Koala group calls for Toondah plan’s rejection

Koala Action Group count of koalas in the toondah Harbour area found 19

More than 50 KAG volunteers found 19 koalas within walking distance of Toondah Harbor on 6 August 2016: details

In a submission to the Federal Government, the Koala Action Group says Walker Corporation’s proposed Toondah Harbour project is “unacceptable” and it should be rejected by the Federal Government.

In commenting on environmental aspects of the Toondah Harbour project, KAG says:

There is a wide and diverse range of items of State and National Matters of National Significance that will be destroyed and or put under threat by the proposed development.

Walker Corporation’s suitability to undertake the project is questioned by KAG:

We also have concerns that the proponent or a related company was found guilty of clearing native vegetation without consent on a number of occasions. If these concerns prove to be factual then it questions the proponent’s ability to protect ecological values.

KAG says that the Queensland Government should not be engaged in the assessment of this proposal because it has:

shown nothing but contempt for protecting Matters of National Significance

Redlands2030 is publishing submissions about plans for dredging and construction at Toondah Harbour referred by Walker Corporation to the Federal Government for environmental assessment. The KAG submission is reprinted, in full, below.

Submission 3 – EPBC referral 2015/7612 Toondah Harbour

December 8, 2015

Referrals
Environment Assessment Branch
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Sir/Madam,

We, Koala Action Group Qld Inc (KAG) make the following submission to the EPBC Act Referral – 2015/7612; Walker Group Holdings Pty Limited/Commercial Development/Moreton Bay/Queensland/Toondah Harbour Project, Moreton Bay, Qld.

  • G.J. Walter Park has many trees planted by the KAG over 20 years ago in cooperation with the Redland Council which, when added to the existing trees forms well-used koala habitat. Many of these trees will be lost in the building of a road through the park which will also make it more dangerous for koalas to use the remaining trees. This area is used by a local population of at least five koalas. It is unacceptable to build a new road to inevitably take its toll on this well-loved locally endangered iconic Australian animal. The koala is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in South East Queensland and the population has declined by approximately 75% in the Koala Coast region.
  • G. J. Walter Park is the scene of a historically significant event. In 1842 Governor George Gipps came ashore and became famously stuck in the waist-high mud. This part of Queensland’s history would be lost under a marina if the plan is enacted. (Although this same mud would make the marina almost impossible to keep dredged at huge expense to ratepayers.)
  • G. J. Walter Park is an important backdrop to the historically significant “Fernleigh” precinct. Fernleigh is one of the first houses built in Cleveland and encompasses a slab-built construction originally used as the first school-house in Cleveland. The Proposed Development Scheme shows the construction of an access road along its boundaries which would seriously diminish its value as an historical site. Its aspect, looking on to high-rise buildings as proposed would replace the original views out to the bay. This is not acceptable!
  • A 400 berth marina is proposed in front of the park necessitating massive dredging. The dredging spoil will be used to reclaim land out in the bay for high and medium rise. This is additional to the dredging needed to allow the ferries to operate increasing the impacts on water quality. A marina would totally destroy the ambience of the park and turn it into a semi-industrial service area with the accompanying noise and pollution.
  • G. J. Walter Park is valued for its open space and is well-used by Redland people who will not accept any part of it used for high rise (or low-rise) buildings or “boutique hotels”. There is scope for cafes and similar built features within the ferry precinct providing views of the bay without compromising our few unencumbered foreshore areas.
  • Natural, sandy beaches are a rarity in the mainland Redlands. The community does not want their sandy beach in G. J. Walter Park to be covered in fill and hard surfaces as shown in the publicity material.

The State Government authorised the release of this draft legal planning instrument for public comment clearly understanding that it removed protection for koala habitat and encouraged intensive commercial development adjacent to the Moreton Bay RAMSAR site and Marine National Park (MN24). Both the koala and RAMSAR site are matters of National Environmental Significance. To date the Queensland Government has shown nothing but contempt for protecting Matters of National Significance.

Accordingly, the Queensland Government is unsuited to be engaged in the assessment of this proposed development. Our group strongly recommends that this is a controlled action and should be subject solely to the assessment of the Commonwealth Government.

Despite our disappointment with the proponent’s studies, we, in fact, believe they form the basis of a strong case as to why the Commonwealth should reject this proposal. There is a wide and diverse range of items of State and National Matters of National Significance that will be destroyed and or put under threat by the proposed development.

We also have concerns that the proponent or a related company was found guilty of clearing native vegetation without consent on a number of occasions. If these concerns prove to be factual then it questions the proponent’s ability to protect ecological values.

A very dangerous precedent will be set if approval is given to an application which is inconsistent with the ‘Wise Use’ principles of RAMSAR, and therefore we strongly recommend that the Commonwealth reject the urbanisation of this RAMSAR site.

Yours sincerely,
s47F
Koala Action Group Qld Inc.
s47F

Publication details

This submission has been extracted from a pdf document containing information provided to Redlands2030 by Australia’s Department of the Environment.

This information became publicly available via the Department’s Disclosure Log following a Freedom of Information request which Redlands2030 understands to have been submitted by Walker Corporation.

In many cases, the name and contact details of the person or organisation making a submission have not been made publicly available, indicated by “S47F”.

Submission number is by Redlands2030, reflecting the order of publication on our website.

Here’s a link to posts containing reprints of other submissions:

All of the submissions made publicly available by the Government can now be accessed from the Redlands2030 website via these two links:

Published by Redlands2030 – 9 August 2016

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

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7 thoughts on “Koala group calls for Toondah plan’s rejection

  1. Wonder if the local real estate spruiking Toondah Harbour units to the Chinese explained that the project is set to take out the very koalas that overseas visitors so like to see?(Refer RCB online news item :”Raine and Horne brings Chinese real estate investors to Cleveland” 17 Aug 2016)

  2. I feel so sorry for wildlife carers today. They rescue tiny orphan baby animals of all species, raise them and then when they are ready to be released where can they go? Most bushland is rapidly being cleared for housing. What about injured wildlife, they are supposed to be released back into the area where they came from? Oh really!!!
    By that time the trees they lived in and ate from would probably be cleared with just bare ground left, or maybe some stumps. Koalas in particular have their favourite trees not just for eating but for snoozing in. That has been proven.
    The State Government is calling for the farmers to stop clearing the trees up north, to help save the Great Barrier Reef.
    How about calling for the local Government particularly in The Redlands to stop clearing the wildlife habitat in our area to save our koalas and other wildlife and stop them from becoming extinct.

  3. Amazing.. 19 koalas were spotted around Toondah Harbour GJ Walter Park area on last Sunday’s walk by KAG w volunteers and wonder how so many survived with relentless development destroying habitat trees by RCC’s policy of total clearing leaving no parkland or open space of area being developed. This brings to mind Cr Paul Gleeson, on having been voted in as Councillor for Capalaba, photo in Wynnum Herald with foot on a downed tree holding new power saw in hand declaring he was going to make changes to RCC’s local law 6, in getting serious about getting rid of VPOs in local areas. No worries there as one wealthy developer who gets the red carpet treatment, builds wall to wall units/houses, forces neighbours to destroy mature trees wherever he builds estates, if they are too close to boundary…no matter how healthy or how valued by area locals. Saw photo in local newspaper of Member for Bowman Andrew Laming showing us during the election how he felt about mature trees..with bulldozer downing tree in front yard of a property. I tried saving koala habitat that was specially protected wetland under Koala Coast Policy at 29-37 Moreton Bay Rd Capalaba, including meeting with Environment Minister’s office in City, but when Minister saw me by reception desk, asked where I was from. Replying from Capalaba, he turned away and walked to the elevator. I could go on with this sorry saga having met with Ombudsman in Council, but that was a useless exercise as well. My late husband Paul told me I was banging my head against a brick wall trying to save koalas as ‘they will do what they want to do anyhow’. I said maybe, but at least I can go to bed at night knowing that I’ve tried. Those of us who value native wildlife, esp koalas, know only too well what matters. Development at all costs….and developers as we have seen from last local election, have deep pockets.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with this submission. We continue to call Redlands the Koala Coast, but for how much longer will we see Koala’s in our district? Their habitat is being taken away, pushing them into suburban back yards where they become victims to dogs. They are forced to cross roads and become victims to car hits. As for dredging Toondah Harbour, we are all aware of the impact this will have on the marine life and the changes to the level of the tides will destroy the mangroves which keep the mosquitoes in check. Money it seems talks, not environmental needs.

  5. Conserve the natural habitat of our native fauna and flora at all costs. Do not disturb or threaten their natural habitat.

    We will be thanked and appreciated by present and future generations for taking a stand and doing it.

    Surely, we can think outside the square and develop an area without destroying its natural habitat. Hence, a much smaller and environmentally designed area that suits the purpose for why it is being developed, in the first place, is essential.

    As a resident of Cleveland and The Redlands for over 25 years, I feel strongly about retaining our unique identity and the reason for why I decided to live here in the first place i.e. its beauty, its serenity, friendly nature-loving residents, unique fauna and flora, and natural surroundings.

    There is absolutely no need for high rise development in this area. It is best left untouched, or enhanced to protect what is there and can be enjoyed by all, without impacting on the environment or native animals.

    We don’t need plans and developers to destroy this area and its character. The present buildings over three storeys attest to the fact that high-rise development in this area takes away from its identity. These high-rise buildings are for profit for a few, soon become out-dated and will fail to enhance our area in the future. We need governing authorities – local, state and federal- to preserve and protect what we have now and secure its uniqueness.

    Koalas and all animals, including marine life do come first and foremost. It’s a no-brainer. What do we want for future generations to appreciate and treasure? Our natural beauty. Our natural habitat. Our native flora and fauna. Our iconic koala in his natural environment. That’s what we want.

    Cleveland and all The Redlands need to be remembered and recognised for their environmental protection and preservation, not for careless development that benefits developers and those associated with them.