They gathered in the picturesque gardens of “Creative Alice” and they looked like a group of old friends gathering to tell stories about the “good old times” over tea and coffee.
But the members of the old Secure Toondah’s Invaluable Resources (STIR) committee did not come together to discuss the weather or the good old days….they came together to get down to business, again. They came together, determined as ever…to protect Toondah’s invaluable resources from the mega residential development now threatening Toondah Harbour.
STIR formed in 1988
The STIR get together was their first in about 28 years. In the shadow of the Raby Bay development the STIR members fought to stop the plans of Brisbane Shores Pty Ltd for a massive canal development that would have reclaimed 130 hectares of sea bed and pushed development 2 kilometers into Moreton Bay. The STIR team put together a petition of 12,000 people and the development was finally abandoned in 1989.
Today they are dismayed that the Government’s commitments in 1989 have been disregarded and that their work from years ago was being trashed. Attending the STIR get together were former Redland Shire Division 2 Councillor Frank Bradley, former senior citizen of the year (in 2010) Esme Whitby, and Brian and Sue Whitelaw. Friends and supporters also attended, with a view to carrying on the STIR legacy.
At the time, Local Member and then Minister for Justice, Paul Clauson conceded the project would be abandoned because, he said “it was unacceptable”.
In 1990, Darryl Briskey was elected to State Parliament and in his inaugural Parliamentary speech paid tribute to STIR, he said
We owe it to our children to protect and to learn to live in harmony with our environment. We must all work together to leave a better world for them.
For the members of STIR that was job done, until the new LNP Government acted to flout established planning laws and devised the Economic Development Act and its the crude development tools: Priority Development Areas (or PDAs). The Toondah PDA was planned for 800 residential apartments and a 300-400 berth marina. The return of the ALP to power in 2015 saw the number of planned residential apartments on reclaimed land in Moreton Bay grow to 3,600, combined with a 400 berth marina. The change in the scale of the development flies in the face of all public consultation.
STIR meets again
The view of the STIR members is that the Walker Corporation’s plans for Toondah are no better than that proposed by Brisbane Shores in the late 1980’s.
STIR member, Sue Whitelaw asked why plans for a massive Toondah development have come back again after State Government assurances in 1989? Do Government assurances mean nothing?
She concluded “Toondah is being threatened as an environmental disaster…again”
Frank Bradley, former Councillor for Division 2, and previously a professional fisherman, said that at the time of STIR he was very concerned at the loss of mangroves and impacts on fish stocks. This week he said “I am concerned again, and that if dredging proceeds the silt plumes and acid sulphate soils will likely destroy the marine life in the bay, including the corals.
More broadly, he is well aware of the refuge that koalas take in the coastal strip that follows the Eddie Santaguliana walkway. And he went on to say, “the worse thing Council is doing is the way they are treating the koalas.
Well known, and long term Cleveland resident, Esme Whitby said “the proposal is wrong, very wrong. High rise buildings, marina and the impacts on Cassim Island and GJ Walter Park are wrong. STIR is still here, and will be making our views known.
Brian Whitelaw said “STIR thought we had resolved the Toondah development over 25 years ago with both levels of government. And now we have to do it all again. He reminded colleagues that at the time of the STIR campaign the Shire’s strap line “keep the Redlands clean and green” and that “it is sad so much of the green is being destroyed”.
Brian concluded “the Toondah PDA is a big threat to the remaining green” and he questioned “would the Federal Government fill-in part of Lake Burley Griffin for a high-rise development and a quick buck?”
Calling all STIR campaigners
As the discussion among STIR members picked up they discussed the deeds of the past, the actions and commitment needed to collect signatures of 12,000 petitioners and the names of other members of the original STIR committee and its supporters. The level of concern among the STIR members echoed more recent community concerns about the plans for the Toondah Harbour precinct.
The longstanding STIR members decided it was time to call all the original members together again. It will be a reunion to be held in a month or so and if anyone knows the whereabouts of former members they can send contact details to email@example.com .
Former councillor Frank Bradley
Former Division 2 Councillor, Frank Bradley has been a long standing opponent of dredging based development near Toondah Harbour.
His concerns about risks to Moreton Bay’s fisheries from the proposed Toondah dredging project were recently reported by the Redland City Bulletin.
Mr Bradley said he had been in contact with recently elected Division 2 Councillor, Peter Mitchell and will ask Cr Mitchell to the STIR reunion to hear the concerns of his constituents.
Questions raised about Walker Corporation’s project
Mr Bradley has raised a number of questions and requests for information about Walker Corporation’s proposed development. He is hoping that Cr Mitchell can help get them answered.
- Details of the consent from both the Federal and Queensland governments to develop accommodation within the tidal areas adjacent to Toondah Harbour and the consent , if any conditions to that consent
- Details of the consent from both the Federal and Queensland governments to develop a 400 berth marina within the tidal areas adjacent to Toondah Harbour and the consent , if any conditions to that consent
- The results of all samples, drilling results of sample testing of the area and the depth of the expected support for foundations for this below high water mark for the areas in the intertidal areas
- The effect of tidal movement of any and all acid sulphate on the ecology of Moreton Bay, especially the coral colonies at Peel, Cassim, Wellington Point, Green Island, St Helena Island and Mud Island plus the likely effect on marine life within Noreton Bay areas
- The effect of the disturbance of the defouling paint ”Tri-Bulai Tin“ within proximity to the harbour and the intent of the developer to accomplish this task without damage to the marine life within the area.
- The reason given to Council to have all discussions regarding this project held behind closed doors or commercial in confidence
- The use of parkland adjacent to the proposed marina for parking, storage and maintenance of vessels and the treatment of all waters used in this maintenance
- Details of the consent from both the Federal and Queensland governments to establish an area of land with spoil from this land and conditions, if any of that consent
- The advice given to Councillors by Council officers in terms of the whole intertidal proposal
- Any and all advice given to council regarding this proposal.
Toondah Planning Forum
Redlands2030 is convening a Toondah planning forum on Sunday 5th June 2016. The forum will bring together planners, architects, engineers and ecologists to discuss a “clean slate” planning scenario. Details of the event and how anyone can attend will be posted soon on the Redlands2030.net website and Facebook page.