This week we publish readers’ letters about Redland City Council’s cuts to funding for the Donald Simpson Community Centre, some questions about democracy for the new CEO and caring for our coastal areas.
But first, we publish the original version of our own letter to the Bulletin, about Toondah Harbour.
Minister Frydenberg’s decision about Walker Group’s proposed development at Toondah Harbour acknowledges significant environmental issues of national significance and requires rigorous investigation.
But people in the local area have many additional concerns about a project which has been poorly planned without genuine community consultation. Since initial planning by Redland City Council the project has grown like topsy from 800 to 3,600 apartments – a 450% increase.
Clearly the Walker Group found the original planning was not to their liking – so they fixed it without bothering with the messy process of public consultation.
When the Federal government objected to the project’s impact on migratory shorebirds, Walker Group removed the public parkland component which may have offered a benefit to some in the community. But they kept the profitable 3,600 apartments component.
Locals will wear the costs resulting from traffic congestion, loss of open space, capped infrastructure charges, loss of amenity and of course the overloading of already inadequate facilities like hospitals, schools and community services.
Many of the Toondah questions should have been resolved in the planning stage. These include fundamental planning and policy questions like revoking parts of the Moreton Bay Marine Park, ignoring the Urban Footprint of the SEQ Regional Plan, revoking parts of GJ Walter Park, breaching the Ramsar convention, rescinding international wader bird treaties and political commitments to protect koalas.
The staging of the development is likely to result in more community disappointment. It seems likely that much touted public facilities such as new barge and ferry terminal will only be delivered after the first 900 apartments are sold. That might be 10 years after the first cubic metre of Toondah wetlands is dredged.
Some politicians have been suggesting that the public will have further opportunities to have a say about the proposed development. But what is the point of having a say when politicians only listen to developers, especially those developers who make generous political donations.
The community is increasingly concerned and uneasy about the scale and impacts of the proposed Toondah mini city.
It’s time for our council to come clean with the community and make all the details about its various agreements with the Walker Group publicly available. No more hiding behind the implausible excuse of ‘commercial in confidence’.
This is the original version of a letter published by the Redland City Bulletin on 28 June.
Treat coastal areas with respect
Very recently Dr Steven Miles reminded us that our coastal wetlands are the lungs of Queensland. How vital that we residents of Queensland value such a heritage and treat our coastal areas with respect and support in future planning. Will the Redland City Councillors in studying our coastal situations, leave developer economics out of this equation? Wise leaders would do so and place a huge value on what we have inherited from the peoples of the past.
Dr David Suzuki advised us all that “we have failed to address the fundamental truth that endless growth is impossible in a finite world”. We hope our Redlands coastal gems are valued far more than the dollars and cents that seem to pervade the thinking of our Council members currently. The healthy colony of koalas on Cleveland’s coastal strip is far more precious than any infrastructure built purely for someone’s gain and everything else’s huge loss.
Catering to rich overseas customers who purely wish to live grandly with water views is no compensation for valuing and retaining our much loved coastlines, historic trees, uniquely fascinating koalas and birdlife and exercise areas for our population. Dr Charlie Veron, an international authority on corals stated that Moreton Bay’s unique corals are at risk of being wiped out due to the huge scale of proposed dredging. Is anyone in leadership listening?
Our Redlands youth deserve to learn many more skills than just building and dredging. How many invitations has the Council given to Universities in SE Qld whereby many more skills can be accessed so much closer than the travel they face in 2017? Surely investing in building higher education facilities makes much more sense.
A 19th century Cree Indian wisely observed “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money”.
New CEO a “staunch supporter of democracy”
I saw the statement by the new RCC CEO Andrew Chesterman that “he would be a staunch supporter of Democracy”. This statement quite obviously requires considerable clarification as Democracy remains undefined. While many extoll the virtues of a Great Democracy, Democracy is used and abused by governments around the world because it remains undefined.
Is the Democracy of the CEO the Democracy of the then Premier Campbell Newman who passed legislation, firstly to cut funding to legal aid to stop community groups from challenging the government on contentious planning matters, or secondly when Campbell Newman passed legislation to limit the rights of the community to make submissions on matters & issues that were not in their immediate area of residence.
Or is the Democracy of the new CEO that of the Council that took legal action against community members who, under their Democratic Rights, criticised the Council for failing to take effective action to stop the decline in the koala population, which had been in steady decline for the past twenty years and had passed the point of sustainability.
While private enterprise has encouraged the practice of constructive criticism leading to quality outcomes, governments demonstrate their vulnerability by denigration of those who dare to criticise. The community requires clarification.
Funding cuts for Donald Simpson Centre
The community concerns about the cuts in funding for the Donald Simpson Community Centre continues.
But after having been repeatedly told by Division 2 Cr Peter Mitchell and Division 9 Cr Paul Gleeson that no other organisation received as much funding as the Donald Simpson Centre I was surprised to find out that the Redland Museum in fact received $212,607. That is more than the allocation previously given to the DSC.
I now wonder what will pop up next?
Is it worth asking local Councillors ( Elliot, Talty, Gleeson, Mitchell and Mayor Williams) to (again) “please explain?” We all need to take some time to send them an email and ask for the explanation!
We need to tell them that we the voters request they make the wise and right decision to reinstate funding to the Donald Simpson Community Centre, Cleveland.
The audited statements of the museum can be found here.