Damian has recently joined MacroPlan in 2017 after a successful 15+ years of planning experience within Queensland. Damian’s statutory planning background provides a comprehensive understanding of the development assessment processes, from project feasibility through to approval, construction and compliance across multiple Australian jurisdictions.Damian has assessed, prepared and coordinated many major development projects. He is well versed in the provisions of the Queensland Sustainable Planning Act 2009, along with associated approvals and environmental legislation. Damian’s experience encompasses environmental impact assessment and statutory development processes, spanning a multitude resource projects and studies ranging in diversity, complexity and scale.
What ‘new technology’ (i.e. Autonomous Vehicles, 3D printing, Drones etc.) do you think will have the biggest impact on the property industry, and why?
On the property industry, autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs are likely to have the biggest impacts on cities since the invention of the motor vehicle. From reduction in the need for parking lots, improve efficiency in transportation, repurposing unneeded roads and the conversion of garages and basements for alternative purposes. As a home owner with a three car garage I can’t wait to convert this space into something else… Now I just need to decide what? Some ideas that crossed my mind: Man cave (top of the list), pool room (aka The Castle), gym, bar (that could be dangerous), Airbnb sublet, drone workshop, 3D printing venture, the options are endless!
The Queensland Government released a new Planning Reform on the 3rd of July. In your opinion, what impact will the new legislation have on our communities now, and into the future?
The new Planning Act is evolution rather than revolution, being essentially the third revision of the same piece of legislation in 10 years. So I do not see the new act having a big impact on the development or communities, however I do see the Queensland governments willingness to consistently tinker and improve our planning system as a positive. Much like the State of Origin, Queensland is leading planning system competition with NSW, perhaps not 11 out of 12, but pretty close! But in all seriousness, the new legislation has added flexibility to the planning process and many of the changes are viewed as pro-applicant, so as a planning consultant, much of the change is extremely positive.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest planning challenges facing Queensland?
Planning for the impact new technologies will have on the way our cities and communities function (such as AVs, home batteries, etc), planning for our aging population, transition of our economy from being so reliant on the resources sector, our transition from coal fired power generation to a mixed of fossil fuel and renewable energy and planning for changing employments trends (such as the growth of suburban based employment).
You have comprehensive experience in the project management and coordination of approvals for solar farms in Queensland. Can you share some of the unique opportunities and planning challenges in this niche section of the market?
I had the privilege of working on some of Queensland’s first major solar farm projects. The initial challenges were introducing regional local Council’s to utility scale solar projects which span areas of 300-600ha of land. Most local government planners, engineers and Counsellors were unfamiliar with utility scale solar, what it looked like, how it worked, the various technologies, and how to assess the impacts. But generally most local Council’s viewed the projects favourably and working with the Council’s to facilitate these projects was a rewarding process.
The potential impacts of a solar farm are generally:
- Ecology – Shade and solar panels don’t have a great relationship, so a 300-600ha solar farm requires large area of cleared land. As a result, several of the projects I have worked on have been redesigned to avoid environmental sensitive areas, including habitat for a blind legless lizard.
- Traffic – Traffic impacts of solar projects are restricted to management of construction traffic. Once operational typically the plant can operate with minimum operational staff (3-6 people depending on the size and chosen technology)
- Visual Impact – The site of a solar farm is something that polarises communities. Some people believe it represents progress and green technologies, others view it as an eye-sore. Typically solar panels are 3m high, so depending of the topography, the view sheds and visual dominance of the project can vary greatly.
- Cultural Heritage – The potential for cultural heritage significance is something that should always be considered for solar projects. Environmental variables such as topography, geology, hydrology and vegetation are all influencing factors. However, generally cultural heritage matters can be identified and appropriately managed/mitigated.
- Stormwater and Flooding – A solar farm is a power plant at heart, so appropriate siting of infrastructure and management of stormwater is essential.
- Glare – This issue is often more a perceived issue, with most of the new panels having anti-reflective coatings. In addition, the panels are designed to absorb sunlight, not reflect it. Much of the impact of glare is associated with the frame of the solar panel rather than to the panel itself.
Contact Damian Delmanowicz today:
07 3221 8166