I will highlight the looming ecological atrocities which may be sanctioned and perpetrated by the Local and State Governments in the Redlands enviroment over the next few months.
The 200th anniversary of the passing of the great mariner Matthew Flinders was recently marked by the unveiling of a statue in England to commemorate the occasion. I make reference to Flinders as he was the first white man to experience the majesty of Moreton Bay before its abject exploitation and degradation for the justification of “economic prosperity” which has occurred relentlessly since Governor Gipps sank in the rich spoil grounds adjacent to Cassim Island and Cecil Fison surveyed the entrance channel leading to Toondah Harbour.
Since then we have seen the obliteration of 100 hectares of critical coastal wetland vegetation on the western boundaries of the internationally recognized Moreton Bay Marine Park. These Ramsar listed habitats, encompassing the mangrove ecosystems surrounding Oyster Point, Toondah Harbour and Sandy and Cassim Islands (as well as Weinam Creek) should be spawning grounds for fish such as mangrove jack, snapper, bream and flathead. Mud and blue swimmer crabs and brain coral reefs should live here. Healthy seagrass meadows should support dugongs, turtles (Green, Loggerhead and Hawkesbill), rays and a diversity of shark species in this area. All of this marine biodiversity is at great risk of being entombed under dredging sediment for a marina breakwall and tenement slum development.
In collusion with a select group of developers, governments have approved the razing of all existing green space and wildlife corridors at Kinross and Pinklands to make way for residential small lot housing. There appears to be tentative support for the influx of thousands of dwellings between Redland Bay and Pt Talburpin.
After the Newman Government was elected a four year study into the volumes of water being extracted from North Stradbroke Island was quashed and suppressed due to the damning results which would have exposed the unsustainable impacts on the freshwater aquifers. These fresh water resources are already under extreme pressure supporting Redland City’s existing population.
With barely ten inches of rain falling since last July, the incumbent decision makers want to allow potentially another twenty thousand residents to become reliant on a finite and precious water resource which is only replenished by annual precipitation. The clear felling of the last remaining tracts of significant forests around Woodlands Drive and the Mt Cotton Catchment will contribute to further decline in rain fall and exert undue reliance on Stradbroke Island’s fresh water aquifers.
If the fresh water levels are depleted to the point where salinity equilibriums become dominant then a roll over effect may result. This could then lead to Blue and Brown lakes becoming salt reservoirs which would be an unprecedented ecological calamity which can never be repaired or restored.
Another major threat to the biological foundations of North Stradbroke Island is the extension of sand mining leases by the State Government, potentially allowing unfettered activities until 2036. Sand mining activities compromise the finite supplies of water and in the process create a low level radioactive aftermath never publicized by regulatory authorities. This is why they restrict public use of rehabilitated sand dunes and do not disclose the damage which has afflicted ground water reserves over decades of abuse.
I hope that when considering the demands of vested interest with their obsessive intent to exploit our community’s life force for financial gain, the current Council fully considers the consequences of their actions.
As a community, we need to scrutinise the actions of our local council and the State Government closely and let them know that we are watching them. We need to ask these elected representatives the tough questions and remind them of their obligations to act in the public interest. This includes safeguarding our natural environment so that it can sustain us for many many more generations.
Are we going to have Eldorado for the chosen few?
Or Apocalypse Now!