct under threat is the delightful suburb of Brisbane Australia called "West End"..
The area smacks of history and seems to shout "community" from every venue. It's a place for artists, musicians, street festivals and environmental campaigners.
There was even a place where anyone interested in a lively debate and good fellowship could gather on a Friday afternoon and enjoy a glass of free red wine provided by the patron. - That's unique!
Even the States prestigious Conservatorium of Music presents "street music" in West End! - Where else in the world would you see that! Where else would you find professional "Story Tellers" in a coffee shop?
This precinct is only one mile from the CBD and, as you can imagine, is under attack from 'greed driven' development.
For ours and our childrens sake, areas like "West End" need to be defended, preserved and (even) funded.
Paul Syvret, in a derogatory article in the Courier-Mail newspaper called the West Enders "You whining, self-obsessed NIMBYs"
He went on (and on) "Surely (for the sake of our overcrowded freeways?) the tree-huggers of West End should welcome higher-density living within walking distance of the CBD? - Is West End some sort of exclusive club which should be exempt from the growing pains the rest of southeast Queensland is experiencing? - Is the unique character of your neighborhood spun of such flimsy fibres that high-density residential development will kill it?"
Arts conscious precincts like these need a 'critical mass' of 'Arts conscious' residents. Inner-city high-rise development always leads to an influx of 'career conscious', "greed is good" people.. This influx will water down the 'critical mass' of 'Arts conscious' residents and the character of the area will obviously degrade to that of a lower life form. (a money driven one!) (a "lets get" instead of "lets give" one!)
Our Children deserve to see and experience areas like West End! But, unless we take strong action.. Or if Paul Syvret has his way - they won't.
This image of the famous 'West End Goanna' reflects the areas interest in the Arts and the almost extinct skill of the Story-teller.. see www.westendstories.blogspot.com
Also in this precinct is the "West End Community House" - They sponsor.. Arts and Craft, Dance, Drama and the above Story Telling Groups.
We propose to establish a government funded Arts and Community services center in precincts like West End.
These centers will provide low priced workshops for a wide range of arts including Music, Sculpture, Painting, Dance, Drama, fine Woodwork, Wrought Iron, Martial arts.. The center will also provide galleries and retail outlets for these products, and Family eating areas with live music provided by the music workshop. [click here for more details.]
Maleny and Montville. (Qld. Australia).
Maleny is a small rural town an hours drive from Brisbane..
Again, its unique heritage and beautiful environment is under threat from 'big city' invaders with more money than a rural community can compete with. Blocks of land with views (depicted without permission below) that this author remembers were once $50,000 are now a million dollars! And the colorful characters and arts heritage of the area (that the millionaires came to mix with and be a part of) are being EVICTED and lost.
There are many 'action groups' in the area struggling to defend the cultural heritage of Maleny and to preserve its rural-ness.. The 'Maleny Platypus Action Group' is famous for its stance against the "Woolworth invasion".
The famous "Up Front Club" in Maleny provides great food and wonderful live music every weekend. It is a venue where you can have great conversations with the 'old-timers' and those with a 'naturalist enlightenment'.
The live music nights provide opportunities and financial support for local musicians.
The Maleny Arts Council encourages Community Creativity, they promote "Art in the Park" events, setting up outdoor studios to involve the public in art making. They also host Music Festivals.
Noosa Heads is the rare equivalent of a National Park in which people are allowed to live..
It is a pristine combination of river, ocean, rugged headlands and national parks.
It is a magic retreat for Artists, Holiday folk, Retired folk, Bush-walkers, Backpackers and those trying to escape the oppressive rat-race of most large cities.
Noosa is under threat from over-development. Being "girt by sea", river and national park, there is limited space for people.
To the developers, the obvious solution is to put a 50 floor hi-rise on every patch of sand. The rest of humanity, after seeing Noosa as it is, would consider that solution to be obscene!
Developers cannot get it thru their thick heads that Not everything on the planet should make a profit.. "Imagine how much money could be made if this beautiful waterfall had a 50 floor tourist resort in front of it! - A thousand paying Tourists could sip champagne and enjoy the view!" Developers can't see any problem with that! - "Those local protesters are just selfish and don't want to share this waterfall with the rest of the world!"
A local Council for Noosa?
The Latin meaning of the "VS" in our foundations name implies Government "For the Village, By the Village"
This governance model [read more here] is exactly what ALL the above precincts need.. It is based on the principle that the Local Elders are the ones who know the Local problems best. They are the ones who best know which solutions work and which do not.
Governance from afar is an insane concept. National Government is obviously required for Funding, Defense, Research and Oversight (to limit the inevitable corruption and collusion that creeps into Local Government)
As mentioned above in our opening statement, "we will preserve existing precincts that have a unique and uplifting character" - Noosa is certainly unique and uplifting. Our grand-children in 2050 deserve to see it and enjoy it as it is now! Not as it would be if the developers "get at it" for 40 years!