Minor tinkering to the Toondah Harbour plan recently announced by the Walker Corporation will still have over 10,000 people in 10 storey buildings that will almost double Cleveland’s population.
And, at 100 metres, it will still be too close to bird habitat. The latest referral advice (from Walkers) confirms (the development) “will have significant impact on migrating, endangered shorebirds and wetlands of international importance.”
Dredging Moreton Bay is risky business
Dredging sucks millions of marine creatures into oblivion and robs dugong and turtles of feeding grounds. There will be damaging mud plumes drifting across the Moreton Bay Marine Park for years. “Mud is a killer” says marine scientist, Dr Charlie Veron. “All soils become toxic in a marine environment when disturbed.”
Toxins in mud exposed by dredging in Gladstone Harbour in 2011, killed turtle and dugong; commercial and private fishing has still not recovered. Residents eating locally caught fish require medical attention.
Dredging will destroy 34 hectares of sea grass and result in more dredging spoil than that required for Abbot Point. It will mean tens of thousands of trucks carting spoil through town for over 10 years and 20 years of construction dirt and noise.
Toondah Harbour doesn’t need renovating, it needs relocating.
Don’t be persuaded that we need to put up with this development because the harbour needs upgrading. It’s an excuse to build a ten-storey township out to sea. The present – and any future – harbour in a similar location is unsafe, unsound environmentally and unsightly.
More vessels go aground in the approach channel than anywhere else in Moreton Bay because it is narrow, shallow and difficult to navigate in strong winds, and with drying banks either side there is no margin for error. This has resulted in many groundings over the years. A Stradbroke Ferry grounding near Dunwich in December 2015 left 200 passengers stranded for several hours after nightfall.
A refurbished harbour will not stop this danger.
The channel needs constant dredging which kicks up mud, which damages seagrass meadows and is gradually wiping out 50 hectares of adjacent coral beds and wetlands providing habitats for fish and crustaceans.
The 1996 draft of the Moreton Bay Marine Park Zoning Plan considered the east side of Cleveland Point, down to Point Halloran, deserved the highest protection, but couldn’t implement this due to high volumes of traffic using the harbour. They also wanted a go-slow area declared for boats as it is a turtle and dugong habitat and the silt from prop wash was damaging seagrass and coral.
A new departure point for Straddie
In 2014, after impartial deliberations over 2 days, a well-informed team of specialists and community members suggested the Straddie departure point should be on the western side of Cleveland Point. An area already oriented towards boating facilities with VMR and a Boat Club.
According to marina consultant, John Mainwaring, ‘it is far more suitable for the harbour facilities to be located [there] where there has been human intervention and is protected from southerly weather’. The existing channel on this west side doesn’t cross environmentally sensitive zones and is easily widened for commercial craft and there’s space nearby for car parking and infrastructure.
These recommendations for the harbour’s relocation have been ignored by Council because it doesn’t enable a land reclamation of Moreton Bay for high-rise development.
The facilitator of the workshop, Shane Thompson, President of the Australian Institute of Architects, said the Walker proposal for Toondah: “…is a very poor quality piece of work and unworthy of the professionalism that should be expected and available in this part of the world and what the residents of the Redlands deserve. We can only assume that whoever has been responsible is inexperienced or has been inappropriately directed.”
Another attendee, Brit Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Planning, University of Queensland, said: “The Toondah Harbour PDA represents a grossly oversized and inappropriate project on a sensitive site. The implications are seriously problematic on many levels including the environmental, technical, social and architectural…”
There’s much to lose from a rejuvenated Toondah Harbour
Pluses from a relocated harbour
Yet look what we gain from a relocated harbour:
- Rehabilitation of the Toondah environment and establishment of appropriate Marine Park zoning
- Preservation of the oldest green reserve in Queensland: the G.J. Walter Park
- Facilitate the promotion of Queensland’s early colonial heritage, conserved in its original setting
- The grand view is preserved for the Grand View Hotel and for parkland and nearby homes
- A safe all-weather harbour with little risk of grounding
- Tidy, secure parking in a compact 4-level multi-storey carpark, 2 levels of which could be underground
Cleveland was once a popular destination for cruises working from the Brisbane River. Today these cruises can only go to jetties at Scarborough or Redcliffe; they are too long and have too deep a draught to get into Toondah or Raby Bay harbour. Apart from Amity, there are now no jetties suitable for these vessels to land south of the Brisbane river until they reach Southport. Cleveland is missing out. A public jetty at the new location would again attract these cruises.
Redlands has less parkland than most comparable cityscapes. With a relocated harbour, a bayside reserve can become the City’s focal park and venue for markets, concerts and festivals. With heritage, views, breezes and koala habitat left intact, it will stretch from the Grand View Hotel down through the existing harbour site and carpark. With a new mangrove boardwalk and bikeway, it could link up with parks to its south and include a kiosk, interpretive centre, bird hides, koala lookout, swimming pool, kayak and sailboat hire. From Bribie to Southport, no other bayside parkland would match it and residents would be proud.
Its not too late to rethink of the PDA
Redland City Council have not addressed impacts of this 3,600 unit development.
Traffic congestion and dust that will be blown over Cleveland for 20 years have been ignored. No discussion about new roads, schools or extensions to hospitals or public transport. No acknowledgement how the 20 or so cafes and shops planned for Toondah will drag business away from a suffering town centre or impact koala population.
A report into development in the Redlands by planning consultants, Urbis, found there would be no residential shortfall and hence no need for major projects until 2041. And since this 2014 report, there have been well over a thousand units and houses been built with many more planned. Plus Shoreline, another development of 10,000 people just approved for southern Redlands.
Relocating the harbour would be popular with most residents, but some Council members and the Mayor rarely listen to constituents, the science or the experts. The community are angry how the need for a refurbished harbour has been used for a land grab and profit.
Instead of Redland City Council being the guardians of the public good and custodians of community values, they’ve become the facilitators only of growth and development.
Make a submission: Say no to Toondah Harbour tinkering!
This outlandish development must not get the go-ahead in any shape or form. It will contribute nothing to the area but will severely impact liveability of the area for decades and will permanently impact the marine environment.
The new referral is open to public comment until 25 May 2017…its not long so get your submission in.
The new Referral reference number is 2017/7939.
The referral documents can be accessed here.
Please send your comments quoting the reference number and title of the referral to:
Fax: 02 6274 1620
Or post to:
Environment Assessment Branch
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
And don’t forget make your views known by making a submission and please forward this post on to others.
Graham is a master class 5 skipper and a Yactmaster with instructor’s endorsement. he has 36 years experience in skippering various passenger craft in Moreton Bay from Southport to Caloundra and sail-training vessels along Qld coast, Lord Howe, New Caledonia and Vanuatu
He started first ferry service to St Helena and ran it for 21 years and in 1998 won the Qld Tourism Award. He was founder member and served on the committee of the Qld Commercial Vessel Association for 14 years