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.
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.
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.
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