Toondah Harbour biodiversity and more housing development in Victoria Point


This week’s letters keep the spotlight on planned development in the Redlands.

Doug Jones writes about Toondah Harbour’s biodiversity and the Clay Gully residential development in Victoria Point is discussed by Joy and Mike Rowe.

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More development in Victoria Point

800 sqare metre blocks along Barcrest Drive - are they designed for splitting ? (click to enlarge)

This shows half of the proposed development with 800m2 blocks along Barcrest Drive (click to enlarge)

It seems Ausbuild have now set their sights on bringing on their development of land to Victoria Point near Clay Gully Road and Brendan Way.

Ausbuild have placed two one-page advertisements in the Bulletin saying that they have increased the block sizes and decreased the number of blocks.

In fact in the application and the public notice they are still applying for 289 blocks, with sizes as small as 312 sq.m.

According to the Redland City Bulletin, they have increased the blocks backing onto Barcrest Ave and Clay Gully to 800 sqm. However, it seems these blocks could then be split into 400 sq.m. blocks and so community voices are being ignored, again.

Joy  & Mike Rowe
Victoria Point


Biodiversity around Toondah Harbour

Bar-tailed godwits taking off from Oyster Point

Bar-tailed godwits taking off from Oyster Point

I have been a resident of Redland City for forty years and over the past 35 years have lived in Cleveland. Each morning, when I am at home and weather permitting, I walk with my wife down to Oyster Point. The natural beauty of the foreshore and the views across Moreton Bay and to G. J. Walter Park never cease to inspire me. It is, quite simply, a regenerative experience!

Some mornings there can be as many as several hundred birds wading on the foreshores at Oyster Point. I am aware that some of them are migratory, often travelling enormous distances to Oyster Point. Egrets, pelicans and cormorants are common sights.

In addition, the mangrove foreshore between Oyster Point and Toondah Harbour is the habitat for Eastern Ospreys and White-bellied Sea-Eagles. I’ve seen a juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo make its presence known through its incessant demands for food. These cuckoos are the largest parasitic birds in the world and on one particular morning, the juvenile cuckoo was demanding food from a crow, which may well have been the host parent bird that unknowingly raised it from a chick.

So it is not simply birds such as curlews that migrate to Oyster Point. The Channel-billed Cuckoos migrate from New Guinea and Indonesia to eastern and northern Australia at the start of summer to breed and return to New Guinea and Indonesia in late summer. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the area is quite significant for bird and other life, including marine life (e.g. breeding grounds for crabs and other marine crustaceans.

Mangroves south of Toondah Harbour

Mangroves south of Toondah Harbour

The whole coastal mangrove environment from Toondah Harbour south to Victoria Point comprises some of the best and most well preserved mangrove habitat in Moreton Bay and it was only right and proper that the whole area was included in the Moreton Bay Marine Park when it was gazetted.

Anyone taking the time to understand and value this amazingly diverse ecosystem would also realize that the area is, from time to time, the home of carpet snakes, koalas and quite a range of lizards.

This whole foreshore area is valuable for its aesthetic and environmental value! Since the development of the Eddie Santagiulana Way, a growing number of people have taken the opportunity to experience the beauty and the “bush-like” feel of this great foreshore environment, even though they may not appreciate fully the biodiversity of the area.

It is against this backdrop that I continue to write to express real concerns about the new Toondah Harbour development.

I believe that improvements can and should be made to the current facilities at that harbour, but to imposed an anthropocentric vision which is what the Proposed Development Scheme amounts to, onto an area with incredibly rich biodiversity and natural beauty is simply a travesty.  It also sets aside some forty years of growing public awareness underpinned by state and federal legislation that has moved the wider community towards a more biocentric approach to development planning and habitat preservation.

Bush-stone curlews in the salt marsh south of Toondah Harbour add to the biodiversity of this area

Bush-stone curlews in the salt marsh near Toondah Harbour

I regret that the Toondah Harbour development has moved another step forward without the community truly understanding the true impact that its large-scale reclamation will have on the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Meaningful and detailed community consultation must occur to seriously consider what can be done to lessen the massive impact on the environment that this enormous development, which will house another 10,000 people, will have.

I have refrained from commenting on a number of matters in this letter such as the arrogant assumption that any government, be it local, state or federal, can ride rough-shod over a community’s love of communally-owned open spaces (that is, parks), the perversion of democratic process (setting aside the Redlands 2030 Community Plan), and the use of economic development as the primary prism through which to view reality.

Surely, the past forty years have taught us just how destructive approaches to development have been, resulting in many cases in sterile environments bereft of biodiversity and natural aesthetics.

I am not opposed to a reasonable upgrade to Toondah Harbour but the Proposed Development Scheme could hardly be described as reasonable when assessed against environmental, aesthetic, democratic and communal well being criteria.

Douglas Jones


Letters published by Redlands2030 – 14 December 2015

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7 thoughts on “Toondah Harbour biodiversity and more housing development in Victoria Point

  1. i would prefer the State Government builds whatever is achievable with $90 mill of our money rather than the environmental and community legacy that would be Toondah Harbour’s latest plans. Takes the sleazy local politics out of it – back tot he good ol’ days of government providing infrastructure ! that’s all we want…………..

  2. Douglas Jones, your insightful analysis should be compulsive reading for everyone who has any say in what happens at Toondah Harbour. Sadly, when a dollar is to be made, concern for the natural environment is given scant regard by decision makers. I have never understood why we need to reclaim land from the ocean to build houses on.

  3. Moreton Bay is a Ramsar Wetland. This Council should not allow destruction of an ecologically significant site which is designated as having international importance. The mangroves and associated casuarina vegetation along the coast of the Bay is their duty to preserve.

  4. Reading here about Ausbuild developing 289 block sizes 312 sq.m at Cnr Clay Gully Rd and Brendan Way, Victoria Point, fills me with dread as to how traffic generated by this estate, will impact on the already busy thoroughfares resulting in gridlock at some intersections during rush hour today. Lliving close by 4-way intersection off Finucane Rd Capalaba, hear sirens every day with noise and air pollution affecting health of those lining roadsides with inadequate pollution barriers. Opening front door early morning, I am greeted with the smell of foul air. News to date is that State government is allocatng zero funds to building the dedicated busway Coorparoo-Capalaba, plus the promised rail project…where no progress has been made since 1987 when rail was progressed from Thorneside to Cleveland. With infrastructure not keeping pace with rampant development in Redlands, how are we, the people, in Redland City to cope? Our politicians, collectively, at all levels, need to get these projects moving to encourage motorists to leave their cars at home and take public transport resulting in cleaner air and a more liveable environment and there is no time like the present.

  5. Hear hear Douglas Jones. Such informed words and beautiful images. Let’s hope it (along with significant volumes of wisdom forwarded the Federal Minister in recent weeks) is heeded. It beggars belief how such an inappropriate proposal could get so quickly through processes meant to scrutinise, identify and remove inappropriate aspects.

  6. This is such a well thought-out and insightful letter – the best appraisal I have read to date. I just hope that the decision-makers read and take heed of its message. Sadly I fear that it will fall on deaf ears.

    • Peter, I do so agree this is a fine appraisal of Toondah Harbour’s natural wonders. I believe as well that we will prevail in our opposition to the grotesque overdevelopment being proposed. From as unlikely a source as the late Alan Bond (a rapacious developer who would raze the mangroves of Toondah Harbour without a second thought as well as bulldoze the glorious semi-wild natural environment in GJ Walter Park that Douglas Jones describes) I always remember a shrewd piece of advice: never take NO from those authorised to say YES. Our governments – the local council and the state and federal governments – are all authorised to say YES we will save and preserve the outstanding environmental values of Moreton Bay Marine Park. And YES we will sensitively revitalise the rundown port facilities. Redland City Council estimates the cost to fix the port is $100 million. Coincidentally, in the next budget the State government allocates $90 million for ‘infrastructure’ at Toondah Harbour. Just $10 million more and the new port is paid for! and we would be spared the catastrophic environmental destruction as well as the noise and disruption staged over two decades as this almighty folly of a marina city for 10,000 is birthed in the tidal mudflats onto toxic dredge spoil. There is no need to build Walker Group’s $2 billion castles in the air at Toondah. This is lunacy we can resist. We can prevail too.

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