Toondah Harbour proposal is all wrong

The proposed Toondah Harbour project and overall lack of community input into planning continue to be of major concern to many as shown in these letters to the Editor.

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Protect our spectacular natural environment

Location of the proposed Toondah Harbour project to dredge Ramsar wetlands and build 3,600 apartments

Please, please, local government, think!
We are blessed with natural surrounds in Cleveland.
I live in North Street and often bike ride around Toonah Harbour area.

You need to respect, protect our spectacular natural environment!

No to concrete jungle!
Not here
Not ever!!!!!


Toondah Harbour proposal is all wrong

Plan of the area at Toondah Harbour to be impacted by dredging and development of 3,600 apartments.

Plan of the area at Toondah Harbour to be impacted by dredging and development of 3,600 apartments.

When will this Council and these Councillors admit the Toondah Harbour proposal is just all wrong? It comes from a different era and those still promoting it should apologise to the residents of and visitors to the shire for their pig-headedness.

Really, the concept is so dated it belongs in the Joh era. A time when we could claim we didn’t know any better. I’ve been told it would never happen in NSW, Victoria or even Tasmania.

Remember, the concept stretches along the coast from Cassim Island north to opposite the Old School House Gallery. The existing ferry terminal is a pimple in comparison to the real goal of massive residential development. Its impacts during construction and later will extend well beyond the red lines on the maps.

Surely, if proponents of this development were honest promoters then the development would be called EAST Cleveland. With a strap line something like ”remember the Bay…because we filled it”.

Clearly it will double the traffic in the area, and existing access to and through Cleveland is not designed for these loads. The major legacy will be serious congestion at peak times.

Recently, the Queensland Government decided that Councils must be more open with information. It must be more readily available to residents and ratepayers. But this has not happened for the Toondah proposal. It seems to change in size at the whim of the developer and Council says “nothing”. Is it a lack of interest, part of an agreement with Walker Corporation or a lack of competence?

Finally, there are still opportunities to show that we (the residents and ratepayers) are not idiots. We need to stand up and show our disgust at the way we have been treated.

Frank Bradley
Former Councillor, Division 2

Planning and development myths

Ostrich-like capabilities of the State Government and the development industry.

The Minister for Planning, Jackie Trad has put out another ‘Planning’ media release and questionnaire for her South Brisbane Electorate. Some of it applies to Redland City and environs and the lack of democratic processes in planning. These expose some of the State Government and development industry’s “urban myths” and ostrich-like capabilities.

Ms Trad’s letter to her constituents shows people deserve much more! But for now some comments on aspects raised by Ms Trad include:

Who is listening?

Under “More Rights for the Community”, the “Residents and Community groups will now have the ability to appeal decisions without adverse costs being awarded against them.” These rights previously existed for 20 years.

The community has fewer grounds to get into Planning Committees, Full Council or the Planning & Environment Court as a result of UDIA “unfinished business” 1997 as the Planning Principles , Environmental Planning Instruments and Triggers, Consent Use, Strategic Plans, and Column 5 Rejection clauses, PE and E Act, IPA and SPA, to name a few, have been committed to history.

These have been replaced with 1980s legislative outcomes, poor environmental and social assessments (State Instruments, Planning Schemes and D.A.s), staff sackings, a wall of Code, Low Rise and Infrastructure (which are being resisted by a few third parties and Extended Domain Design to save habitat) and fast tracking etc etc.

“Transparency and Accountability”

This may cause apoplexy and/or hilarity if it was not so serious and perhaps, in part,non-existent. New requirements on councils and state government to publish reasons for development decisions for the first time.

”Organisations like BRU members and Wildlife Branches can remember when reasons were previously given, particularly when Referral Coordination was made to up to ten government agencies and comments were timely and available. This cuts across RTI, Governance, Local Government Act changes , access and SARAs stonewalling and departmental stonewalling. Other commentators suggest reinstatement of Column 5 Rejections to eliminate the mantra.

“Nothing is Rejected” and to reject non-complying applications at the front counter/by post or electronic IDAS, by committee, and Full Council and reduce deemed refusals.

Some of the other schoolboy howlers from the Minister, all heard before, include: Mandatory Consultation, Stricter Code Assessment, Critical Infrastructure delivered, Climate Change Recognised and Stronger Heritage protection. Politicians and the shape shifters do not understand what these phrases mean, or once stood for. These 5 issues are only some of the wider issues Baz and others mentioned for the Planning Inquiry .

“Coastline Protection”

“Pristine Queensland Coastline will be protected by the reinstatement of land surrender arrangements” These were never strong enough even before Newman and others fixed/gutted the CMA, the well-consulted Coastal Plans and the extraordinary mapping.

The previous land surrenders may have amounted to 5 or 6 under subdivisions (ROLs) for Queensland. However, the amount of Coastal Development has been mapped by GRMPA (187 sites) has been mapped by QCC 1990 (250 sites) and WWF /BREC 2006 (about 250 sites) which says a lot about minor number of surrenders. Looking at thousands of kilometres of shorelines, there are poor to no setbacks on Vegetated Beaches with aquifers /roosting spots, Dunes, Archaeological Sites, Beach Scrubs, Saltwater and Freshwater Wetlands. There are hundreds of case studies with no land surrenders, inadequate to no set backs, or no reserves/esplanades and some ecosystems lost by speculative clearing, land development and cyclones. A much different science based consultative process is needed on a new CMA and new coastal plans especially for North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay and Redlands.

As for protecting the pristine Queensland coastline, that does not seem to apply to Toondah Harbour. Is this the best/worst recent example? How can people say one thing while doing another?

In conclusion, the Government’s rhetoric is emphatic that the community will be well served by the new Planning Act, but reality and the QCC/EDO report card suggests that the new Act is the LNPs position, coloured lightly by the ALP. Big businesses and mates win, community loses (again).



Letters published by Redlands2030 – 25 July 2017

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

9 thoughts on “Toondah Harbour proposal is all wrong

  1. The scope of subsidization of infrastructure and other charges of the Toondah Harbour proposal as suggested by Kees Hulsman warrants comparison with; other PDAs , other Local Authorities that do not offer cuts ,subsidies and relaxations and Interstate charges for Infrastructure. Whether these can be released ,RTI’d or released by Court declaration remains to be seen. Ratepayers in several Local Authorities appear to be subsidizing PDAs directly with capping of charges and with loss of livability and environmental values, and future impacts.
    Needs Surveys need a run or rerun on many PDAs . It has been pointed out by other experts that the scale of this Toondah project will deleteriously affect Cleveland CBD and some Tourist Development and economic recovery on North Stradbroke Island. Several independent studies on these topics , like studies in the GBR zone , are needed.
    The action for a Biosphere Reserve for the Coastline , Moreton Bay and NSI cannot be put off any longer, with an honest host Agency or Tertiary Institution.

  2. I was wondering what Toondah Harbour is going to cost the rate payers in Redlands. I know one has to spend money to make money, but as Cameron Murray points out in his book “The Game of Mates” council does not require the developers to pay for the rights to build 8 storeys or 15 storeys. If we had a scheme like they do in ACT Canberra, then Council would receive money from the developer and naturally it would decrease the level of subsidy that we ratepayers gave the developer.

    I think it is time that we stop subsidising the profits of developers in this country. I was wondering how quickly Redlands 10 million + deficit would disappear if we had a scheme like the ACT. Also we would still get the jobs that the development creates if the developer thought that the development was sufficiently profitable.
    I think that it is time that we start asking council for information about how much we are 1. subsidising each of the developments in Redlands and 2. how much revenue are we missing out that could be used to reduce the budget deficit. That might change the conversation and consider the flow on effects in terms of not having to increase rates so often or by as much as at present.

    • Kees, reports again in the CM continue to update everyone on progress of Brisbane City Council’s new era in river tourism. “the first step in opening up direct trips from Brisbane to the Moreton Bay Islands.” The latest is the release of designs for two new docking hubs near Powerhouse and Botanic Gardens. With more to go in other suburbs later. Direct trips from Brisbane to Moreton Bay islands. That includes Straddie. This is not new news. Costs are given – $43 million.
      Why then does Council and State Govt pretend that Toondah is a goer? Clearly it’s not.
      What tourists are going to embark on a bus trip to Cleveland to go to Straddie when they can hop on a nice boat outside their hotel?
      All we know is that Walker plans to proceed with the Toondah harbour when they have sold sufficient units… . Nothing definite in that.
      So yes another thing: what might it cost ratepayers when Walker finally sues for spending money on a project that Council and State Govt have put their name to but which us blind Freddies know is a no-goer?

  3. I read Amy’s comment and it is quite interesting. As you know, two ladies who questioned the wisdom of Redland City Council (RCC) a few months ago were then targeted by the Mayor and the then CEO of RCC and threatened with legal action. The whole saga was then dealt with by the Queensland Council Ombudsman. Around the same time I sent an email to Council and told them I had removed by business details from their contact list because the Tourism Section was not helping small business in the Redlands. A month later one of the Council employees, whose children had come on a Dr Tafe Educational Biology Trip to North Stradbroke Island, was called into the office of a senior officer to explain. She was accused of using her position in Council to get a free trip for her children. In fact the trip was arranged with her ex-husband and he paid for himself and the teenage children. She didn’t even know about it till the children told her how they enjoyed it. So much for the thin skin of Redland City Council and as long as those with vested interests outweigh those that refuse to accept donations there will be continued criticism. I am not about to be bullied and we all know what is happening with congestion on our roads over this last two years. I wonder why??

  4. Dennis Tafe speaks of donations from those with deep pockets being more important than long-term interests of the electorate…pollies are well paid to represent. Unfortunately, many of them ride the gravy train knowing they can’t be touched, whereas in private industry, they can be sacked for poor performance.
    We have seen the abominable way Redland City Council & State government representatives have for many a long year, treated its people, wildlife, and officially protected local areas of significant importance to the community.
    MP for Capalaba Don Brown in this week’s Redland City Bulletin, front page, talks of the Commonwealth land on Birkdale Rd border with Capalaba, having launched a petition to save 80 hectares of koala habitat in Birkdale from being cleared for development. Only a certain segment of the population would have seen it. Most of my elderly friends don’t own a computer and many that do, with many families going without on Struggle Street, would not have time to look or sign.
    So how effective are petitions? I personally collected over 300 signatures to save a ‘specially protected wetland site under Koala Coast Policy’ (appears to have been scrapped by the Australian government) or they would not now be facing extinction in Redland City. The few mainland koalas in Toondah Hbr area, each with names, reported one has disappeared…and my feeling is, before long, the others will also disappear….since trees get in the way of development destined for high-rise building/s to accommodate new residents in 3,600 units, impacting heavily on GJ Walter Park and surrounding areas.
    Don Brown further states that a Council spokesperson advised they were negotiating with Federal government to buy the land whose cleared sections ‘could’ be developed. We’d like to see that! Who can forget photo in Bayside Bulletin of local wealthy developers jumping up and down on the Commonwealth land desperate to have it for wall to wall houses. Picture that if you will..hundreds of wall to wall houses/units where we could be trying to negotiate choked local roads workers leaving the City each morning are battling now. Birkdale Rd is used more today by workers a.m.& p.m. to avoid Finucane Rd congestion that winds around to Windemere Road, Alex Hills. Will negotiations consider the increased traffic dilemma where we are now seeing ‘road rage’ on our TV screens and one resident who works in Cleveland, witnessed it on Mt Cotton Rd one morning.
    Council…not the Redlands community …is determining the most ‘appropriate’ use of the land while…wait for it…protecting the environment! Well that would be first in Redlands wouldn’t it? Most of us have become accustomed to seeing it trashed whenever a developer is negotiating with Council heavyweights.
    The Commonwealth land with its WWII history adjacent to Willard Homestead, built in mid-1800s, mayor wanted to see developed, should be gifted by the Federal government (Member for Bowman Andrew Laming should be negotiating for) to the people of Redlands to be enhanced with a view to attracting tourism, overseas and local, keeping the natural environment. Otherwise, bulldozers would move in to clear the land to please, as always, developers with deep pockets.
    If MP Don Brown is pinning his hopes on saving the Commonwealth land, all 80 hectares, as he says of koala habitat, on a petition, then all hope is lost. From past experience, where Redland council was presented with petition with over 300 signatures requiring an EIS, then dispensed with, will, in my view, be negotiated into the waste basket.

  5. In Response to National Tree Day – Guys, your hearts are in the right place when you say you want to plant 2000 native plants. But I have spoken to three different staff at Indigiscapes and none of them have seen a koala on their grounds over this last year. They know the reason and so do I. When you remove large areas of mature gum trees to make way for small lot housing developments you lose the resident koala population. By the time those little native plants have grown to maturity the koalas will be long gone. It has been estimated that we have already lost about 80% of our resident koalas from the Redlands and you can see how developments are now popping up in Redland Bay, Victoria Point, Thornlands and Capalaba

  6. I don’t think that will happen T. Hinker!
    Walker and Williams want their money from all of these high rise buildings that are supposed
    to be built on part of the park and out into the Ramsar Convention protected waters of Moreton Bay.

  7. To save all the environmental problems development problems etc build a bridge.

  8. Like many of you, I watched Q&A on Monday night. Previously I had thought Josh Frydenberg was a smooth talker but also a voice of reason. I still think he is a smooth talker but its people like him who will investigate the flaws in the Toondah Proposal. If his conclusions of the Adani proposal are anything to go by then we, as residents, will need to fight hard to make our voices heard. If he remains stubbornly cemented in one spot he needs the flick. The same goes for State Governments and even for local Mayors who place donations above the long term interests of their electorate.

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