Is support for Toondah a fairy tale?

Fairy Tales
Over the past few months there have been claims that the Toondah Harbour PDA scheme enjoyed community support. But where is the evidence? The available facts suggests that the community is very concerned about the scheme.

So claims of vast support should probably be filed in the fiction section of the library, perhaps under “Fairy Tales”.

Soon after the draft scheme was released for public consultation the Member for Cleveland, Mark Robinson, was quoted saying said he believed “the vast majority” supported the government’s proposal. Most people at that stage had not a chance to understand the proposal, let alone its environmental and other impacts. Just after the consultation period was closed and submissions were being collated Robinson was at it again, saying” “It is clear already that local residents support the key features of the Toondah Harbour PDA plan”. Again, he did not support his claim with any fact based evidence.

Recently in State Parliament, Robinson said that there were strong levels of public support for the project. He went on to say: “Stakeholder groups, including those representing community, business and environmental interests, have also had their say and have been largely positive.” Yet again he provided no evidence to for his claims.

Publicly available evidence indicates significant community concern about the Toondah scheme.

A petition to parliament calling for Toondah Harbour plans to be withdrawn attracted 1,200 signatures in about three weeks. About 400 people, so far, have supported an electronic petition calling for the Toondah Harbour scheme to be withdrawn.

The Bayside Bulletin has published letters and comments from many residents about Toondah Harbour which collectively indicate widespread and ongoing community concern about the scheme and its impacts.

Redland Council claims it received feedback about Toondah Harbour from more than 2,000 people including 583 formal submissions. However, the report to the Council meeting on 19 March about the submissions received was completely silent about the public’s attitude to the scheme.

The Council and Mayor Karen Williams unveiled a “Community Research Report” at the end of the consultation period, a bit like a magician pulling a rabbit out of the hat. The Council suggested in various media releases that this “research” showed support for the Toondah Scheme.

However, careful analysis of the report reveals that this “research” did not provide any useful information about community views on the Toondah Scheme. Survey questions were structured to obtain positive responses to vague notions rather than finding out what the public thinks about the proposed scheme and its environmental impacts.

The stories being told about community support for Toondah Harbour scheme appear to be nothing more than fairy tales.