Russell Island needs a bridge

Weinam Creek Ferry Terminal

Weinam Creek Ferry Terminal

Russell Island residents are living in the dark ages with insufficient infrastructure, no street lighting and no side walks resulting in recent deaths.

We have dirt roads which are a health risk. Ferry terminals are outdated and uncovered, on the Island, leaving people to suffer extreme weather conditions, rained on while blowing a gale.

Trip hazards with uneven old planking and steel rail track as obstacles mean it is only a matter of time before serious injury results. Ferries, packed to the gunwales, are not coping. Break downs mean people are now unable to rely on this service for work.

People sitting in the back open area in winter are getting sprayed along the way, just to get a seat or in the case of claustrophobia, just to get away from feeling packed like sardines. Queues are getting longer by the day. The disabled, elderly and young children are standing in what looks like at times 80 meter line up’s after pulling luggage trolleys for a long stretch. That’s if you are lucky enough to get a car park !!

Vehicle barge trips are expensive

Vehicle barge trips are expensive

Barge/ ferry fees are continuously climbing (barges now $100 return), leaving residents unable to afford to continue to travel for work or to see family and friends. Rarely do visitors come to visit family on the Island due to the high costs involved.

We have a subdivided community that has suffered enough due to the bridge that was originally planned for, but never built.

Parking is a problem

Parking is at breaking point. Some calculations are provided for example.  A large car is about 2 metres wide by 5 metres long that’s 10 square metres. A thousand cars would take up 10,000 square metres or 2.5 acres. If we needed to park 10,000 cars that’s 25 acres without room to open doors or reversing room. Close to 40 acres would acutually be required for this number of cars.

That is a lot of prime real-estate. If calculations are correct 40 acres equals 270 house blocks. That’s probably half the money for a bridge just in land value, then add barge infrastructure that’s probably the other half that would pay for a bridge.

Redland Bay rate payers I’m sure would prefer the ocean view not a growing car park facility for the Islands. So come on Redlands get in with the fight for the bridge.

Will there ever be enough parking for us all ? Would barges ever cope? I don’t think so.

Years of neglect

People are continually screaming out for required infrastructure as it is like living in a poverty stricken third world country !!

I know a fellow who used to live on the other side of the Island who would walk to the 4.20am ferry. It took him about 2 hours to walk and after a hard day’s work did it all over again, he was trapped. Due to high cost of travel he could not afford a taxi or to move. There are no buses. Essentially you are stranded and at the mercy of the Bay Islands Transit Service (BITS) and the Council.

Some sleep in their cars and are put at risk as they have missed the last ferry. People experience entrapment as ferries stop running before midnight and do not resume until 4.20am.

Most people would say bugger that, too expensive or could not sleep in a car. Then claim unemployment and perhaps lose all you have worked for.

The isolation contributes to kids turning to drugs and alcohol as a future with jobs and university is out of reach for some. As a result, we have another line up for unemployment. Lets give our kids the opportunity to get out of the poverty trap, provide a dream of a future and build the bridge.

The children don’t often get a say so lets do it for them. Lets get the Island an economically beneficial future not backwards or stuck in the present where it is a “haven for the unemployed”. It is not too much to ask to have the Island full of working people, families and retired living comfortably, where family can visit without breaking the bank.

We do it all the time in other communities, we build we put in and move to the future with a good growing economy. I can’t see why the Council leaves Russell Island so neglected. It is shameful.

You would think government would back the economy and the working man, rather than leaving it dormant and only attractive to people who want it to stay dormant and non productive while collecting Centrelink, costing us all more in taxes.

Destruction of marine life

Turtle killed by boat strike

Turtle killed by boat strike in Moreton Bay

We now have a highway of ferries and barges tearing up our bay. Our protected marine life is being slaughtered by outdated propeller driven ferries and barges. Another turtle has just been found washed up after being hit by a boat. It has died a slow and painful death, as have many dolphins, dugongs and other sea life.

A bridge would solve issues of the Bay being destroyed, having constant marine life slaughter.

Tourism potential

Where else do you have such a cluster of beautiful islands?

If a bridge came the land value would increase. Tourists would visit and investors would invest.

I cannot understand why the Council does not see what they have had sitting there for decades, being left dormant.

I’m sure if these islands belonged to another council they would have seen what true gems they really are and realised their potential.

Imagine the Bay Islands as a prosperous tourist icon for the Redlands.

We need a bridge

The Bay Islands have a right to their gateway to home !!

Lets get with the times and get the infrastructure and economy moving. Russell Island pay higher than average rates and are forced to pay an $88.00 levy to Translink which other communities don’t have to pay.

The Council owns many blocks of land which if sold could generate a substantial amount towards a bridge,

The fact is we cannot continue as we are. A bridge to Russell Island is now the only answer. No more wasted money on band-aid fixes.

The only solution is A BRIDGE.

Post by Rita Brathaug

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88 thoughts on “Russell Island needs a bridge

  1. In 2006, I had paid off my home that I built in 2000 and was totally out of debt. I also owned my work vehicle and our sedan.
    NO DEBT. !!!
    As I had work injuries bad back/hip pain etc like so many in the building industry. I had always supported myself and family.
    I was struggling to pour concrete lay bricks/blocks etc.
    In 2007 Mayor Don Secome promoted the Russell island Bridge and The Resorted had been accepted
    with Landscaper Jamie Drury to Landscape this Resort .Not wanting to be supported by a pension,
    I invested in four lovely blocks [water views] and from owning everthing to having a 500k line of credit .Then Mayor Secome was replaced and the Bridge was scrapped .My wife and I were in a terrible place . We were struggling to pay rates on land we could not use.
    When we were buying on the island we met people From Sweden, Europe in general,
    who had seen this boom !! starting to happen .Now we see on face book comments like .People who buy on an island should be prepared to put up with the isolation? Russell Island Redland City
    Suburb?.Russell Island is more remote than the middle of the nullabor Plains .At least in an emergency ,especially fire evacuation ,a major vehicle pile up ,Ambulance ,Police etc can be there
    in numbers. When I was 16 years of age,I worked on Trading ships, Crayfish boats in the middle of bass Straight .We sailed to Flinders Island/King Island in the Bass Straight then To Tasmania.
    In 2017 when I went to Russell Island Iwas sent spinning back in time 50 years.
    If Moreton Bay Islands are brought into the 21st Century things will seem normal. The most expensive real estate is sovereign Island .The least expensive is Russell island .the difference ?
    A bridge.!!Also Russell Island has parts with beatifull views across Caniapa channel to Stradbroke
    down to the Gold Coast etc .a comment on face book also was that a big problem on the Island was people owning so many vacant blocks .
    We all believed in something that was common sense .
    But it was stopped ,so welcome to the Stone Age

  2. Not only that, Lisa but our rating categories have been equalised in a Council decision last winter also – in return for which we are only getting a road sealing promise, but no commitment to transport diversification (as recommended by a GHD study nearly 6 years ago with NO action taken since); no sewerage (Macleay Island now has over 5,000 residents (as an emergency services told me since we cannot rely on a flaky census, again), Russell over 4,000 – and counting. Not even mentioned Lamb or Karra. No internal bus line on Macleay nor Russell where parking is reaching critical point with the population increase and an arrogant water transport monopoly that despite massive earnings, keeps refusing to consider alternative, cheaper, more environmentally friendly routes to the expensive merry-go-round in place for decades now for barge routes. Best bridge support fuel ever!
    Many of you may not be aware but there is also an offer still valid by Lend Lease (formerly Baulderstone Hornibrook) to build a bridge at South Russell, Rocky Point to Little Rocky Point where the Energex pylons come over from the mainland. This would be FREE to ratepayers as the company has been ready to build this in exchange for council blocks on Russell Island.
    Why the RCC is still allegedly ‘land banking’ with these blocks when the sale of these could not only guarantee higher rates return but also money for capital infrastructure – you tell me!
    What’s more, Energex would also chip in as the maintenance of their power pylons requires hiring barges that don’t come cheap, either.
    Add the megacity development over Little Rocky Point and a possible alternative connection to North Stradbroke Island to the already chaotic and expensive Toondah Harbour and Weinam Ck, close to breaking point with islander parking at Redland Bay. A bridge over the Logan River is now very likely to be built which could provide this community with an alternative connection to an overbuilt Redland Bay.
    Business case shaping up yet? Win-win. Anyone who still thinks these islands will not be included in any development and forever remain excluded in a rapidly developing South-East Queensland (40 kms from a state capital) must be naive or delusional…
    Environmental case? Studies up at the Pumicestone Passage near the Bribie bridge show the dugongs and sea grass is abundant in that area.
    http://www.uq.edu.au/marinevertebrate/documents/WR04063_final.pdf
    As a matter of fact, the most dugong and other marina fauna casualties are due to large vessels – are you really sure you would want to increase a traffic of these to cope with the population increase on the islands?

    • I have been reading about the poor infrastructure of the islands, and it’s appalling. How does Council get away with it?

  3. Ebeneezer Howard, you forget to mention that land owners have already been paying for that bridge for years in the form of exorborant rates to council.
    Where is all the money going Ebeneezer?

    • Well Lisa I don’t work for Council so I am unsure of the actual rates that islanders pay as opposed to us mainlanders. Buy just a quick glance at Council’s website and in particular the breakdown in charges (http://www.redland.qld.gov.au/download/downloads/id/2001/rates_and_charges.pdf) shows that most of these additional rates are in fact paying for services that because of their nature cost more money to deliver to the islands. That is Islanders are paying more for waste services (truck have to cross the bay to take waste away); emergency management levy (every here it is $100 per lot per year) and Translink Operational Service Special Charge ($87 per lot per year).

      As far as I can see the General Levy (i.e. base charge) is the same for islands and mainland properties.

      So Islanders ARE paying extra, but they are paying extra for services that cost more to deliver because it requires Council to pay transport fees to move mainly waste from the island (unless you want a landfill on the island to save this additional money). The other two charges are really insignificant as they amount to about $190 per property per year for services (Emergency services and Translink) that in reality cost a lot more to provide that what you are paying in rates.

      So to be factual, you are not currently paying for the bridge through your rates. You are paying the General Levy at the same rate as everyone else + some additional rates (above what mainlanders pay) for waste service; emergency management and translink.

      But lets just do a simple calculation using some rough figures. Assuming a bridge costs $400m and that cost is spread over 8,000 properties over a 30 year period. That works out to $1,666 per year per property would need to be added to your current rates to fully pay for this bridge. Are you happy to pay this extra each year? After all, the value of your property will shoot up by at least 100% if the bridge is built. Is it not fair that if you entirely enjoy the benefit that come from public infrastructure investment, that you should shoulder most of the burden for this cost? I would agree that the rest of the community should also pay some of this costs, but this should not be the whole nor the majority of this cost (possibly about 20% dependent on estimate external traffic usage).

      When we isolate decisions, without taking into account other real world considerations such as who pays, how much and what are the implications – then these decisions are poor. We often lament about the poor decisions of governments, but when it come to self interest then our own critical reasonings are often the first victim.

      • I fully understand that rate payers are not paying for the bridge through their rates, it was a shot at sarcasm (lost). I agree residents should pay an additional fee per year for the bridge.
        Have you also considered that your statement about residents paying more in rates for transport costs is somewhat of a contradiction? That a bridge should cancel out some of these high transport costs?
        I do agree some of your points are valid, however, you shot yourself in the foot quite a bit when you explained the high rates residents pay for extra services (a lot of people agree these services are at best thirld world), are due to transport costs.

      • Ebenezer, Lisa has a very valid point on the rates paid issue that you have not researched, you have merely looked at the current council figures on rates charges. As Greg noted on one of his recent replies it was only until very recently the SMBI rate categories were brought into line with the same as charged with the remainder of the Redlands. I can supply you with the proof of how outrageous the Mainland to SMBI charges have been for the past 11 years at least. I also have property on Russell Island owned since 1981 and have all rates receipts since that time, I also live in the Redlands at Birkdale on a small acreage now in the middle of suburbia. The rates I pay on my home is considerably more than my neighbors due to the lot size and valuation with all services connected and transport/shopping close by as would be expected. Can you imagine how so totally unfair I felt myself and many SMBI ratepayers would feel when my Russell island rates were continually 20% more than Birkdale. Just remember my Russell property has dirt roads no sewerage no rubbish collection no water charges but cost me an additional 20% every year for the past the past 12 years. Now I need to clarify one important aspect of these high charges that I was happy to initially pay and that was they were brought in under the Melva Hobson council to help pay for infrastructure that urgently needed to get underway brought on by population increases and neglect by the previous Secombe council. When Mayor Williams came to power this all changed, not the rates charged but the infrastructure spending which almost ceased, have a look at past annual reports for proof in figures if you wish, it is all there. The high SMBI rates were used instead to pay down debt and make her account keeping look like magic to everyone that had no idea of the reality of the past Williams council. Fortunitely the balance of her power has been reduced allowing some good outcomes on rates relief and infrastructure spending for the SMBI.

    • Lisa
      What generally happens in the development process is that when approval is granted, it always includes conditions that amongst other things relate to the developer having to provide for local road construction, water supply and sewerage connection. All this is done at the developers expense, which is then passed on to the buyer in terms of the final land cost. Without having direct involvement here, I gathered what happened is related to the original historical approvals that created these lots without Council involvement and hence no conditions to construct these infrastructure works.

      So in this case Council missed out on these conditions and has no legal power to go back and get it done at the developer’s expense. Thus Council will now have to bear these costs. I don’t know what is the actual current day cost, but I would guestimate that such works would cost each lot about $150k to $200k. So a rough estimate is $150k x 8,000 lots (estimated number) = $1.2b of infrastructure works to bring it up to 1st world standard.

      So I feel sorry for Council because none of this was of their making. It was a scam perpetrated by shifty people long gone and enabled by a loophole in the State Government land titling system. Yet Council is left holding the can and suffers from their attempts to redress this problem by trying to raise the revenue needed to redress this lesser development standard.

      So what to do? These are obviously not the sole options, but you either:
      . Accept the current development standards and learn to live with them. This keeps rate at a reasonable level and maintains the current “lifestyle” appeal of island living.
      . Spend the money to bring it all up to your 1st world standards. This will involve a significant infrastructure spend that needs to be paid for somehow.
      . Move to the mainland. Join the rest of us in our 1st world standards and 1st world house prices (that is my attempt at sarcasm in case you don’t recognise it).

      I have visited these islands and third world countries and I don’t see the similarities. So hyperbole is not an effective tool to employ when trying to persuade decision makers (i.e. Council officers and Councillors). It just allows them to easily dismiss your concerns.

      I wouldn’t want to live permanently on these islands, but that is just me. However, I can see it being attractive for certain cohorts who desire a more isolated, laid back and self-contained lifestyle. Unfortunately I think too many people go there with different aspirations that soon become massively conflicted by the realities of what it means to live on an island. For some, they are driven here by the sheer economics of having a more affordable house, but soon realise it is cheaper for a reason.

      As to your point about my contradicted argument about high service fees and transport costs. I will simply reiterate that if the solution to the problem of saving people paying extra rates in the order of a couple hundred of dollars each quarter is to collective spend some $400m to build a bridge then we have lost the plot.

      The decision to build or not build a bridge is multifaceted. We can all spend numerous hours and words each prosecuting our respective cases. I like to deal with facts and until such time as all the options are fully laid out and tested for the willingness of islanders to accept then we will be forever chasing each other in circles.

      And it is not just islanders involved in this decision. It is extremely likely that any such bridge will require significant land and house resumptions on the mainland as well as these islands, given the amount of flood prone land that any bridge would need to navigate. Nothing focuses your mind about why you are doing something more than sitting across the table from someone and saying I am compulsorily resuming your house. It is not pleasant and you make sure that your justification for doing so is as good as it can be. Maybe we can get the islanders to do that consultation with the affected mainland land owners (more sarcasm).

  4. Walter, only fair to expect – sadly, the census figures cannot be taken as an absolute authority as they are quoted and effectively used for infrastructure purposes in other countries.
    Council’s own planning estimates have flagged a 4,000+ population for both Russell and Macleay Islands a few years ago. It would be great to find out what population cut-off number would mandate sewerage, among other queries to demand infrastructure for the islands (such as a 2011 GHD study promoting alternative transport options but not acted upon, or the last intra-island bus trial more than 10 years ago during which time the population has more than doubled on these islands).
    I spoke to an ambulance officer last weekend on Macleay Island who said the island’s population is now 5,000. As an emergency officer, he would have hands-on knowledge about evacuation statistics so I tend to believe this estimate has some authority.
    As for the bridge survey, I could not agree more. Two years ago, the Moreton Bay Combined Islands Association requested the Redland City Council to finally help us get real pro and contra statistics on this issue. We have offered to pay printing costs if these could go in the rates envelopes – ie finally asking those who cannot vote as absentee land owners but decisions affect the property they have invested in and perhaps wish to retire to one day, regardless if this is on an island or mainland.
    We were declined with the excuse that this survey would need to draw resources away from the RCC such as a clerk needing to answer phone calls in this regard etc.
    A proper, comprehensive survey (not merely ‘Clayton’ type ones we have had so far) has long been overdue on this subject. Instead, everyone is taking pot shots and keep laughing at each other’s figures, while no reasonable response, let alone progress, is made – in order to know with some authority where we stand on this matter. Cui bono?

  5. I would really like to know the population now in the Islands, specifically Russell Island duecto the growth in both Housing and people moving to the Islands. Figures from 2011 are old and do not represent today’s, 2017 numbers on the Island. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures are very skewed as figures are often regurgitated from too many old figures. A current up to date and honest survey for 2017 needs to be done. From where I live on Russell Island I know for a fact from a visit and good look around in 2013 the Island has definitely and noticeably increased in houses and people living on the Island. My wife and I have been living here for only a month now and have seen people moving to the Island. The over crowed passenger ferry is a better indicator of population growth on the Islands and new figures are absolutely needed to really ascertain the population on the Islands. Not old skewed figures taken on an average from 1970 or estimations taken from the past.

  6. I read with interest the anti-bridge comments here, which are in the minority, and generally rely on mostly uninformed judgments that have no basis in actual fact.
    I have presented my views in favour of bridging Russell Island on many occasions and don’t feel the need to do so in the face of the many fatuous anti bridge arguments put forward here.
    I might add though, despite lengthy and considered soul-searching moments I have been unable to find any anti bridge argument that outweighs the many and varied pro-bridge justifications that are patently apparent.
    Arguments might continue ad infinitum but they are totally specious and worthless in the face of the rapidly increasing population which will not only justify, but demand that a bridge be built.
    Unless that happens soon there will be continued gross waste of money being spent on temporary and pointless so called solutions to rapidly increasing parking and water transport requirements.
    In the face of rapidly growing SMBI population numbers Redland Bay Ferry and Barge terminal surrounds will soon be overwhelmed by vehicle parking infiltrations and the SMBI Islands will be similarly overwhelmed. It is not far off that point already.
    So , wake up governing bodies and get your heads out of the sand. The time for a bridge to connect the mainland to the SMBI by the shortest feasible route is NOW!.

    • It is misleading to assume that Council or State Government need to pay for Bridge
      The Gateway/Bribie/Redcliff ,have a toll .Doesn’t take a scientist to work that out.
      All genuine workers and residents would prefer to pay a toll rather sit in a crowded ferry ,on a barge with salt water being sprayed on their vehicle and also the danger
      of a concrete truck being parked so close and feeling so threatened with the rocking and rolling in rough weather. I HAVE BEEN THERE !!!!
      It is not the drivers fault!

      • Ian, I hear you but of the ones you’ve mentioned, only the Gateway Bridge has a toll. Bribie had a very low amount paid for twelve years (1963-75), then abolished.
        The Redcliffe Ted Smout, together with the Hornibrook Highway (old bridge part not demolished) has had no toll imposed on it all – even though the peninsula is accessible from dry land as well.
        Bribie has even had a second(!) bridge GHD study done a few years ago, under the Newman Government.
        Rather than putting all eggs in the fantasy PDA (as we know, the promised gift that is just reluctant to keep giving…) of Weinam Creek, why isn’t the council lobbying, “wining and dining” an investor or consider surrendering a number of its blocks on Russell Island for a southern bridge? The customers it would lose by having shoppers go towards the Hyperdome and Gold Coast would be compensated by new residents in Redland Bay, anyway.
        Instead, the toilet block that the Weinam Ck ferry terminal is now unstoppably heading towards, short of any other alternative solution to relieve its carpark short-term, is rapidly clogging further up – while both Council and State are too putty to challenge the water transport monopoly that is holding a 11,000-strong community at ransom with its unregulated fares, without competition.
        Why are we still being stuck for decades with the same outdated, inefficient, insufficient structure that carries further inherent damages to a marine park?

  7. Four years ago I bought on Russell Island and now have recently moved into our property. I find that there has been little change or none in those years. My wife and I took a drive around the areas we had not visited for those years near the North end of the Island discovering large modern houses built and those specific areas have had roads sealed and lighting added. Where our house is at the Southern end of the island we are still with dirt roads. Some are sealed but only the main road. Another issue is Internet. Everything being on line these days we have no Internet. Promised by Telstra that ADSL2 was available only to find on arrival we are too far from the exchange for any Internet. The Southern end is very neglected. Ferry Parking is a huge issue with no plans for upgrading or provisions for cheaper barges to the main land. A property valued by council at $15,000 is paying rates of approximately $380.00 a quarter. The same amount paid for a property valued at $200k on the main land. A huge discrepancy in rates and for no real infrastructure return. The library seems to have grown smaller over the last five years and is not adequate to serve Russell Island residents as a hub of communication and a go between for council update. Then the there is the issue of overcrowded ferries and now we have our bags weigh checked and cannot bring more than one grocery bags or a parcel on the the ferry The island is growing I know of several people who have just bought a home and others who have bought land blocks for building all approved via council and still no sewerage and still no bridge from.the mainland really let’s move into this century and not just charge rate payers like myself and my other island friends more and more money for no return. I suffer with no Internet because I am apparently not making enough noise about the problem and so as yet no date let alone year is set by Telstra or the state government to connect NBN and guess what ADSL either what do I have to do tap into a satellite and pay few that that are triple the amount on the mainland is this fair I do not think so especially since I pay rates on the blocks I own with no houses on the block that I maintain and mow not to mention the rates I pay for my home. Build a bridge or improve the ferry services to Russell Island and make the costs affordable.

    • Thanks Greg,sorry I got that wrong re tolls.
      I believe that Walker Corporation have added bridges to some of their developments.
      I agree with your comments on local shoppers going else where and the wining and dining etc.

  8. Well, a few more cases like the one below, with the continued stiff upper lip shown by the monopoly water transport company, refusing to even consider alternative routes (North Stradbroke Island, Rocky Point) – despite the recommendation of the 2011 GHD Study – and the support for bridging will just keep growing. Practically speaking, could it thus be true that Sealink is inadvertently acting as the best drawcard and catalyst for bridging Russell as the ‘first cab off the rank’ of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands? (Quoted fresh from the Bay Island News Group Facebook site)
    “Was looking forward to seeing the 2 boys from wickety wak (Robbie and Tony) at the golf club tonight BUT they wont be there because the ferries wouldnt let them on with their 4 wheel trolley carrying a modest compact amount of band gear. No drums. No guitars. Electric keyboard. Small PA.
    They tried the 3.35 and 3.45 school special ferries direct to Macleay via Karra, got knocked back because the ferries were too busy, but were assured by crew that they could get on the next one 4.25 long way via russell, but werent let on that either apparently due to new BIT rules (what happened to skipper discretion?) so they couldnt get to their gig, and so no entertainment at the golf club tonight.
    Very poor management. Hick behaviour by those charged with booking them. Unprofessional.
    Disappointing . Another kick in the teeth for island reputation.
    We got all dressed up but nowhere to go!!!
    Disappointed for the Wak boys also as they were soldiering on and honouring their bookings despite the death of their founding member and front man Greg Doolan yesterday of cancer.”

    • The SMBI is one part of Queensland and indeed Australia with a significant population that no government is interested in listening to its long suffering residents that pay rates, taxes and levies like the rest of us. Just remember this mess was caused by politicians and can only be resolved by politicians. Its no wonder most voters see them as bottom feeders looking after number one on pensions, travel perks and many other advantages the general public will never be offered.

      • They have a legal obligation to look after the residents on Russell island and it will come back to bite them very soon

    • Andrew laming is one person that has some power to properly represent the concerns these residents have conveyed on this subject. It is apparent to us all that in reality he spends more time running down the opposition and hand standing in public than he does improving the lives, environment and services for his own constituents. The letters on this subject alone highlight just how incompetent he is and does not deserve to hold a seat in government on our behalf.

      He along with the Mayor of the Redlands and the past and present Queensland Governments should hold their heads in shame for continually neglecting the SMBI residents growing in numbers each year.

  9. I have seen this discussion is happening for long time. But everyone passing the boll to the other. I have a better idea if someone is propensity. Why don’t we ask council to clean up the road to the Little rocky point in Mainland next to the power line and put a barge to the Rocky point in Russell Island. Then Later on they can extend the Jetty slowly till the bridge complete using the money they spend to maintain the barge. Taking by one small step at a time. I think it will save the fuel cost and reduce the damage to the marine life by shortening the distance. Also the long term they can connect other SMBI island’s on same way by taking a small step at a time. Isn’t that a WIN WIN?

    • Sounds good. Somebody needs to kick Redland Council up the ……….
      How can Redland Council get away with high land rates while doing nothing to rectify the many issues associated with Russell Island.
      REDLAND COUNCIL SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. SHAME ON COUNCIL

  10. Please find an interesting study carried out by the University of Queensland under Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute research paper of 2015. You will find it online as I am unable to find a way of posting it on this page but it makes some interesting points in neglect of council and state government on advancing island and transport infrastructure over the years. This neglect has a direct result in the hardship and stigma island residents endure to this day. I am sure each level of government will no doubt commission many more studies before they start reading and acting on the information and advice given that will surely make a difference to bringing SMBI living standards closer to that on the mainland suburbs of Redland City. AHURI_Research_Paper_Addressing-concentrations-of-disadvantage-Russell-Island-case-study-report%20(1).pdf

    • Kasun, realistically speaking, this may not be too far away at all. Consider the massive new rezoning of the 6,000-hectare, now useless sugar cane fields (which North Queensland can produce in far larger, ample quantities than this small spot destined to be something else…).
      Logan may get a bridge over the Logan River which would connect to the motorway. Given it’s the shortest distance across, the least damaging the waterbed and the marine park and Energex pylons also along this route, it is a no-brainer why this has not been done decades ago already.
      When you add that the evacuation planning for this island is disastrously and unfairly disproportionate (8 km-long island, single(!!!) access route across to basically all evac centre buildings, helipads and assembly points in a high-fire danger area concentrated in south Russell ) – this is a no-brainer, really!
      State (the administrative authority on the water) is not against it but says it requires private investment first.

  11. I’ve been an owner of a block of land on russell is since 1991 paid $28k for if. I’ve paid higher annual council rates for a vacant block of land than my $800k house in perth. The block would probably sell for less than what its purchase price was 25 years ago.. The vacant land owners and Island rates payers have paid council rates for many years funding the mainland infrastructure projects it’s time the mainland ratespayers helped with developing the bridge infrastructure to align us all together..
    Island Land values would finally catch up to the same levels with as the redland mainland ratespayers.
    If the Qld govt and Redland council had no intention of putting in roads and bridges to service the islands they should never have approved development for so many blocks.
    These undeveloped inaccessible vacant blocks all over the Islands have been nothing but a revenue raising cash cow for the Redland Council and it about time something was done to repay us long suffering landowners by way of providing the long overdue access to our island properties..

    • Hi David. I can’t remember the exact details and a little bit of google searching did not provide an exact reason either. Prior to 1973, Russell Island was outside the legal jurisdiction of Redland Council. Some sharp scammers woke up to the possibility that Council didn’t have legal jurisdiction to require, let alone approve subdivision on this island.

      At the same time (this is where I get hazy) the Queensland Department of Lands had some anonymity in its land titling system where, in the absence of a Council approved subdivision plan, it was compelled to accept subdivision plans from anybody and issue legal title to any such plans submitted.

      So a collection of surveyors, developers and real estate agents did a “theoretical” subdivision of the island into about 8,000 lots, despite the natural constraints that existed over many lots (i.e. tidal land) and lodged these plans with the Lands Department and got legal title issued. They and many others afterwards then set about selling these land titles to people, mainly unsuspecting interstate people and often with the story that the State Government / Council is going to build a bridge to the island. You can see the attraction – some bloke in Darwin goes to a residential investment seminar where they pitch a block of island land for only $25k, well within commuting distance of Brisbane CBD and a future bridge to boot.

      So there was never a deliberate decision by local or state government to create this situation. It is just one of those unfortunate situation where someone spotted a loophole and moved to exploit it. Now people and governments are trying to deal with the problems created by such action.

      The thing is, image Russell Island if a bridge was built. Every one of those lots now has a LEGAL right to build a house on it and it will be a very different place. It won’t be a Bribie Island with big lots, houses and boats. It will be wall to wall small lots (most are less than 600m2) with two storey houses that most Redlanders seem to hate and there is nothing anyone can do to stop that happening. The only thing stopping it now is the economics and reality of living on an island not connected by a bridge.

      • YES! This is all correct…except for the price paid for those blocks…my then father-in-law purchased at a “buy one get one free” deal! I think it was $12k.
        🙂 (of course the free block is situated under the tidal level)

  12. The economic activity and related community benefits alone generated from any improvement in access to these islands via new businesses, local jobs and construction in all aspects if a (bridge and or cable barges) was put in place should prompt all levels of government to stop deliberately ignoring the well-being of its long suffering residents and marine environment. When the now developing housing estates on the Redlands mainland are selling tiny postage stamp allotments for $300 to $400,000 then expecting a new owner to spend at least as much again to build a house needs to be put in context. When a purchasing family is aware many available SMBI residential blocks of 600sqm and larger can be had for as little as $15,000 and a brand new SMBI house and land package can be purchased for much less than the mainland land alone it is easy to see why we are having this discussion. The facts are the SMBI population is increasing each year because of these facts and all this without our governments seemingly discussing or planning the infrastructure needed right now let alone improving on it for the near future, this why this subject is getting so much attention as it should.

  13. A bridge, even a long one, is nowhere near $1 billion. The Redcliffe Peninsula one was less than 400 million – and toll free, on top of that! Bribie came with a toll in 1963 but this only stayed for 12 years and the toll was a rather low amount, about 10 shillings.
    Ditto for the Macleay River Bridge completed a few years later was about 500 million, completed only about three years ago and the longest bridge in Australia with 3.2 km length, multiple lanes.
    Petition – perhaps time for another one? The last one was in 2012, the same year when a State Government minister bothered to visit the islands (before introducing Translink, I presume).
    We have the same old barges polluting the bay and chopping up marine animals with uncaged propellers (greenies, where are you?). The same old barges cost approx. $60 more than the same distance in another state of Australia (Bruny Island TAS). No subsidy, which is just aggravating the parking chaos on both sides, in Weinam Creek as well as the islands. A bus terminal and the Weinam Ck PDA may be improvements but neither will address the parking issue, especially long-term. Does anyone else as a SMBI resident, in the light of the above, continue feeling short-changed by State and Council?

    • You need to compare apples with apples.

      Of your two examples, the Macleay River Bridge with a budget of $619m is the closest to the situation faced in Russell. Even here the actual design needed for Russell would be different as it would need sufficient height to allow free passage for masted sailing boats. Both Macleay River Bridge and Redcliffe Peninsula bridges are built close to the water that allow tinnie type boats free passage, but not sailing boats. Different designs have different engineering requirements and costs.

      I note that the Macleay River Bridge with a budget of $619m was fully funded by the Australian Government. http://www.macleayargus.com.au/story/1418911/619-million-project-with-australias-longest-bridge/ So not one cent of local or state government money was put into this bridge and it was commissioned because it was part of a larger national road network improvement, which will not be the case for Russell Island.

      So whether it is $1b or $600m this cost will have to come from either Council or State Government or both. I note Council’s total operational budget for the current financial year is $288m https://www.redland.qld.gov.au/info/20226/council_plans_and_financial_information/434/annual_budget. So this one bridge would cost the equivalent of 2 years TOTAL operational budget. Still think it is affordable and desirable from a rate payer perspective?

      Due to historical mistake, there are potentially 8,000 undeveloped residential lots on Russell Island that can not be wound back without substantial public expenditure. Any bridge to this island would see an explosion of residential development that will have far more environmental damage that a few barges and would turn this island into the type of slum that most people want to avoid in Redlands.

      Some things are best left alone. Russell and many of the SMBI are one such example where their value is relative isolated living and lifestyle on the doorstep of our third biggest city.

      • Costs are irrelevant as costs for the upgrade of services and infrastructure, including bridges are planned for the Sunshine Coast corridor and Brisbane including bridged in the Logan area. If so environmentally concerned how about the seeping of sewerage into the bay from saturated skeptics.

      • Greg, I come to this debate purely from a town planning perspective, where I take the role of town planning as being an “urban manager”. That is you make decisions based on what is the best and highest value of the land use given all the competing demands for that land and the cost to develop that land for the intended purpose. Much as an investor makes decisions as to where they invest their money; an urban manager also needs to make careful decisions as to where they make their zoning and development “investments”.

        In my experience there are very few hard or physical constraints that actually prevent you from developing land for one purpose or another. If you are willing to throw the resources at an issue then there is often an engineering or some other form of solution that can address the issue.

        However, my starting point is always – is that a good decision, from either a social, economic or environmental perspective? Do I really want to develop here given it other possible uses? Often this is a case of values – what do you value most above the other. If you, I and the decision makers believe that residential development is paramount over other options then you SHOULD progress to the next stage of considering its implications. Is the costs worthwhile? Does it still represent the best and highest land use given the costs and likely implications?

        I am not fundamentally opposed to the bridge, but I don’t think it represents value for money from a taxpayer perspective.

        If the mythical Chinese investor comes along and proposes to build the bridge at their expense then fine. But they will want their pound of flesh. So this will then play out in two ways.

        Option 1 is they slowly buy up all the properties on these islands before launching this proposal. This is the option that makes the most economic sense. Buy the land cheap and then move to build the bridge to capitalise on the improved value. Imagine the political outcry then, when a foreign buys up Aussie land and develops the bejesus out of it, all for a tidy profit. Wind up Pauline Hanson and let her go to town on that decision.

        The second option is this developer doesn’t own all the land, but still has enough properties to make it profitable to build the bridge at their expense. The first thing they will do is put a bloody big toll on other property owners accessing that bridge to recoup their costs. They are not benevolent charities and they to would want to get a return on their investment. So those existing land owners will have to pay lets say $5 each way (and that is probable cheap). The second thing that will happen is that all those existing undeveloped lots will be developed and the whole character of these island will change. Will you be happy with that – row upon row of 300m2 lots with townhouses?

        What a lot of land owners on these islands want is their piece of cake and eat it too. They want the government and by extension ratepayers to build the bridge so they can then access the mainland by car, whilst:
        . paying no toll on any bridge;
        . privatising the resulting uplift in property values (and Council doesn’t gets this back through increased rates because it is a pittance compared to actual costs that will take hundreds of years to achieve cost neutrality);
        . complaining that too much development is killing the island “lifestyle”.

        Well in this modern economic rationalist world you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Someone has to pay for any such decision and that is why I say there is no compelling economic case to build this bridge, unless the land owners are prepared to bear some costs (tolls, betterment tax and more development).

        Sometimes the best and highest use of land is its more undeveloped state.

        It is unfortunate circumstances that got us here; and if we had the time machine we should not have started down this path. But we are here and Council is, I believe, doing the right thing and trying as best they can to provide basic services without further inflaming the situation.

        If existing land owners are willing to pay the cost then by all means lets have a fully costed examination of all the possible options. But this has been done before and I doubt the answer has changed too much over the years. To me this is a reality / political problem. Unless property owners are given the harsh realities of their likely costs and implications then they will go on seeking a bridge. The politicians by their very nature don’t want to be seen as the bad boys so they will shield islanders and wider ratepayers from the true costs and implications. So we will forever going around in circles arguing our cases and no one gets any satisfaction.

      • Ebenezer, I can not disagree with any of your logic on this subject and I am sure this is the way governments at all levels plan all infrastructure. The two points you are taking as a given is that residents don’t want to pay a toll for a bridge or even help to pay for such a vital piece of infrastructure be it toll or long term levy or a combination of both if it proved to be the only alternative for services needed like sewerage, health, employment and education opportunities not easily available at the moment among just a few. It may already be anticipated as necessary by many living on these islands if they were given the courtesy of being asked by the powers that make such decisions.
        The second issue is the present cost sustained by all levels of government (taxpayers) by the way of subsidizing the present system of transport for all island services supported and passenger requirements. If the total annual cost of all transport components were to be made public I am sure your cost analysis would look far less negative.

    • completely agree with Greg’s observations ….a realistic approach be it bridge , the best solution for all ,including wildlife , people and for the marine park or interim the barge connections at the southern end of Russell to get protected bridge heads and access points establish is so doable at this time . But something must start the process for the inevitable Bridge infrastructure to be established and progress for the island communities needs forward planning now to make this happen with less expense and greater protection for the bay

      • I really don’t understand your comment here Walter. What do you mean?

        Costs are irrelevant! Surely this is first order business for any level of Government, although past experience in other projects may prove you correct. Nevertheless every government SHOULD be concerned with maximising the cost benefit of any infrastructure investment.

        Sure you can spend a billion dollars (I am using a nominal amount, not actual) on any infrastructure item you want if the money and having to pay it back is no object. However if you want to ensure that one billion dollars eventually has a realistic public benefit that gives you some return on your investment – then you as a ratepayer should be concerned enough to say that it is relevant.

        I am not following your other point about bridges in Sunshine Coast and Logan being planned for. Funding is dependent on function. If the function served by the intended infrastructure item is a Federal matter, such as my example of Macleay River Bridge which formed part of the National Highway System, then funding is solely with that government. A bridge to any of the SMBI is really, at best, a Local/State matter and the percentage of each party would be heavily skewered towards the local government (I think the State has some moral obligation to fund a good proportion of any bridge -say 30%) but that is just me saying figures off the top of my head.

        Putting on my hard nose economic rationalist hat, there is no compelling case for Council or State Government building this bridge. All that PUBLIC (i.e. ratepayers) investment will go immediately into the pockets of PRIVATE landowners in the form of increased land valuation and further subdivision and development opportunities that already exist. Is that good investment of ratepayers money?

      • Maybe not just yet (unless you’d take into consideration that the two large islands Russell and Macleay both need alternative access for emergencies at least, as despite some dramatic population increase, there is still just a single main road access) , but give it a few more years…
        A new megacity is forming at the sugar cane fields – right across from Little Rocky Point, a mere 1.2 across the sea from Russell Island – that will never again be used as such as production is not viable any more, nor profitable in such a strategic location for possible development, halfway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane!). Weinam Ck is crumbling for parking, the PDA is nowhere yet despite termed ‘priority’ nearly 4 years ago – and sugar cane farming is far more relevant in further up north in Queensland, such as Bundaberg, Mackay etc.
        The Chinese investor offer is $1 billion that would also include a prospective alternative highway. Does anyone seriously think these islands, less than 20 kms from the mainland, will stay out of this for much longer?

  14. Can an article be written and sent to the courier mail to be put into the paper.
    A petition started also and the number of signatures counted and also mentioned in the article.
    The elderly on the island should also have a paragraph in the article.
    The Elderly and also Fire brigade, Police and Ambulance all should have direct access via a bridge to the island its a must. The fact that it has not yet been done in my eyes is neglect on behalf of the council and also the government.
    They speak about building a new casino etc well that will never save a life of an elderly person or a family caught in a bush fire.
    If Russell Island can pay more in rates per year than home owners pay on the mainland then they should have a bridge built.
    Until the bridge is built they should be charged less in rates as they have nothing compared to the mainland.
    I know this as i have been there and I am about to buy land there.
    So im another to add to the petition for the bridge, I own a company in Brisbane and i will need direct access to the mainland not more expenses.

    • Thanks Sam. Again, the Redcliffe Ted Smout (including the demolition of the old Hornibrook Bridge that should not be factored in here) cost far less than even half a billion dollars. It was a joint project of all three levels of government.
      With the population increase and proposed projects at Logan and the megacity shaping up on the former sugarcane fields, it is a greenie illusion to think these areas – and the islands inclusive – will be left intact for long. It is not World Heritage; Native Title does not extend to SMBI and Energex pylons already go across at Rocky Point. With a growing community on these islands, soon there will be a time to realise that just by building parking houses (nice eyesores on the foreshore preferred, anyone?) on the foreshores will not suffice. And then I did not mention the fire hazard and septic armageddon that could also threaten the future of these residential islands due to limited resources. It WILL happen, there is no doubt about that – the question is not if, but when. Sooner, rather than later.

  15. There was a State Government Cabinet Submission on this matter in the mid 90’s which ruled against a bridge proposal. So unless there is a change in heart by the State Government this is never going to happen. I doubt that RCC could fund it and there is no way that it could be self funding.

    Costing a bridge is difficult until you do more detailed studies to identify the route and likely conditions to be addressed. I can’t remember the actual figures, but I think it was in the order of $5k (1995 dollars) per sq metre in construction cost. So assuming a two lane bridge with pedestrian / bicycle paths (say 15 metres wide) and a minimum span of 1 km – that would make a total of 225,000 sq mts at a cost of $1.125b (1995 dollars).

    That is an extremely conservative estimate in terms of actual length, width and possible costs. In addition, the advice at the time was in order to get sufficient height to allow shipping passage under any such bridge, your land take will extend even further back in land, possibly another kilometer either side. You would then have to provide flood immunity on this land which will further add to the cost of any bridge, let alone the potential environmental impacts on the mainland areas and one or two islands it will span to reach Russell. It would require compulsory acquisition of residential properties to construct this route and then you will have the funnel of traffic through (most likely) Redland Bay and beyond.

    Everyone pays rates and taxes. The role of government is to ensure this money is well spent and can be justified. In this instance I can’t see any net positive benefit in building any such bridge.

    • Ebenezer Howard, we can not follow you calculations. Did you miss some lessons at school?
      You figures should read as follows:

      15 meters x 1000 meters = 15000 sqm at a cost of $5000.00 per sqm should read 75 million dollars for a 1 km length of bridge and not $1.125 billion dollars.
      Please rectify your statement. It is an insult to SMBI residents.

      • You’re right, the calculations are wrong. Must have been on some bad medicine that day.

        As I said in my original comment, the true cost estimate of building any such bridge is unknown until you have a definite route showing the length of any such road/bridge, a detailed knowledge of site / engineering conditions and a design proposal. In the absence of that we we are all dealing with assumptions and generalities where my guesses are as good as yours.

        I was involved in the original cabinet submission and it was the cost estimate of building a bridge that was one of the major (but not sole) reasons why it was not further considered. Those costs factors are unlikely to have changed, so it is a major hurdle for any proposal going forward. My gut feel is that is will not be under $100m and would be closer to the $500-600m mark based on other similar projects. There is a lot of flood prone land to cover with associated flood immunity requirements, potential engineering constraints (deep pylons in acid sulfate soils) and land resumptions on either side that will not result in a cheap build.

        As I said in the other post, a cost closer to $600m would represent the entire operational (wages, expenses and infrastructure works) budget of Redland City Council for 2 years. So that is a big commitment for one Council to carry all on its own.

        If you think State Government will come to the party then think again. It is struggling to fund the scope of infrastructure works that it deems important and urgent. It won’t rush in to fund a proposal that will only result in a real estate bonanza, all provided on the public purse.

        Public servants and politicians all have a responsibility to ensure tax payers money is not wasted and spent on those things that provide the best cost / benefit. I still don’t believe there is a rational business case that would justify public expenditure in building any such bridge.

    • Ebenezer Howard, you might have been involved in the cabinet submission in the mid nineties, however this is now twenty years later. The current State Government is supporting a bridge proposal, provided it is mainly funded by private enterprise. This will be a typical PPP project, if it goes ahead.

      In a letter dated 03-09-14 it is stated
      “However, TMR does not, in principle, oppose a privately funded bridge.”

      • Now we are starting to narrow down the real options. Unlikely to involve Federal Government funding as it has no national road network significance. State Government says no thanks, but feel free to knock yourself out with a privately funded bridge. Local Government, don’t know what their current position is on this matter. Finally, a fully privately funded infrastructure project done for commercial profit.

        You do realise that PPP stands for Public (i.e. government) Private Partnership. On what you reported from the DTMR, that just leaves Council as your sole option for a PPP. Otherwise it is all “for profit” baby and won’t those toll charges hurt then. But hey, its feasible right, a lot of things change in 20 years?

        I no longer work for government so I can be a bit more full and frank, rather than the polite brush off you get now. It doesn’t stack up on a number of areas and government won’t waste further public monies doing more investigations. If you have a different opinion then you and residents are free to fund the initial feasibility study and then shop it around to Council / infrastructure investors.

        I am pretty sure that Council should have an old feasibility study floating around that would give you a solid starting point. Otherwise $100k should get a new study going. Also get them to estimate the cost, route, likely toll and business case feasibility and report back to us. It will make for some interesting reading.

        At some point you need to deal with realities. Nothing concentrates the mind more than a cold hard analysis of matters such as: where will it go; whose homes will be resumed; how much is it going to cost; how is it going to be funded; what are the benefits, what are the implications. Anything else is just pub talk that we can both prattle on about till the cows come home. You don’t believe me – that’s fine – but you now need to have some skin in this game. The Government has previously satisfied itself that it doesn’t stack up. Now the pro-bridge people need to satisfy themselves by using their own money to rigorously test its merits or otherwise. If you truly believe it is a goer then it should be a no brainer – do it.

        A lot of people got badly financially burnt by people selling dodgy tidal property on Russell Island, mainly to southerners, along with the whisper that the State Government is going to build a bridge to this island. This has been going on for a lot more that 20 years. I may sound cruel and indifferent to your desire to build a bridge, but this constant holding out hope only adds to this speculation, which in turn has real implications for a lot of people who get sold the dream without knowing the background and its likely chances of ever eventuating. That to me is cruel.

  16. Can someone please tell me what makes Russell Island so better than the others that it is the only island everybody seems to want a bridge to?
    Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact the Cr. Edwards own several blocks of land there by any chance?? If you want a bridge to one island then every island should get one.
    I’d be asking Edwards why your islands infrastructure is so bad but the chances are he won’t reply

  17. I’m a fire fighter and there defiantly needs to be a bridge, make it happen Redland bay council please………….

  18. I agree 100% in everything you have just said.
    I would love to move back to my home on Russell but because of work commitments I am unable due to water taxis timetables. Also my home was wrecked and I am unable to fix the damages due to barges being so dear to bring building materials over.
    Yes I agree for goodness sake we need a bridge big time

    Rosemary

    • When you are on a ferry and it is so crowded that the boat is lifting/tilting at the front so high that the announcement comes over and says “can everybody who is standing please move to the front of the boat please”, it truly is time to worry about overcrowding and in particular safety issues. This announcement happened on at least 3 occasions that I have travelled on the ferries and I only commute once or twice per week. More transport options are well overdue to keep up with population growth. It doesn’t matter where we live, we still pay taxes, rates, power bills, etc like everyone else and we still need infrastructure like everyone else.

  19. I have lived on Russell for 22 years. I am 80 yrs old. If I am going to the mainland for any reason I get up at 5am to get down to the ferry terminal just to make sure I get a car-park. I have a disability permit, but that makes no difference. Most times I do not have to be on the mainland before 9am. but that is what I have to do. I pay approx. $1200 per year for a secure car park on the mainland. This ensures I get a car-park over at Redland Bay. This also means that I have 2 cars. I would prefer to have just one as the added expense is substantial. Compared to living on the mainland, which I would like to do,but my house would not sell for enough on Russell to move & purchase a modest home on the mainland. I would be more than happy to pay a toll. I remember Bribie toll & Hornibrook . They worked!!! Isobel

  20. alot of spitting venom and eer “member” measuring in this thread, very little of the content is proactive.

    what is BEING DONE otherwise? are there any current petitions? where can we sign up for our voices to be heard?
    has anyone contacted PRIVATE bridge building companies for a ball park estimate? because i have a feeling the projected cost was given by the council, in an attempt scare off the general public and the state government. i could be wrong, but hell we all know they are not known for honesty.

    has anyone got statistics on how many people from brisbane area who go to say bribe island for weekend getaway? and how much estimated revenue is generated from these weekenders?

    what other pro’s financially can we present to the council? that also aids their agenda….

    people talking about taking action, can someone reply with some details to what is currently happening regarding the bridge?

    the one thing the government needs to address, they are 40 years overdue on a promise of a bridge, no matter how you wanna look at it, isnt 40 years enough? add more time to it, the cost of building will only increase, cant we keep reminding the council every dang week about what they have fallen short on for 40 years?

    i think Russell will be an even more beautiful spot with a bridge, no more stinking barges, piers rusting away polluting the environment, not to mention the old septic tanks, what are they doing to the soil?

    sheesh even if they said ok we will build it in stages, over a 10 year period or SOMETHING anything, they need to get off their luxurious chairs and own the dang seat they sit in.

  21. Peter,
    Slick arguing but unfortunately you like the original contributor miss the real point….i.e. The islanders want a bridge…. they don’t need one. They don’t live in 3rd word conditions. And, those who do live in challenging conditions on SMBIs, a bridge won’t solve their problems. There’s a term for what both are arguing and it’s “Emotional (political) Hyperbole (aka populist spin). In short big on unsupportable assertions etc but light on objective facts. “3rd world conditions”, “health risk” to whom? And how was this researched, does it exceed the average of other unpaved road areas? Some people on the mainland actually argue paving roads attracts more traffic and demonstrably deadly polluting particulars!

    In truth many of the land owners (particularly the non island residential ones) and real estate agents are hoping for a “win fall”. Again there is a term for this ” land speculation”, which is by definition a business choice. Just in case Peter has forgotten, business is a choice and one that has intrinsic risks. Meaning you can win or more often lose, otherwise we’d all be successful entrepreneurs.
    Where I differ from Peter and the myopic selfish is that it’s not up to the public (government) to fund/guarantee a successful business out comes. Particularly when it comes to untested/ business modeled “tourist business/destinations(?)”. Really? For who? Think about it, would you go to say Thailand to sit on an island like Russell, etc?

    Like it or not the SMBI residents are being represented as the minority they are and their actual needs in the Redlands electorate. That is entitled to proportionate needs and then wants. That principal under pins both our democracy and its capitalist ideology.

    Intrinsic to that is the islander’s choice to live in their environment, like most real life choices they simply aren’t analogous to a supermarket shopping where we can pick and choose to suit our whims etc. In reality we research (?) then choose a package of circumstances that best suits our needs/desires and hope/work(make appropriate sacrifices) for the best. Governments are tasked to decide on allocation of funds to needs before wants. However political parties prefer to ensure party power before all “needs” are satisfied.

    Given the “financial Crisis” (sic?) our conservative governments are agitating i.e. the lack of money to fund the needs of all the community. See their ads about interest costs and schools and hospitals.
    The question I would pose to the SMBI residents is your increased comfort worth the say saving lives, maybe yours or your families (hospitals having the latest and or best equipment)?
    Our current member is/was clearly notionally happy to sacrifice the needs of others (for party power and policy) by pandering to the disproportional wants of a voting minority on whom he believed he electorally needs(ed). Who knows what other contradictory votes he put in behind closed doors rather than offend party hierarchy.

    In short no one has ever put up a credible plan that shows how building said bridge would
    a. benefit the electorate as a whole
    b. the city (it’s resident would ultimately fund it) as a whole
    c. the state as a whole.
    d. that it is even viable, engineering and environmentally sound. AGW included.

    • Examinator ant, what an appropriate name for someone with such an insignificant view of this world, I am surprised you have not woven into your diatribe the SMBI is responsible from the price of petrol, global warming and maybe the middle east trouble. But to be fair you seem to keep yourself amused and that’s about all we can ask of someone who has no possibility giving some meaningful contibution to others in this world.

      • Peter, someone wisely said “if you can’t be a good roll model then be a perfect warning of what not to do for others”. You have proven the well established political observation. ‘that someone with out a logical response resorts to personal attack/invective in stead of engaging in a debate or noting alternatives .

        NB at no stage did I attack you personally rather, I questioned what you said and or have done. Oddly enough there is a difference true debates deal in facts not personal invective . To do otherwise says more about the one’s own ( emotive hyperbolic… read factually unprovable ) prejudices.

        Then again people have a “right” to complain but not so believed or actioned on.
        Contrary to your ill founded assertions , I have made several meaningful contributions to societies and surprise, surprise they weren’t self serving.

        I can only respectfully draw you back to the substance of my comments ….where is the real factual scientific/ intellectual proof ( not emotive hyperbole to appeal to other’s selfish prejudices?). i.e. how is taking money from greater more needier situations to satisfy a political outcome or a minorities want? Spin aside, that is exactly what the local member is advocating, that is, if we are to believe his party’s core argument “money is tight”. And before you go all LNP is less villainous than Labor . I’ll add that “two wrongs don’t make a right” …. The lessor of two evils is a nonsense i.e. which was more iniquitous Pohl Pot or Ghengis Khan? That depends on whether you were a direct victim. Objectively they were about the same.
        You see I don’t hold myself up as anything more than an insignificant (ant) voter who thinks/ examines but when joined by others the military ants of Africa are almost unstoppable regardless of the “self” importance of anything.
        None of the points either of you stand up to close examinable, objective scrutiny, particularly in the rational basis of the role of ‘representative government’.
        i.e. Objectively the government is there to look after the interests of ALL the electors in the state context…. that includes those who didn’t vote for the representative/ government ( both are apparently at least in doubt at the next election.)
        Again I challenge you and or the representative to objectively prove that a bridge is in the interests of the majority of Redlanders, Queenslanders.
        Next demonstrate to us how the money for the bridge couldn’t be spent to “pay down” the so called state budget catastrophe or spent on hospitals, schools etc for the increased population the mud at the wall development policy of the Current government and council.
        Seems to me that when “planning” one should plan within the constraint of the ability to provide infrastructure at an appropriate time. SWOT is just a start.
        Finally, I’m not saying that the state shouldn’t pay down said debts but how about making doing it over a longer time frame or not so that it hits the poor first to satisfy self serving political ends?
        Is that a ‘significant’ perspective enough for you ? And again what’s self serving in it.
        ** look up and read post-structuralism, the principals (purpose) of governments ( politics, sociology, anthropology), principals of scientific analysis, Principals of thought and reasoning. and rules of debate.

      • Examinator Ant, I will dissect your comments above that clearly show your unfounded ill-informed opinion rather than any credible examination of the real issues.
        Many issues raised by SMBI residents and owners over the past forty years do cause both social, financial suffering with considerable environmental damage to the bay and its marine creatures mostly ignored by all governments with permanent solutions. Firstly you state the islanders want a bridge but don’t need one, this is conjecture on your part as the islanders have been asking for a very long time for options that can provide additional and cheaper 24 hr transport solutions for service delivery considered in planning schemes. Clearly a bridge is one possible solution available to address many SMBI issues but by no means the only one.

        Presently the only transport options available to these islands inhibits social interaction, service delivery , business growth and employment options by adding unnecessary cost via a monopoly marine transport situation with limited available bookings and limited hours of service available.
        No one could argue a bridge would not provide a solution to many of these issues and ultimately will have to be put on the infrastructure agenda at some point in future when community need is the driving consideration rather than construction cost.
        You also state that owners and real estate agents are hoping for a win fall, well this can happen anywhere but many measures are available for governments to leverage funds gained from rates and sales into infrastructure contributions via levies and taxes from capital gains as has been raised recently by state governments with local infrastructure projects.
        It is important not to punish everyone for the actions of a few by ignoring the needs of the island community.
        Many long term owners I speak to, both resident and non resident have purchased land expecting to ultimately build a home into communities managed properly by governments charged with catering for the residents needs via town plans and infrastructure forecasts in place for future population growth, this has not happened to date. I have not met anyone owning SMBI property not willing to contribute to necessary island infrastructure if these additional costs are applied fairly with proper community consultation by government.
        SMBI growth has occurred unchecked over the past ten years with services and infrastructure buckling under the strain.
        Infrastructure planning and construction has happened across South East Queensland since settlement so why do you wish to deny one community from this basic expectation. SMBI pays much more proportionally that do other Redland ratepayers and receive less basic built infrastructure than you would enjoy on Stradbroke, Coochiemudlo Islands or the Redland mainland under the discriminatory SMBI rate categories.

        Now I will move on to your comments about not believing residents live with third world conditions in relation to health. Have you ever considered the implications on public and environmental health via the leaching of sewerage from outdated septic systems into surrounding soil and contamination of the bay or the dust from passing vehicles traveling on unsealed dirt roads on young lungs. These dangers have already been documented by authorities yet again no long term solution on treatment or prevention is in place in 2016. I can only ask that you Examinator Ant and anyone else for that matter take the time to visit the islands on a ferry at peak travel times to see the crowded boats then travel around the islands to see just how this community has to deal with family visits, employment difficulties, basic service needs and high costs before you make judgement.

  22. Karen, if you would take the time to be informed on what goes on around you you would be aware that council via our rates are subsidising infrastructure to a considerable value all recent and future private residential and commercial developments. So you statement on developers are paying for all infrastructure costs through the sale of land is not true. A bridge will certainly have some negative impact on the imediate surroundings during construction and to a much lesser extent after completion is designed properly. The present marine transport infrastructure is continually hammering the bay and its creatures and this desperately needs to change, please be a part of the solution rather than ignore what is happening to this beautiful part of the bay. A road bridge is by far the best long term solution along with careful development on the islands and the mainland.

    • Peter, thank you for bringing some reason into this discussion instead of merely repeating some moldy mantras that do not, in fact, do any favour to anyone on this page (and beyond).

    • Peter, so true and oddly, the ones who keep repeating most loudly that we islanders ‘chose to live there’ usually say so from the comfort of their mainland conveniences, no Translink levy, not being levied for almost each and every piece of progress and infrastructure we get – rather disproportionately if you consider the rates we all pay here, too, in hope of not being stalled in the late 1980s or 90s.

  23. I remember when Brisbane City and suburbs all had thunderbox toilets out the back of the house and Clem Jones started sewering the houses. I don’t recall anyone saying ‘you chose to live in Brisbane, so you can’t develop into the 20th century’. Yes, Russell is an island, but it needs updating in its infrastructure to the same standard of the other parts of the Redlands council area. After all, we are paying the same rates (plus levies particular to the SMBI). We require a sewer network, but can’t get one without a bridge. Something the rest of the suburbs in Redlands takes for granted.

  24. It’s difficult to take this article seriously with absurd statements proclaiming that Russell Island is “like living in a poverty stricken third world country !!” – Seriously? I suggest that the writer of this piece go and reside in an actual “poverty stricken third world country” for a while before making such ridiculous comparisons.

    • Lilian obviously you find it hard to take this article seriously and you are not the only one to do so because you and some others obviously know little of the very real and complex situation. All I can say to you and others with a similar view is just spend a week living in an island families shoes and while you are there have a look at the impact the marine transport is having on this part of the bay. When making comments on an issue such as this it is better to experience these problems first hand at the source rather than making comments from afar with no knowledge of the gravity of the situation.
      State Government have caused this problem so they with council assistance that need to find a solution on. How nice it would be if you and the community could get behind these fellow Redland SMBI residents rather that criticize their difficulties only governments have control over.

      • Peter, do you honestly believe the comparison between Russell Island and a “poverty stricken third world country” to be accurate? And please don’t assume that I know little of the situation and that I’m making comments from afar with no knowledge of the situation. I am a SMBI resident and have been for the last 6 years. So I am indeed “living in an island families shoes” and I’ve also spent many years living in mainland Redlands and I am well aware of the history of the SMBI and the ongoing bridge debate. The devastation to the marine life is heartbreaking but the barges and ferries are far from being solely responsible for that. Recreational boats play a large role in the injuries and death to marine life, yet that is conveniently never mentioned when arguing for a bridge. Also, if Russell Island was to be bridged that still leaves three islands that will be requiring water based transport to service them, so the ferries and barges will still continue operating in the bay. So as far as I’m concerned that’s just another poorly reasoned argument for a bridge and the quote “a bridge would solve issue of the Bay being destroyed” is misleading. Further on the subject of the ferries… overcrowding is always mentioned by bridge supporters and that’s not accurate either. I’ve been catching ferries regularly in 6 years to commute to the mainland for work at least 5 days per week during both peak times and off-peak times and I’ve not once been on a ferry that has been at full capacity let alone being overcrowded. Overcrowded is not the same thing as full capacity by the way. Full capacity would be every seat taken up inside and out and also both aisles where the approximate 50 handrails are fitted to also be filled with 50 or so standing commuters. I have never seen a ferry completely full and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen anybody standing at all. The “feeling packed like sardines” is something I’ve experienced many times commuting on buses and trains to and from the city during peak hours but NEVER on the ferries. If occasionally people have to stand during a 20 minute or so ferry trip it’s not the end of the world. Mainland public transport commuters experience it all the time. I’m not in favour of a bridge but I don’t completely object to one being built either. What I do object to is the constant negativity from bridge supporters in their arguments for wanting a bridge. Unfortunately I don’t see Russell Island ever shaking the bad reputation it has when bridge supporters continually point out (and exaggerate) very publicly every little negative aspect of the island in trying to gain support for the bridge. It’s doing the island more harm than good, which is extremely sad. If people started publicly promoting the positives of the island (of which there are many!), then, and only then, perhaps an investor may find the idea of building a bridge to be an enticing one. Right now, who in their right mind would wish to invest money into building a bridge to an island being compared to a “poverty stricken third world country?”

    • Lilian
      The bridge lobby is requesting connection from the mainland to Russell Island only via a bridge so rest assured we are not wanting the remaining Islands bridged, you will still get you wish of no bridge to your house. We will however make sure as part of a total solution the other islands will be serviced by a much more effective and efficient marine transport than is the case now. Our plan will include utilising a combination of short haul vehicular cable barges only between the islands and passenger ferries servicing both between islands and Redland bay to decrease the impact on the marine environment around the Islands. Yes I will not disagree the private boating fraternity have some responsibility in marine animal strike but very few private craft travelling in these channels have propellers of a commercial size that is evident in recent photographs of physical injuries to killed and maimed animals. How you or anyone can argue for continuing the transport system that exists today with the documented damage that is occuring to both environment and marine life is beyond me. I certainly applaud all those that can see a much better solution to this issue than to hide under a rock as you seem to portray on this page.

      • thanks peter for this reply to Lillian , it absolutley astounds me that people can take rates from a community to feather northern Redlands unequally , to actually feel no remorse that the rates of some 22,000 ratepayers were used to founder and pay for the infrastructure the North of RCC enjoys . As someone who has been a RCC ratepayer for over 33 years and witness to a back water rural community emerging from a small group of Rural rate payers and small village clusterings to the city of today ,I am disheartened by the ruthless greedy notion that the city depriving 22,000 rate payers any infrastructure for some 40yrs , while over servicing and feathering the nests of the North of the city would be cruel and brazen enough to use the put down “You chose to live there “…..and why should the south of mainland redlands have any development . Where do the self serving have the audacity to take hard earned money from ratepayers and believe they are the only ones entitled to all the infrastructure for the best part of 4oyrs and even worse think they are entitled to continue this money grab ….the ferries and barges are killing our wildlife ,FACT….the diesal fuels are contaminating our waterways ,FacFACT ….. The need for more and more ferries and barges are apparent now , let alone when the PDA s on both island transfer hubs turn the transport hubs into chaos ,FACT….the turbidity of our waterways has been destructive on sea grasses and sealife nurseries of the Mangroves , FACT….The foreshore destruction because of the ferries and barges in b oth the mainland and especially the islands ,FACT so get the blinkers off all you so called greenies and start looking after the not so cuddly Dugong and sea turtle …. the fish nurseries of the boatwashed turbid foreshores of the SMBI and look at the benefits of Bridging Russell Island ,taking the mainland foreshore transport hub off Redlands and giving the people of Russell Island and those of the other islands safe , clean access to the mainland and learn to be a community supporter rather than me me me with the RCC rates and infrastructure

      • Sam, another fact for you….infrastructure now is paid for by the property developer, the cost being passed onto the purchase price of the parcel of land; so the land owner actually pays for it….if they choose to purchase said land in said development.
        FYI: my father-in-law purchased a block of land on Russell 35 odd years ago…when it was “buy one get one free”.
        Besides enjoying the beautiful parks of the Redlands, I’ve only ever asked for one thing from RCC – to remove a dead tree from the footpath…we would’ve done it ourselves, but it is unlawful to do so! My point is Sam, no, not everyone suggesting that no bridge should go ahead is doing so for selfish reasons. In fact, I would suggest quite the contrary!
        There are many ways to read ‘documented evidence’ just as there are many ways to preserve marine and wildlife. What are the negative impacts on environment of installing a bridge from mainland to Russell Island? Not just during construction, but the impact on what I imagine will be the heavily increased patronage of the island once completed.
        Also, there are many areas on the mainland that are likewise charged levies on their council rates; all waterways areas for example. You’re not on your Pat Malone there!

  25. Dangerous assumptions! I only have mains power (supplemented by solar) and phone (as it was there when I bought the property). I fully support better and cheaper access to the SMBI and the need for better services. But I am against a bridge. As i said if there is a self-funding case, then bring it on, but we all know that is not likely.
    The situation is no different to someone buying a block out west and then complaining that they are too far from a hospital. People have to be responsible for the decisions they make and not to expect scarce funding to be skewed in their favour.

    • If my last reply to you constitures a dangerous assumption in your mind then David my support for you has just waned. We need political representation to also tackle all unpalettable issues in the community and this is certainly one of them. Maybe you can answer the points I raised so others may have a better understanding of your position on reducing the impact the bay and marine life are faceing right now with overflowing marine transport. These residents need solutions not uncaring remarks from someone maybe hoping to gain support at the next state election.

  26. Similar situation to having a property in a ruarl area only to find years later it is surrounded by subdivisions with thousands of people living next door with neighbours and council saying you should not have town water and town services the next door neighbours have because you chose to live in a once rural area. What a ridiculous argument the ignorant spread saying you choose to live on an island and should not be entitled to infrastructure that is needed to cope with population increases. And to add insult these island people are dictated to contribute a higher council rate charges than all other divisions in the Redlands currently pay to live on an island without the infrastructure we are contributing to.

  27. It will not be an island if there is a bridge! If residents on Russell want a bridge, they should come up with a funding plan that does not require the tax or rate payer coming to the party.

    • Bribie and Redcliffe …when did they have to supply money for their bridge and what about all those island rates used to build the RCC and it’s infrastructure ….and while we are at it …when did the islanders start critisizing all the mainland for their free rides ….people in glass houses …or miserable profiteering infrastructure seekers paid for by the ratepayers of the SMBI for the past 40yrs daring to complain when the islands want what you have taken from their rates ,start to come there way ….unbelievably selfish and uncaring ….I hope this narcissistic attitude towards others in the community takes a long hard look at the greed and self serving of those who happily take resources from ratepayers to bolster their own amenities …..Sounds like the vicious vitriol of the old council fanclub especially those of the northern divisions who raied the rates of the islands to set themselves up

    • I am rather disappointed in your reply David Keogh to this issue as I am sure you have not fully paid by yourself with no other tax or ratepayer contributions all the services that run into your home like telephone, electricity, water and sewerage if you enjoy these benefits. Also you most certainly have not paid for all your choices or road connection to and from the driveway of your home to whatever destination you desire. I am sure the islanders don’t expect ratepayers or taxpayers to fully fund a bridge just the basic right to have services match population increases without the marine life and health of the surrounding bay continually degrading through the massive increase in ferry and barge trips per day. Like everyone else that criticize the plea without talking the time to do some research on the facts before making stupid public statements.

  28. excellent appraisal on what has been happening …the need for Russell to be bridged is a no brainer and with our travel hub being privatised and parking spots being toted at a $30K asking price within that PDA where do they expect our communities to access fpr jobs, tuition, health and amenities while the state government plays it’s callous card of segregatiton and isolation

  29. Sorry, but this sounds all too familiar like the people who buy or build directly under the flight path of noisy jet aircraft at a major airport. And then they immediately start moaning and groaning about the noise etc. Same as when you decide to “life an island life” then after moving in and KNOWING that there is an extremely low chance of a bridge ever being erected, start complaining over the lack of this facility!

    Everybody in and around the Redlands ALWAYS KNEW that the odds of a bridge being built were close to zero so, again I’m sorry for your plight, but you folks knew all the pros and cons of island life BEFORE you moved there, so you just have to accept it and keep pressuring this worst-ever Council in an effort to have the problems addressed!

    • I’m sorry but I have to disagree people move to the island for a variety of reasons and you expect that communities will evolve and infrastructure will be provided to meet the needs of the growth of that community not left stagnate.

      I personally moved to the SMBI so I could afford to buy my own home without suffering financial hardship, When I first moved to Russell Island in 2007 travel by barge and ferry were affordable since they have risen by 40% and still rising I have seen minimal infrastructure while we are still paying for services our mainland cousins take for advantage each rate payer on the islands paid a $70 levy to help pay for a community pool we are subjected to an annual $88 fee to subsides translink services provided to the wider community with no additional of pocket expenses towards public transport travel and community infrastructure

      Yes I chose to live on the islands just as people choose to live all over SEQ in suburbs knowing they are prone to Cyclones, flooding, bush fires just to mention a few does that mean they should be denied the right to have their basic needs meet a safe community one that offers adequate employment health services sealed roads lighting footpaths reliable transport just to mention a few the islands have not been allocated these basic needs due to governments at all levels placing the SMBI in the to hard basket hoping the problems would vanish.

      However the SMBI have continued to grow with the approval of both past and present local and state governments consequently now having a bigger responsibility to the SMBI community the only way forward is to build a bridge to Russell the benefits out-way the costs.

  30. I’d like to note that serious injuries have already occurred due to the jetty’s condition- both tripping, or slipping as the planks become slippery when the rain blows in. Janelle dislocated her kneecap in this manner (she’s not the only one to have had issues)

    I’d also like no note that the ferry is difficult to access for those with mobility issues- park the car (up the hill, as all close spots are taken) get out, walk down the hill and navigate the jetty’s obstacles (not easy with , for example, a walking frame) get on the ferry, get into a different vehicle… do the whole lot in reverse on the way back. This has caused several people I know to miss appointments for treatment not available on the islands, as …well, they weren’t up to it, as well as simply being unable to manage it with shopping.

  31. Redland Council has an agenda that does not include Coochiemudlo Island or lower bay islands. Straddy is the jewell in their crown….. Mining slings…. What is going to happen when that ceases? Redlands Council considers all of the Islands are non-existant, collect all rates, water, etc, and give nothing back… Come on all Bay Islands unite to show big numbers of citizens who are fed up with this treatment. In years to come, there will be a bridge by private enterprise to the southern end of Russell Island to Straddy. Hope I live to see it…..

  32. Redland residents need to get behind us on this issue as SMBI residents are reaching desperation point, only few ignorant people publically comment on their plight being their own fault for living on an island. But is this a fair criticism when the same could be said about people living on either side of the Brisbane river before these bridges were built to connect them. We are living in the 21st centurary with most Island infrastructure early 20th at best.

  33. WHY move to an island and then demand a bridge???? If you want suburban mainland infrastructure… Live on the mainland. How can you move to a place with X level of facilities then hop up and down complaining about it? It makes no sense. Tourists may visit because you are an island (a novel thing for many people) but for what reason would they visit if you are just another random part of the mainland? Stop winging about what you don’t have. Celebrate what you do well and if you don’t like it, move back to suburbia.

    • Yes, Anonymous, I would have to agree. Rita raises some seriously questionable arguments; of particular distress is: The isolation contributes to kids turning to drugs and alcohol as a future with jobs and university is out of reach for some. Are you really suggesting that it’s the council’s dilemma when parents choose to live on Russell? How about if parents live wherever is necessary to ensure a bright future for their children? We call that being a grown-up; responsible parenting; living to one’s needs and means. You simply can’t demand island life to then jump up and down about the inconvenience of island life. Remember why you moved there; if the lifestyle no longer fits…move.

      • Karen it is not our choice to get ripped off on rates by this council to have the majority of revenue spent away from the SMBI
        , but it will be our choice to make sure that we get a council at the next election that represents all its residents and not only a select few as they do now.

    • When as an SMBI owner the council SMBI rate category is applied at around for times a similarly valued property in other Redland division resulting in having to pay more than 2x the annual bill of a mainland property. This coupled with poor services no sewerage an a nightly curfew on travel I think SMBI owners have every right to complain.

    • Please be mature enough to identify yourself everyone is entitled to their opinion but at least have thee courage to put your name to your view anyone can hide behind anonymous

    • People bought on the Island[a Redland Council Suburb because the Bridge was promised but someone put a stop to it and the Resort that Jamie Dury was going to landscape .Was $ involved???

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