highway overpass construction

‘The entire house has to be taken out’: New homeowners told land needed for highway hours after getting keys

No matter where in the world you live, buying a home is not an easy task. It often requires years of saving and planning in order to achieve. That’s why these new homeowners in Queensland, Australia, are devastated to learn that in just a few short years of building their dream homes, the government will force them to leave. This is because Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has told them that they will require their land for highway upgrades.

New Queensland Homeowners Told They Will Soon Lose Their Homes To Highway Upgrades

Imagine that you have been waiting patiently for months for your dream home to be built. You’ve been living in cramped quarters, perhaps with family, while you wait to move your family into your new home. Finally, the day arrives when you are handed the keys – only to have your dreams crushed just hours later, being told that this will not be the home that your family grows up in. This is what happened to brand new homeowners in Brisbane, Queensland, when the TMR told them that their land would soon be required for upgrades to the Bruce Highway.

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Image Credit: ABC News

Some of these families received their letter before they even had their keys in hand. Anil Konda and his young family received their letter seven hours after they received the keys to their new home. The devastation for families like the Kondas is heartbreaking.

“This is our first home — we lived in an apartment but we always wanted a bigger place for the kids to grow up,” Anil explained. “Last week my kids picked the colors, my son and my daughter picked the colors … I was planning to start the work today, paint the rooms, fix some furniture. They just took away the joy of our new home.” He continued: “It doesn’t matter if it happens in a year, in two years or three years … we know that they’re going to take it away. We don’t have the belongingness.” (1)

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A Development Destined For Demolition

The Kondas’ home, along with many other families, is part of the new Aspire development. The neighborhood is so new, there are many lots still without homes, other homes still under construction, and most of the residents who live there have moved in within the last three months. Families purchasing these lots and moving into these homes are almost all families with young children looking for a place to raise their kids. Now, they are demanding an explanation as to how this could possibly be happening.

“How could this have happened where you’ve allowed people so freshly to have built new houses only to tell them that they’re going to be torn down in the middle of a housing crisis?” questioned new resident James Jackson, who only moved in in September with his wife and two infant children.

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Jackson said that he immediately contacted the department when he received the notice. They told him that when Aspire put in the planning application, the department didn’t have up-to-date planning in order to confirm any impacts on those homes. The developer says that they, too, had not received any indication that building there would turn out any different than usual. They said that they followed all approvals and did what was directed to them by the TMR in order to build in that area.

“To this extent a large acoustic wall was constructed by Fairland in accordance with the direction of TMR adjacent to the Bruce Highway,” said Aspire general manager Scott Searle. “Settlements of land adjacent to the Bruce Highway were completed between August 2021 and October 2021 and Fairland did not receive any notification from TMR regarding future road resumptions.”

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Impact Greater Than Projected

Initially the TMR estimated that just 25 families would be affected by the highway upgrade. Already controversial, that number has more than tripled in just a span of a few days with 90 homes on the chopping block. A fire brigade and an ambulance station are also on the list to potentially be demolished. (2)

The TMR says that these upgrades are necessary to accommodate the increasing traffic in the area. They also say that these upgrades have been in the public domain for the last three years, so it surprises them that local governments say that they were not aware of them. They have said that families will be fairly compensated when the time comes that they must leave their homes. This gives little comfort to residents who now have very little faith in the department and who were planning on living there at least until their children are grown and gone.

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Sources

  1. Queensland homeowners told land needed for Bruce Highway upgrade hours after getting keys to Griffin house.” ABC. Elizabeth Cramsie. October 18, 2022.
  2. Devastating twist in saga of new houses being demolished for a highway upgrade with THREE times as many set to go… as families learn their fate before they even pick up the keys.” Daily Mail. Max Aldred and Peter Vincent. October 21, 2022.
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