Residents of Coochiemudlo Island are concerned about Redland City Council’s proposal to implement a Foreshore Landscape Plan which does not recognize the unique character of “Coochie”.
On 29 October 2014 Carolyn Brammer expressed the concerns of Coochie residents to a meeting of the Redland City Council. Here is what she said.
My Name is Carolyn Brammer and I am a resident of Coochiemudlo Island. I am accompanied by other residents from Coochie. We do not represent any one particular group but we are all members of the many groups on the Island such as Bushcare, Heritage Society, Garden Club, Coastcare, Native Nursery, and many more.More, importantly we are all very passionate about Coochiemudlo Island and we want to work with Redland City Council for the best possible outcome for our Island, the Redlands and beyond.
We have come here today because we want each and every one of you to ensure that the natural resources on Coochiemudlo Island are safeguarded and not filled with unnecessary, poorly researched infrastructure.
There are economic and environmental opportunities for our island if we work together. Coochiemudlo Island needs an overall top down plan for the Island not piece-meal projects undertaken when there are funds in the budget.
The recent Coochiemudlo Island Foreshore Draft Landscape Plan, of which there was minimal, constructive public consultation (just plenty of coloured brochures with a distinct lack of detail) appears to be another one of these piece-meal projects with barbeque settings concentrated in a tight zone between the ferry and barge ramp.
After visiting a number of parks around the Redlands and seeing the landscaping efforts at Point Lookout, it’s obvious Council is replicating the same suite of curvy concrete paths, lean to shelter sheds, BBQs and picnic tables through-out the Redlands. By replicating this style Council is destroying “Our Sense of Place” which is unique to Coochie. The very reason residents and visitors come to the island.
We need to retain the “Essence of Coochie” Don’t add more material structures in concentrated zones just because there is money in the budget. Sometimes less is best.
Our tiny island, mid-way between two PDA’s (Weinam Creek and Toondah Harbour) is under pressure like never before from south-east Queensland’s burgeoning population growth and our own urbanization. The challenge for us all is how best to retain the valued natural resource of our bush-lined, sandy beaches, the closest to Brisbane city, for future generations.
What we have is so precious and it’s valued by international tourists. For a number of years now Araucaria Ecotours has been bringing time-strapped overseas visitors to Coochie on a regular monthly basis. Why? Because the island offers such a diverse range of eco systems within close proximity of our capital city.
The groups turn left at the jetty, walk the beach past Red Rock then cross-over onto the mangrove track past the ochre caves to our northern Morwong Beach stopping to watch the visiting waders and other wildlife. They return via the eastern beaches through our Ramsar designated wetland with that wonderful vista across Moreton Bay seeing turtles, dugong and birds of prey along the way.
When we met recently, Araucaria Ecotours owner Doctor Ronda Green (who is also Chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia), made one pertinent comment. “You’ve got a real problem with asparagus weed on the mangrove track”.
It’s not all about new bbq shelters and concrete paths. We need to manage our natural resources better, spend more on re-vegetation and maintenance of what makes our island so unique.
What research did Council Officers undertake to say that people come to Coochiemudlo Island to walk along a curvy concrete path to cook on a BBQ under a shelter shed alongside others in a tight zone on Main Beach?
After speaking with visitors to Coochie our research shows they come for the old-fashioned beach experience. They arrive by ferry or barge to what appears to be a deserted Island with bush-clad sandy beaches.
Because of its vegetated fringe, Coochie is unlike all the other inhabited Island in the Bay.
Next month the island will be showcased at an International Conference in Florence by a Landscape Architect, Catherine Brower who has been captured by Coochie’s natural landscape and its engaging community and is working with the Heritage Society to have our unique natural landscape heritage listed.
We’re not alone in the sense that there’s something askew – 20 years ago Professor Darryl Low Choy now the Professor of Environment & Landscape Planning, Head of Planning at Griffith University who recently spoke at Coastcare’s AGM, talked about the special quality or “Essence of Coochie” in a chapter of the book, Chronicles of Coochie:
The physical proximity of the island to the mainland can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Greater accessibility and convenience are often cited as examples of some of the advantages. On the downside there are many examples worldwide of uncaring, unwitting and/or unsympathetic decisions which have sought to extend the mainland coastal environments to physically embrace nearby “ continental islands.
These often controversial proposals have been characterised by conceptual thinking and design intentions which has tended toward a “sameness” mentality ie the recreation/replication of a typical mainland-type environment on an island which then dominates or subsumes those special qualities of the island’s character.
It is in fact the co-incidence of these special island qualities and the desire from some quarters to ignore these qualities and to impose a “sameness” regime which is at the crux of the most contemporary island management problems and conflicts”
Coochie is at the crossroads now.
Before you “Rubber Stamp” the latest Foreshore Landscape Plan with its curvy concrete paths, shelter sheds, BBQ’s and picnic tables please make sure you not destroying a little more of the “Essence of Coochie”
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