Residents petition for a better Toondah plan

Help stop plans for dredging and development in this area

Walker Corporation’s Toondah ‘master plan’ would destroy internationally significant wetlands through massive dredging and reclamation

Redlands residents are petitioning the Government to change Toondah Harbour development plans to prevent massive environmental destruction.

In 1989 similar development plans were canned by the state government following community opposition including a petition signed by 12,000 people. Nearly 30 years later local residents are mounting a campaign for the Government to ensure that redevelopment of the Harbour is properly planned to avoid damaging the environment.

To help save this environmentally significant area from dredging and development you can:

  1. Sign the Start Again petition and get others to sign it
  2. Email Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and ask her to End the rort, just fix the port
  3. Like and support Facebook pages:

Toondah development plans cause a STIR

The STIR parliamentary petition

The STIR parliamentary petition

For many Redlands residents the need to save wetlands around Toondah Harbour is an ongoing challenge.  In 1988  the community gathered together and defeated plans by a consortium of Hooker Corporation, Raptis and others (Hansard 1988 page 2009) for a massive  canal development that would have reclaimed 130 hectares of sea bed and push development 2 kilometres into Moreton Bay.

At that time, resistance was led by  “Secure Toondah’s Invaluable Resources” (STIR) who gathered 12 000 signatures on a parliamentary petition to kill off the development. These were the days before social media so the 12,000 names and addresses were collected in hard copy.

In 1990, the newly elected Member for Cleveland, Darryl IMG_2222Briskey, paid tribute to STIR in his inaugural speech to the Queensland Parliament. He said:

Only after 12,000 signatures were collected on a petition was the development halted. I was proud to be part of a group which organised that petition. I congratulate STIR—Secure Toondah’s Invaluable Resources—for its work. That multimillion-dollar plan was opposed by conservationists, fishermen and local residents.

Mr Briskey went on to say

IMG_2200

The Government of the day accepts that Toondah plans of 1989 “were unacceptable”. What happened in 2014?

We must not forget that ultimately the environment sustains all life. If we do not act quickly to protect it, our quality of life will deteriorate and, eventually, continued environmental destruction will mean an end to humanity. We owe it to our children to protect and to learn to live in harmony with our environment. We must all work together to leave a better world for them.

In 2013, the Redland City Council sneakily and without any community input struck a deal with the then Minister for Economic Development to void Council’s planning scheme and designate the Toondah Harbour a Priority Development Area.  This action was a breach of trust between Council and the local community who believed the future of this area had been resolved in 1989.

History repeats itself

In 2013 and again in 2014 Council (and the State Government) asked the community for its views on another iteration of the Toondah development. These processes completely ignored the concerns previously put forward by STIR (with the Council spokespersons seemingly unaware of the history of community action).

Following a misleading consultation process in early 2014 the Government approved a development plan for 800 residential apartments, some 10 storey towers and a 400 berth marina. Walker Corporation was then designated as preferred developer following an expression of interest process which has never been explained in any detail to the community. A ‘Master Plan’ for 3,600 apartments, based on extensive dredging and reclamation of Moreton Bay has now been referred to the Federal Government for consideration of environmental impacts.

Esme Whitby, a long term resident of Cleveland, was an activist in the STIR campaign. Of the new development scheme she says:  “I don’t agree with it at all. They took enough. ..out there at Raby Bay”.

When asked about the efforts of STIR, Esme added “We all took the petition forms around and we all worked very hard to stop it in 1988 and we won. We will just have to do it again”. 

Redlands residents initiate a new petition

With their lifestyle and quality of life threatened by congestion, traffic noise, loss of peace and quiet and the local park to be carved up,  residents near the Toondah PDA feel betrayed.  They are gathering together to make their voice even louder using social media and the lessons they learned through the STIR campaign.

Community concerns were reported on mainstream and local media after a community protest was held outside the Council Chambers.

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The parliamentary petition of ToondahFriends…..stop the PDA and start again.

Since then, new Facebook pages have emerged to give voice to community concerns:

  •  Toondah Friends which has a growing following among those people who will be adversely affected by the mega development, including Moreton Bay itself.  This Facebook page has launched a Petition to be tabled in the Queensland Parliament calling for the PDA plans to be “withdrawn”.
  • Save our Bay – Toondah Harbour  which looks at the broader implications of Toondah especially the impacts on “Straddle”, Cleveland CBD and the existing Raby Bay precinct.

Many people have come forward and asked  “what can I do to help?”  Broadly the answer is for people to make themselves familiar with the issues and help, support or join one of the community groups trying to get Council and the State Government to stop the Toondah planning and start again.

In addition to following the Facebook pages people are encouraged to sign the hard copy Parliamentary Petition (pages can be downloaded HERE).

People can also send the Redlands2030 open letter  titled “end the rort, just fix the port” to the Deputy Premier, Ms Jackie Trad.

Jeannette Douglass, one of the organisers of the new Facebook Page, Toondah Friends knows many of the people who fought with STIR in the 1980’s are still in the area.  She said recently

“We all want to see the harbour renovated but we will be alerting people of the Redlands and across Queensland and internationally of the assault on Moreton Bay, the Marine Park, migratory birds and the RAMSAR site.

What do local council candidates say?

Sitting Councillor Craig Ogilvie has been a longstanding critic of the scale of the Toondah proposals and has worked with community representatives.  In early 2015 he said (on Vimeo)

Council and the State Government have developed a plan for the Toondah Harbour area. In my opinion it is commercially unrealistic and will not deliver on the upgrades that are needed in the area. ….. If implemented in its entirety the plan fails in that it has unacceptable impacts on the environment, amenity, lifestyle and working function of the area. 

More recently, he has questioned the number of car parking spaces proposed by Walker Corporation.

Announced candidate for Division 2, Peter Mitchell said

In principle I am a solid supporter of the development. I believe the potential for benefit for Cleveland and Stradbroke Island far outweigh the negatives. I look forward to getting up to date factual information at a proposed candidates briefing. I will listen carefully to the best experts available to me. And I urge people to calmly and intelligently engage in the ongoing process. I look forward to the EIS to ensure the impacts are acceptable. I am really excited at the opportunities this presents.

Mayoral candidates have opposing views

Mayor Karen Williams’ support for massive real estate development at the Toondah Harbour has been widely reported including vague and unsubstantiated statements like:

“This is great news for the Redlands community which has been calling for Toondah Harbour to be upgraded for 50 years”

She has totally ignored the 12,000 people who signed the STIR petition calling for the the area to not be dredged and reclaimed.

Mayoral candidate Greg Underwood says Walker Corporation’s Toondah plans are a matter of deep concern.

He says the Toondah project needs to be based on the following principles:

1. Good marine transport facility with proper vehicle access,

2. Enhanced community access & facilities,

3. Commercial opportunities including marina & on-shore holiday/residential apartments in order to facilitate Items 1 & 2.”

The battle lines are drawn, and the mega Toondah development will be a pivotal issue in the March 19 Council elections as people become increasingly aware of the project’s scope and likely impact on traffic, livability in the area and environmental impacts.

Have your say

To help save this environmentally significant area from dredging and development you can:

  1. Sign the Start Again petition and get others to sign it
  2. Email Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and ask her to End the rort, just fix the port
  3. Like and support Facebook pages:

Redlands2030 20 January 2016

Updated 3 February with link to on-line e-petition.

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

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3 thoughts on “Residents petition for a better Toondah plan

  1. Those following the Galilee Basin coal saga with Adani have probably already read the report published in an Indian paper on 16 January. Briefly, the environmental clearance for an ambitious port expansion by Adani in Hazira near Surat in India was overturned and a penalty imposed for restoration of damaged environment.
    The report can be read at
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-lambasts-adani-group-for-environment-damage-in-hazira/article8114329.ece
    Of course Adani has nothing to do with Toondah but those reading further might be interested in the detail of environmental damage to pristine coastland and the consequent ripple effect .
    Toondah doesn’t have to get to this stage. The Redland 2030 call to “stop the rort, fix the port” should be heeded

    • Yes, proper process is required the whole way. Yesterday the Federal Environment Department stated that Adani’s failure to disclose its part in an African pollution disaster was a “mistake”. Amazing stuff! It should have rung alarm bells.
      Toondah is a big project for sure. One big hole and lots of dumping within a Ramsar site. We don’t want a future “made a mistake” excuse.
      Go the petition!
      Double Go the Deputy Premier listening!