BUILT THIS CITY WITH LUCK AND LAW

THRIVING METROPOLIS: SPRINGFIELD’S FOUNDERS REMEMBER ITS BIRTH By James Drew SOUTH WEST NEWS

Maha Sinnathamby and his book “Stop Not Till The Goal is Reached”

Mayor Paul Pisasale, Cr David Pahlke and Maha Sinnathamby

Cr David Pahlke & Maha Sinnathamby

IF a city such as Greater Springfield was a child, its birthday would be June 12, 1997, and its place of birth place would be the corner of George and Alice streets, Brisbane.

 

At least, this is how Springfield Land Corporation chairman Maha Sinnathamby sees it. It was late in the evening on June 12 at Parliament House when 89 parliamentarians voted unanimously to support the Local Government (Springfield Zoning) Bill, which Mr Sinnathamby said gave rise to what is today his thriving, developing city of 26,000 people. The Bill, which became an Act, gave SLC the power to press ahead with its plans to develop a 2860ha parcel of land in what was an isolated and socially depressed area south of Brisbane. The late 1990s had been a difficult period for SLC’s dynamic duo: Mr Sinnathamby and director Bob Sharpless and with the passing of Bill their luck began to change. They had been fighting a succession of state and local politicians to get their Greater Springfield project off ground and the Act finally gave them iron clad guarantees on how the project would be rolled out, who would pay and who was liable if it all turned sour, which would be them.

 

“There was strong bipartisan support for the project,” said Mr Sharpless, who has a 25 per cent stake in the project. “It’s not something that’s done a lot, but it was necessary to allow the project to happen and get the legal protection to proceed. “If we were going to make the necessary investment and take all the risk, we wanted absolute certainty that we wouldn’t get into the project and have the goalposts changed on us.” But SLC still needed to provide the cash, land and design and build the infrastructure to get things started. The first of many make-or-break projects was building their gateway, the Centenary Motorway.  

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