Community will not tolerate Toondah deal – open letter to Deputy Premier Jackie Trad

Toondah Harbour tidal flats Photo Melleah Mewett

Toondah Harbour tidal flats Photo Melleah Mewett

Over 2,000 people recently signed parliamentary petitions objecting to plans for Toondah Harbour. The Government’s response provoked this response from Redlands resident Margaret Hardy.

Letter to Jackie Trad

Dear Minister Trad

Thank you for forwarding your response to the Clerk of Parliament for petitions 2561-16, 2562-16 and 2537-16 regarding the proposed development of Toondah Harbour.

I must take issue with some of your responses.

1. There is no relationship between the arrangements made with Walker Corporation and Redland City Council (RCC) and the Redlands 2030 Community Plan (2030 Plan). At no time did the 2030 Plan envisage the ceding of an extensive area of Moreton Bay to a commercial enterprise. The 2030 Plan’s vision was for a Healthy Natural Environment; Green Living; Embracing the Bay; Wise Planning and Design and Inclusive and Ethical Governance. The Toondah PDA violates every part of this vision.

2. The extensive public consultation of the Toondah PDA including 10 community forums; 583 online submissions; five community mailouts and advertisements and public displays was for the upgrading of ferry facilities and parking with a development of 800 residential units. The commercial agreement signed by Walker and RCC exploded this number of units to 3600. This was never viewed by the community.

3. The Walker proposal aims to replace a natural treed, grassy park; a beach fringed with mangroves and a vista across the bay to the islands with a concrete boardwalk and a vista of multi-storey units and a marina. This is neither equitable nor in line with community expectations. A hectare of parkland does not equate to a hectare of concrete boardwalk.

4. The selection of the Walker Group as developer was made behind closed doors and other alternatives were not available for community scrutiny. The constant use of ‘commercial in confidence’ to hide decisions made by Local and State governments is abhorrent to the community.

5. Minister, you submit that the developer will have to meet rigorous environmental standards. What standard is the Queensland Government
applying when it supports a development that will destroy an internationally gazetted RAMSAR site? This is a deal-breaker.

6. Independent scrutiny of the gain in parking for the community shows that there will be no net increase in parking from this proposed development and in fact there is likely to be a net loss. To include street parking as part of any gain is deceitful.

7. You further suggest that the ‘gift’ of $116 million of new public infrastructure is a win for our community. So you are equating $116 million with the value of an iconic park with a koalas and a RAMSAR site? These public assets of park and bay are priceless. What standard is being applied when a government donates 49.5 hectares of Moreton Bay to a developer? What is the dollar value of such an area of waterfront land? This in no way appears to be a win for the community. The community clearly places a higher intrinsic value on
the environment than that of your government.

This is a disgusting and degrading Faustian deal that the community will not tolerate. I call upon the State government to rescind the PDA; assert that the whole of Moreton Bay is environmentally valuable and is not open to private enterprise and that all the Redland community requires is an improved ferry terminal with parking. The concept that only the private sector can provide this is fundamentally flawed and better options can and must be found.

There is no shortage of available land in the Cleveland area for unit developments and so the destruction of the RAMSAR site is completely avoidable. The Walker Corporation plan is not the least destructive option.

This is not the best we can be.

Regards

Margaret Hardy

Stop the Rort – Just fix the Port

If you are not happy with the current proposal for Toondah Harbour let the Governmemt know by signing this petition: Stop the Rort: Just fix the Port

 

Published by Redlands2030 – 22 April 2016

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41 thoughts on “Community will not tolerate Toondah deal – open letter to Deputy Premier Jackie Trad

  1. Dear Minister Trad

    Thank you for your reply to the petitions 2561-16, 2562-16 and 2537-16 received 17.March 2016
    Regrettably your reply has not addressed my concerns and I would be pleased to receive further explanation on the following points:

    1. “On 21 June 2013, the former government, through Economic Development Queensland
    (EDQ), declared Toondah Harbour as a Priority Development Area (PDA) at the request of the
    Redland City Council (the Council) to revitalise the waterfront site through mixed-use
    development. In preparing the draft development scheme for the PDA, EDQ took into
    consideration a number of council documents, including the Redlands 2030 Community Plan.”

    * Did Redland City Council ask for part of Moreton Bay Ramsar listed tidal mudflats to be included in the PDA or was it just the Toondah Harrbour waterfront site?
    * The Walker Group Toondah Harbour proposal, a misnomer as Toondah Harbour is a small portion of the reclaimed land project, is not remotely representing the Redlands 2030 Community Plan.
    * The major part of the proposed development is of commercial nature, for the financial gain of the Walker Group at the expense of loss of amenities presently enjoyed by the general public and the local residents.

    2. “While the details of this agreement are commercial in confidence and cannot be
    publicly released, I can confirm that there is no gifting of public land to the developer”

    * Did Walker Group Holdings Pty Lty (Walker Group) purchase the approx. 53 hectares of Moreton Bay tidal mudflats they propose to develop for housing and marina?
    * If yes, how was the value of Ramsar listed tidal mudflats determined?

    3. “significant additional foreshore public open space with a promenade, will all be funded and
    constructed by Walker Group.”

    * Presently there is unrestricted foreshore access at GJ Walter Park.
    This foreshore will be replaced by access to marina, houses and approx. 3600 apartments in 10 storey apartment blocks on reclaimed land.
    * The artificial “foreshore” created at the eastern side of the development on reclaimed land is not additional. It is in lieu of the present natural foreshore enjoyed by the general public, local residents and wildlife.

    4. The construction of homes and 10 storey buildings on reclaimed land in front of GJ Walter Park will rob the general public and local residents of their most valuable amenities, the great views of the Bay , Stradbroke and Cassim Island, the unrestricted access to natural foreshore, enjoyment of observations of wildlife including migratory shorebirds, and the tranquillity of this location.

    * These amenities will be replaced by views of 10 storey buildings and the noise created by an estimated 10 000 residents and 400 boats.
    * Local residents losing their Bay, Stradbroke and Cassim Island views will suffer reduced property values .

    5. Other matters of concern :
    (a) Who will finance ongoing regular dredging of marina access required due to the southerly exposure?
    (b) Who will finance the ongoing maintenance of revetment walls? This is an issue experienced with the Raby Bay development.
    (c) What happens to the Avenue of Trees, 100 indigenous Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) planted October 2005 at the GJ Walter Park by Rotary to mark 100 years of community service by Rotary Clubs of Redlands?
    (d) What protection will there be during and after construction, for the local resident koalas, 2-3 koalas seen regularly feeding the trees in the dog off-leash area?

    Attached photos:
    Foreshore from GJ Walter Park at low and high tide
    Endangered Eastern Curlew foraging on the mudflats at GJ Walter Park
    The Rotary Tree planting sign
    Two Koalas seen on the 22.April in GJ Walter Park
    Walker Group Toondah Harbour Development Masterplan

    Best regards

  2. Here, here…..Redland Shire restricts dog access to the beaches within Raby Bay because of “seasonal migrating birds” at given times of the year. However, they do not seem concerned with the destruction of hectares of mangroves that provide crucial habitat for marine life and birds??? As always it is about the dollars, council can reap and further line their pockets with additional rate payers. There its no community focus nor standards.

    • That’s what all the native wildlife said, because it was their homes being destroyed. But they don’t get a say so we have to make a stand for them. We are the custodians of the environment for wildlife and our kids. But I would say we are positive we will get a good result for Walters Park.

  3. I agree to stop the rort and just fix the port. I am involved with Mangrovewatch and Seagrasswatch and have filmed this and Cassim Island shorelines, for environmental protection. We have to protect RAMSAR areas.

  4. After reading the report on the ecology of the area under proposed development, I’m horrified & amazed coming from UK as a regular visitor to Redlands, that this is allowed to happen. Australia gets wonderful publicity on their conservation efforts in relation to The Great Barrier Reef, the Koala population rescue programmes, crocodile control programmes etc. There have been numerous TV programmes broadcast in UK in relation to the conservation programmes, notably the latest made by David Attenborough, our national treasure. A man who is passionate about the wildlife that doesn’t deserve what humans impose on them. The number of sanctuaries & zoological conservation programmes rolled out in Australia rivals the best in the world. Up until now I would have argued Australia was very sympathetic, & forward thinking in relation to development plans. I fully understand the necessity for improvement, upgrading & new builds, but from what I’m reading, no consideration has been given to the long term destruction of precious habitat for all living things. Replacing Gum trees & mangroves won’t happen in weeks or months, doesn’t it take many years? What happens to the Koalas, wading birds, & other protected species in that time?
    I wish the residents of Toondah the very best of luck in their fight for common sense & preservation of a beautiful breathtaking area teeming with wildlife.

    • If you live at Toondah Harbour you will be ashamed of the facilities .The ferries struggle to get in and out at low tide, the ferry terminals are a disgrace.Where are the toilet facilities ? Passengers have to wait in the sun or sit in hot cars also in the sun. Parking for cars is grossly inadequate, at busy times people have to park in surrounding streets .The whole area looks very tired and uninviting,we badly need development,not marinas and high rises but sensible eco-friendly ideas.

    • Yvonne If you read some of this page – http://www.keng.id.au/wtf.php – you may realise that the impression you’ve gained re Australia’s “official” conservation efforts is entirely false.
      Our various state and federal governments have myriads of departments, plans, surveys, scientific reports, etc, ( ad nauseam ) dedicated to environmental conversation ( the mis-spelling is intentional ). Both the federal government ( through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority ) and the Queensland government ( through the department of Environment, land and water ) were jumping through hoops after the UN World Heritage Committee 1st considered listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger a couple of years ago. Collectively, our various governing bodies have turned lip service into an art form. I should add here that this transcends political ideologies across the board …

  5. As per usual the general public are always treated like mushrooms kept in the dark and fed bullshit, and I’m afraid that is all this proposal is is garbage.!!!!!
    Residents, small businesses, property owners are always fed bullshit because we aren’t important enough and we don’t have the money or big brown
    paper bags that developers have.

  6. This is an environment disgrace 🙁 Many wise people have pointed out how this will effect not only the (once) beautiful Redlands that I grew up in *** It is the whole global effect that is the major disaster !!! Please put a STOP to this ludicrous proposal by the Mayor Williams & her once strong supporters! With the new council elected there will surely be a different & healthier view point* Developers are not interested in developing 🙁 It is all about the dreaded greed of the $$$$$ they can rape from this detrimental plan that needs to be STOPPED… NOW Please!!!! The Community will NOT tolerate the Toondah deal O:)

  7. Have heard that the Department of the Environment (Canberra) has received a request under the FOI Act to see all submissions that the Minister received from the Public Comment on the Toondah Harbour Referral.
    Could be good!
    Someone interested in keeping tabs on what the community pointed out ? Checking on how the Minister’s response will address their concerns?
    More interesting would be to see how many public comments supported the Walker project. What did supporters say about how the Ramsar site dredging could be handled safely without destruction of the marine habitat.
    Perhaps off-set planting of sea grass or mangroves, re-location of shore birds?

  8. As a nearby resident of Toondah Harbour I agree with Margaret Hardy. The ferry terminal certainly needs upgrading, but filling the area up with high rise apartments is a huge step in the wrong direction. As for the parking problem – it’s difficult now, and could only become worse. Let’s all get a bit more sensible and sensitive about this beautiful area.

  9. I was told once someone got fined $1,000 for snapping a branch off a mangrove bush to put with his mud crabs to prevent them clawing each other yet our council can destroy there complete habitat. Did they not learn anything from Raby Bay.

  10. I’m with you Margaret Hardy.
    This development must be stopped or seriously reduced at least. It can only be detrimental to the health of Moreton Bay. Please wake up before we lose this pristine marine park.

  11. My appreciation to Margaret Hardy for her excellent letter to the Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad. Thank you for expressing what we want: Good choices. Good decisions. We love the Redlands.

  12. Well said Margaret, I have lived here a long time and don’t want to see it changed so much. My family and I all work and live in the Redlands and love the natural way we live and we don’t require big glossy over development here. I remember going to an objection meeting at GJ Walter park in the late 80’s as they wanted to make more canals into the bay. It was stopped due to the Seagrass, mangroves and dugongs preservation. I know there are still dugongs there as we can see them sometimes from the park. What will happen when the little kids can’t get their feet muddy and wet trying to catch little crabs from the park. A concrete boardwalk and fake beach is not the same. Yes we need bit better facilities at toondah harbour and parking is an issue at peak times but not a lot else is required, there are many sites in Cleveland already being built up with high rise developments. Leave the bay alone please.

  13. Margaret your comments are spot on.
    This whole Toondah Harbour proposal is a sham, to claim that there are so many more carparks is misleading. There are already hundreds of car parks at the Harbour now, and to add 400 berth marina, 3600 units and commercial uses to the mix, plus the lack of visitors car parks is going to be a nightmare. If I recall the new Councillor for Division 2 claims that the Cleveland train station car park can be the overflow and buses can shuttle people back and forth. Wonder where the people needing the train station car park will park, but then we see the units planned above the Cleveland Railway station are also non complying of council car parking policy. If the Federal Government foolishly ignores the environmental issues and the State continues to put their head in the sand regarding this absolute overdevelopment of a marine Park, the people of Redlands will have a huge cost to bear for many decades to come to fix the problems. The spin about jobs jobs jobs is also misleading. The developer will have companies they use be the preferred contractors and all the traddies in Redlands will have little input. Just a recollection of the project of building new School Halls in Redlands, over 27 schools got a Hall I don’t believe one was built with Redlands contractors.

  14. I too live in The Redlands and I agree with everything that Margaret Hardy has written. Margaret you have covered everything in your excellent letter.
    I am very upset at the thought of this over-riding of the Ramsar Convention. Australia’s migratory shorebirds will lose out completely if this horrific development is allowed to take place.

  15. Margaret, that is one of the best letters I’ve read about this debacle. This proposal is certainly not the best we can be.

  16. Margaret Hardy is correct in what she has to say about this gross over-development in Toondah Harbour with deals done behind closed doors. Mayor Williams claims to have the vision for the Redlands community.. could it be said it is known as ‘affluenza’. it is going so far as to destroy a RAMSAR site? All the Redlands community ever wanted was, as a first step, to fix, clear the ferry terminal entry and provide an adequate parking facility for which there is an urgent need. How did this project escalate, grow to where it stands today? Time for State/Federal governments to listen to we, the people, go back to Step 1…as Margaret says: ”’Stop the rort, fix the port”! Only then…move on to further planning that includes consulting with the Redlands community.

  17. I agree totally to what this petition states. Redlands Council is STILL doing backdoor deals with the developer in secret meetings and this greatly annoys and disappoints me.

    This Ramsar site has been protected and giving it away is an absolute crime.

    Do not allow this to happen.

  18. Well said Margaret! I noted that the Minister’s response addresses the decrease in building height and marina berths but neglects to address the increase in the number of dwellings by 350%. Lip service is paid to citizen consultation/feedback, even appearing to be welcomed, as long as it is limited to amelioration. I’m disgusted that the environmental buck has been passed to the Federal Government over this development. The environment should be thriving not merely surviving or ‘limping along’ but in the panic of job creation, decisions are based on dubious and even erroneous assumptions that environmental impact can be managed away. As Margaret points out there are alternative sites for such a development. Why not tack it on in front of the already compromised Raby Bay? Small towns all along the Australian coastline face the challenge of how to create space for the amenity migrants flocking to coastal areas. Many are cashing in on this trend and have employed creative solutions that do not sell off the natural heritage of the area that attracted people in the first place. The meaningful individuality of a place like G.J. Walter Park is obliterated by this vanity project where renewal and revitalisation are the name of the game. It seems this slither of land cannot be left alone; it needs to earn its keep. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the environmental values of both major parties at State and Federal levels. I live in Ms Trad’s electorate and she has lost my vote.

    • Well said Helen. It is unbelievable that some Governments and Councils still actually believe that this type of proposal is acceptable to the majority of normal people. It doesn’t matter which way people vote, most do not want this sort of development in an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is no excuse for most people these days being fully aware of what is happening around them. Then the only ones who want it to go ahead, are clearly the ones with some sort of vested interest.

  19. Margaret Hardy nails it. She calls out the slithery language in the Minister’s letter to those who signed petitions against the Trumpian Toondah Harbour extravaganza. How a straightforward objective to fix the crumbling port was parlayed into a 3600 apartment, ten-storey environmental nightmare built on a Ramsar-list water body is a story perhaps only mayor Williams could fully explain. It’s been her fervent vision to give us the Gold Coast on Moreton Bay. There was no consultation undertaken in good faith. I was present at a ‘forum’ at Dunwich which the community hijacked, furious at the council planners’ scripted sales pitch: our community wanted real answers to real questions. But there was none. As to saving the public purse $116 million for new infrastructure, the Minister piles errors onto lies. Last year her government allocated $90 million for infrastructure at Toondah Harbour. That would pay to fix the port. Let’s just do it, and call a halt to the nonsense of a 20-year, unsustainable mega development that will trash Moreton Bay. Put Cleveland’s big attraction somewhere else.

  20. This letter from Margaret Hardy to Minister Trad is an intelligent clear response to the threatened irreversible destruction of this delicate coastline. Can we all please move into the 21st century as forward thinkers who include and prioritise the well being of the environment , the wildlife and the community. Lets not continue into the future with draconian old-fashioned concepts based on outmoded town planning and profit for a few.

  21. Well stated Margaret Hardy I could not have said this any better myself. This project is plagued with issues not the least of which is the lifestyle change this will impose on all Redlanders. To put it in a nut shell Redlands does not have the infrastructure to support the current rate of development let alone adding a further 10,000 inhabitants. As an example you should look at the current workload placed on staff at the Redlands Hospital now. Simply put they are stretched to the max. Health care workers should never be placed under such a workload as service falls to unacceptable levels let alone the impact of stress placed on the very people who we depend upon to care for us when needed. Before any further development is sanctioned here in the Redlands we need a hospital equally as big as the PA! This is only one issue with our infrastructure there are many more.

  22. Thank you Margaret! You have covered all the community’s objections to this abhorrent proposal. We were NOT consulted about the plan containing 3600 units. Sam, perhaps you could enlighten us as to your solution to the traffic problems in Cleveland, engendered by an extra 6000+ cars trying to use roads already overcrowded, once the units are built? BTW, speaking of infrastructure, could our existing sewerage infrastructure cope with the huge load from 3600 units, and if not, who would pay for any required upgrades? Walker or ratepayers? The Toondah harbour project should first and foremost, address the needs of the ferry terminal and parking, not leave it as a minor part of a rapacious, overblown, environmental disaster.

  23. I believe there is a major push by the RCC to go ahead or bulldoze this type of development through to support the Redlands Development Corporation P/L set up by the RCC. When I have requested facts and figures regarding dredging of the Toondah Development area from Karen Williams I was referred to Peter Kelly from the Redlands Dev. Corp. He said that dredging was the state governments responsibility!!! I then requested details regarding the RDC and Peter Kelly advised as it was a P/L company he did not have to divulge this information. Well we as rate payers pay for the Redlands Dev. Corp. as it falls into the expense budget of the RCC. What is going on here and why do we need an investment corporation within the RCC. This is why the push is on for major developments and not in the interest of the community. We have a real estate P/L company within the RCC. We need answers and what are the salaries and expenses of the Redlands Dev. Corp…..and what are the objectives of this group within the RCC??

    • Maria, you have hit the nail on the head – this Council needs to become transparent in its dealings. Maybe now, with several new faces, it will.

  24. This development should be held up until the governments independent panel has had time to look into the workings of the last Redlands Council association with developers. At the same time look into Jeff Seeney’s call in’s.

  25. Trad’s plan makes Seeney’s plan look benign! What is going on?

    Both Trad and Seeney rely on ….spruiking public consultation (the process bit not the listening bit) and of course the “olde commercial in confidence” chestnut. And the letter to the Clerk of the Parliament …well that shows a lack of respect ….it deserved much better.

    Lewis Carolle’s description becomes more apt as time goes on….

    Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle;
    For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
    Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
    Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
    As black as a tar-barrel;
    Which frightened both the heroes so,
    They quite forgot their quarrel

  26. Well said Margaret Hardy! It is to be hoped that Minister Jackie Trad and all of the current government take note of the concerns expressed in this letter and take steps to ensure that the currently proposed destruction of the RAMSAR site is not permitted.

    • If this proposed development goes ahead, not only will the local ecosystems (including the RAMSAR site) be destroyed, but imminent sea-level rise by the end of this century and beyond will also destroy the commercial development itself. But commercial greed does not think on that time-scale. Australia is progressively destroying its coastal legacy of natural scenery and healthy ecosystems by allowing this kind of obscene human intrusion.

  27. I wholeheartedly agree with every point that Margaret has raised
    The Government need to grow some balls and stop this development and come up with a much more community/environment focussed project which does not destroy our beautiful Moreton Bay and lifestyle.

  28. Did anyone let Walker know that there is this reasoned approach from the community?
    Hope this letter goes to their Corporation as well as to the Minister.
    Are they aware that this will never be a walk-over?

  29. for the 2000 that signed there are 61,000 who didn’t and the majority of those would like to see the nonsense and hysteria to stop and for the project to begin so that we can get the infrastructure assets for the city up and running

    • No one even knew this was going on, now people know momentum will build. This is simply not going to happen. Infrastucture assets, what are u talking about?

    • Sam, I doubt that those who didn’t sign the petition were in favour of this proposal. I reckon they just either didn’t know, didn’t care, or truly believe that they have no power to change things. Guess what? We have the power to change things! You aren’t seeing nonsense and hysteria, you are seeing concerned people determined to do whatever it takes to ensure bad decisions are over-turned. The infrastructure we need is upgraded port facilities and better car-parking. The amount that will be spent, under Walker Corps. proposal, is 8.5% of the total estimated cost of their plan. The Council will then have to find the money for the roads around the area to cope with 10,000 extra people and their vehicles. Still sound good to you?