Don’t kill the goose with PDAs at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek

The goose that laid the golden eggs

The goose that laid the golden eggs

Towards the end of last year, Redlanders were informed by the Mayor and the State MP for Cleveland through email and brochure about the wonderful benefits of the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek PDAs.

Later, in the “Our Redland” supplement of the Bayside Bulletin, “sea-loving billionaire Lang Walker” told us more of what we should be looking forward to. All three agreed that the community has been well and truly consulted and our views carefully noted. They also assured us that there would be no “net loss” to the community when the development went ahead.

Despite their assurances that the projects are so universally beneficial, there are many serious concerns. The land that the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek PDA’s will be built on is largely public land: public, well used and loved, open community parks.

Dredging at Toondah Harbour

Dredging to maintain the channel into Toondah Harbour (click to enlarge)

The hectares of Moreton Bay that will be dredged and turned into private marina berths are public property as well. The developer is being given our public property to create a resort style project that will provide, according to Mr Walker, much needed retail outlets, restaurants, taverns, 400 private marina births and two, three, seven and ten storey residential blocks.

Should these projects go ahead, Mr. Walker anticipates that the construction phase alone will go on for 10 years. During such massive construction and bay dredging, these areas will be completely off limits to Redland citizens. Children starting primary school at that time will be nearly finished high school without ever being allowed to play or picnic in these popular family parks.

For all those years hundreds of workers will be arriving daily in their vehicles along with fleets of construction machinery and building material. Access to parking and water transport for island residents and tourists will be chaotic. Boating and fishing will be significantly restricted near the PDA areas whilst adjacent areas will be contaminated with silt from the marina dredging.

G.J. Walter Park's Norfolk Pine trees

G.J. Walter Park’s Norfolk Pine trees

In G.J. Walter Park the one hundred trees, planted ten years ago to celebrate Rotary’s 100th anniversary, will all be destroyed. Eucalypts planted by the community 25 years ago to support native animals, birds and butterflies will make way for a road. The hundreds of mangroves lining the bay, the seagrass, the crab habitat, the fish breeding grounds all go – forever. It is impossible to replace this environmental wipeout. No net loss? This is total, complete and utter devastation.

The previous State government was going to give away important public assets for dubious short term economic benefits. The newly elected State government  should put the PDAs on hold for the time being. This would give the community an opportunity to make a fresh case for the preservation of these vital, vibrant and much needed public spaces. Queenslanders rejected the selling of public assets – we must ensure we don’t give them away.

Eastern curlew feeding on site of proposed 400 berth marina

Eastern curlew feeding on site of proposed 400 berth Toondah Harbour marina

We should remember the folk tale,  The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs which cautions us against  short sighted greedy behaviour that risks the long term benefits of  our assets.

Right now, the goose is still alive. Lets make sure that it doesn’t get well and truly plucked.

Post by Dr Brian Whitelaw – 1 March 2015

Further reading about PDAs

Toondah Harbour PDA: silk purse, sow’s ear or pig’s breakfast?

Doris Day and the mudflats

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

8 thoughts on “Don’t kill the goose with PDAs at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek

  1. Today I listened to a radio interview by the architect who rejigged the fit out in the new Parliament House in Canberra so that a power saving of 40% in 1 year was able to occur. He was about to deliver an address to property developers in Brisbane about sustainable development and one comment he made was that the smart developer treated trees as valuable and did very little clear felling on a new development site as the developer would only need to plant trees after the development was finished. So why in the Redlands do we have a plethora of not-so-smart developers who hate trees! Any chance of Toondah getting approval means curtains for trees that the community have a great regard.

  2. Check your facts before putting articles out there. The photo u have used of the dredging has absolutely nothing to do with the Toondah harbour project. That dredger you have taken a photo of and labelled as affecting the environment is working on the barge passage into Cleveland and are working to very strict regulations and nothing to do with what you are referring to. Be careful of your allegations

  3. Dr Whitelaw should put his post on the Face Book of the local federal member. ( Mr Laming is canvassing opinions on whether Canberra should tick off on Toondah etc.) While not all of the issues in Dr Whitelaw’s post are federal matters, it behoves the local federal member to demonstrate a little more knowledge of the complexities of the PDAs and the strength of local feeling on several aspects. It is not a simple matter of “yes wouldn’t it be great…”. I understand one post on Mr Laming’s Face Book page re Toondah has already disappeared. You guessed it. It was attempting to say that there wasn’t overwhelming support for the huge development of Toondah even though the existing transport hub needs upgrading; 15 storey apartments
    blocks will be an eyesore and cause even more traffic problems. As well this same post thought there were already enough apartment blocks proposed or being built in the area.
    Are we witnessing approval by Face Book?

    • You should apologize “Me Too” because a careful scrutiny of the Member’s Face Book shows a post sounding very much like the one to which you refer.
      But you seem to be making a point: from where should the federal Member be getting his opinions?
      There is some serious discussion around the ridges and knowledge of the Bay is born and bred in many Redlanders. The Redlands 2030 Community Plan endorsed the importance of the Bay. Then there was the weekend planning exercise way back led by leading architects and others drawing attention to a better way to do things, incorporating Cleveland not cutting it out.
      But it’s a fact of the age….decisions by experts in one liners on social media. What is the role of good planning and how will it respond to the trendy opinions?

  4. We couldn’t agree more with Dr. Whitelaw. 1. It’s public land; 2. The trees will be lost, including some landmark, historic trees; 3. We need more shops like a hole in the head – check out the empty ones in Cleveland’s main street; 4. Who is going to live in high-rise apartments in Cleveland? The current 6-7 storey apartment blocks have taken months – years – to find tenants; 5. Dredging a channel for a marina to take 400 boats would destroy the beauty of the area for all residents and visitors.
    This is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is unique. And at the moment anyone is able to enjoy it. We find it horrendous that this development may take 10 years to finish, with all the noise, dust, inconvenience, heavy-vehicle traffic etc, which would be detrimental to this area. To allow this plan to proceed certainly would be to bring on total and utter devastation. We need a much more practical solution to the ‘Gateway to the Bay,’ but the current idea should be canned.

  5. The issue for Wienam Creek is that of access to the islands , If public transport hubs are to be taken over for profits then the reinstatement of public facilities is to be borne by the profiteers and not the ratepayers or tax payers . What bridgeheads and transport routes will be paid for with the state governments profits from our facilities being turned into upmarket facilities of zillionaires ??

  6. The terms of reference for the Weinam Creek Priority Development Area should be re-visited and amended. All Southern Moreton Bay Islands and especially the transportation and infrastructure problem on and to these islands must be included in the Priority Development Area PDA. The current PDA at Weinam Creek does not address the real problems we are facing. As the PDA Development has been deferred for one year, now is the time to finally get it right.

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