Councillors recently issued divisional newsletters. In Division 2 Cr Mitchell stepped into the Toondah debate with a “Toondah Harbour update” which would have benefited from some fact checking.
Sadly, Cr Mitchell’s contribution contains some fundamental errors. He wrongly declared there was a “green light” to progress the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The Federal Minister for the Environment has made no such decision. There is no “green light” because as yet there are no terms of reference for an an EIA.
The Federal Minister is awaiting advice from Walker Group on whether they are seeking to have the State or the Commonwealth undertake the assessment process.
So the next move is in fact up to the Walker Group not the Commonwealth or State government.
Update or marketing campaign?
The “update” from Cr Mitchell describes the project as …”innovative design, engineering, sustainability and environmental responses to deliver a world-class gateway that will better connect residents and visitors to the diverse coastal experiences and natural attractions of Moreton Bay…”
The flood of adjectives is more of a marketing campaign than a responsible update published by an elected official at ratepayers expense.
How can 3,600 dwellings in Moreton Bay enhance “natural attractions”?
Did readers of the “update” notice that it failed to mention that the cost of project is dominated by the cost of constructing the 3,600 apartments. These will be in the Bay and home for up to 10,000 people and some 4,500 cars.
Further, the construction of gateway facilities for ferries and barges are not due to commence until the first 900 units are sold which could take many years.
The update ignored community opposition
A community update might have at least acknowledged local sensitivity about the project.
He could, for example, have mentioned the number of submissions to the revised EPBC referral process. There were 1,419 submissions and of these 1,411 oppose Toondah and only eight support the project.
These facts were readily available and would have added balance and completeness to the Councillor’s Toondah update.
Ratepayers might also be interested to learn that in the face of 1,419 formal submissions to a new referral application by Walker’s the Redland City Council never even debated the issue. A reasoned update might have explained why Council itself made no submission on behalf of its community.
Community angst was also evident in a petition tabled before Council on 22 November 2017. There were 1,163 residents (and tourists) who asked Council to withdraw support from the project.
Cr Mitchell was present when the petition was launched and could easily have ascertained that hundreds were signing the petition at the Toondah Rally.
The “update“ could also have mentioned the Redland City Bulletin poll which has found 85% of respondents want the Toondah PDA stopped.
Cr Mitchell’s personal view “I believe our community deserves to see this opportunity tested” is clearly at odds with the local community’s opinion.
Check the facts on Toondah
Councillor Mitchell recently complained about social media reports on Council’s removal of trees near to Toondah Harbour.
He said “regarding some necessary tree removal does require a factual response”. He went on to say “I acknowledge the sensitivity around tree removal and these trees are in a known Koala area”.
He concluded his spray with “whatever your passion, play hard, play fair, and please take personal responsibility to fact check before reacting”.
With this in mind, perhaps his next update, published at ratepayers’ expense, should be more accurate, balanced and fact checked before it ends up in residents’ letterboxes.
Redlands2030 would be pleased to assist any councillor who wants accurate information about the likely impact of Walker Group’s plans for massive residential development on Ramsar wetlands next to Toondah Harbour.
Redlands2030 – 8 December 2017