Obvious problems with Walker Group’s Toondah Harbour project should be discussed publicly by Redland City councillors as a matter of urgency.
Councillors should also be discussing, in public at a general meeting, Walker Group’s lack of progress with the Weinam Creek Priority Development Area.
Plans for a large dredging and apartment construction project in the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area were changed by Walker Group Holdings earlier this month.
On 4th May Walker Group withdrew its project referral to the Federal Government, a referral that had been held up for 17 months because of concerns about the project’s environmental impacts.
Walker Group has issued a one page update about its changes to the project.
But changes to Walker Group’s plans for Toondah were not discussed at Council’s general meeting on 10 May.
It’s understood that councillors have not even been briefed on Walker Group’s changed plans for this huge project which will impact adversely on matters of national environmental significance.
Cr Boglary reappointed as Deputy Mayor
Cr Wendy Boglary was appointed Deputy Mayor of Redland City for a further 12 months at Council’s general meeting on 10 May 2017.
The mayoral minute proposing Cr Boglary’s reappointment was supported by nine of the eleven councillors.
- Crs Boglary, Mitchell, Gollè, Hewlett, Edwards, Elliott, Huges, Bishop and Williams voted FOR the motion.
- Crs Talty and Gleeson voted AGAINST the motion.
Shoreline subdivision plans approved
Subdivision plans for 344 housing lots in Stages 1(a), 1(b) and 1(c) of the Shoreline project were approved unanimously.
Some councillors expressed concerns about ‘out of sequence’ development of this project which was approved controversially by the previous Council and the State Labor Government in 2015.
Mayor Karen Williams declared a perceived conflict of interest but remained in the room and voted.
Budget deficit now expected to be $3.8 million
The final review of Council’s budget for the current financial year showed an operating deficit of $3.8 million.
When Council’s 2016/17 budget was adopted on 14 July 2016 a small operating surplus of $479,000 was predicted by the Mayor.
The small surplus became a deficit of $7.4 million when the first budget review was approved in November 2016. This blowout was attributed to two main factors:
- $4.8M adjustment to depreciation due to asset revaluations and adjustments effective 30 June 2016
- $2.9M reduction in anticipated investment returns from the Redland Investment Corporation (RIC) due to a reduction in the number of
Council owned land parcels to be made available for development.
The reduction in the current year’s expected operating deficit from $7.4 to $3.8 million is explained in the officers report:
The proposed budget review indicates that Council will reduce the operating deficit by $3.6M to $3.8M. The main factors contributing to this movement include an increase in general rates of $901K based on actual growth, an increase in expected water and wastewater revenue of $1.4M, a reduction in anticipated canal and lake special charges levied of $689K, an increase in bulk water purchase costs of $1.7M, an increase in legal fees of $945K and various other activity give ups from year to date savings.
Teak Lane appeal
In a closed (non-public) part of the general meeting councl discussed the appeal against Council’s refusal of an application to build car parks on an environmental corridor next to the Victoria Point Town Centre Shopping Centre.
Councillors voted 6-5 to adopt Option 3 from a report which is confidential until the appeal has been concluded.
- Crs Mitchell, Edwards, Elliott, Talty, Gleeson and Williams voted FOR the motion.
- Crs Boglary, Gollè, Hewlett, Huges and Bishop voted AGAINST the motion
We don’t know what Council approved but the voting pattern suggests that community members who want to have this environmental corridor retained should be concerned.
Pre-general meetings of councillors
It’s often the case that Redland City Council general meetings are notable for what is not discussed.
At the general meeting on 10 May there were many references to matters which had been discussed and even agreed at the pre-general meeting held the day before the general meeting.
Redlands2030 has submitted a Right to Information request for copies of minutes and agendas for some of the non-public meetings of councillors since the local government elections in 2016.
This request is currently being reviewed by the Office of the Information Commissioner following a deemed refusal by Redland City Council.
Minutes and video recording of the meeting
Here is a link to the minutes of the Council’s general meeting on 10 May 2017.
Here is a link to the meeting video recording.