Toondah infrastructure agreement – Cui bono?

Walker Group's changing plans for Toondah Harbour raise questions about community benefits from the Infrastructure agreement.

Walker Group’s changing Toondah plans raise questions about community benefits from the Infrastructure Agreement.

Who will benefit (cui bono) from Walker Group’s proposed Toondah Harbour development plans and in particular from any investment provided for in the project Infrastructure Agreement?

Redland City Council claims that Walker Group’s proposed Toondah project will deliver “nearly $116 million worth of community improvements”.

Based on information that’s publicly available it appears that much of this investment won’t benefit existing residents or people using the Straddie ferries.

The ferry terminal will be moved and car parking reconfigured. But very little money has been allocated to actually improving and expanding the ferry terminal and car parking facilities.

Most residents assumed this was the point of the project, the pay off for letting a developer have access to a large coastal real estate opportunity.

Why else would the State Labor Government allow development of 3,600 apartments and a marina on dredged Ramsar wetlands contravening international agreements and Labor Party policies.

Redland City Council’s propaganda has made much use of artists impressions indicating areas of attractive new foreshore parkland. But the project master plan has had to be substantially revised since the Infrastructure Agreement was signed and much of the publicly accessible foreshore parkland will be deleted to avoid impacting migratory shorebird habitat.

As the project details become more widely understood, the community is realising that they won’t benefit from the Walker Group’s proposed project.

An on-line poll in the Redland City Bulletin shows that 85% of respondents think that the Toondah Harbour PDA should be abandoned.

Delving into the details of the Toondah Harbour Infrastructure Agreement, it becomes clear that the project’s benefits to the community have been vastly overstated by the Council.

Infrastructure Agreement details

The Infrastructure agreement supposedly delivers $56 million of community infrastructure.

But nearly $21 million of the $56 million in the infrastructure agreement is for roadworks, water and sewerage to service Walker Group’s 3,600 new apartments.

Water and sewerage services are costed at $13,188,200 and roadworks are costed at $7,633,686.

None of this investment in roads water services and sewerage will benefit existing Cleveland residents or people using the Straddie ferries.

Relocation of ferry terminal and car parking

Walker Group is to spend $10.5 million on the new ferry terminal but most of these dollars are for work to relocate the current facilities further south, for the convenience of Walker Group’s real estate development.

Less than $3 million is to be spent on facilities which offer a noticable benefit to people using water taxis and barges, as shown in the table.

Work elements detailed in the Infrastructure Agreement have been categorised by Redlands2030 into those which are essentially dealing with relocation of the terminal and those which appear to offer a new benefit to the community.

New Ferry Terminal Relocation Upgrade
Demolition & Site Preparation $963,600
New Inner leads re-alignment to Fison Channel $125,925
New Port/Starboard Channel beacons $207,776
Floating Pontoons incl piling and lighting $944,438
Covered Gangways $271,998
RoRo Berthing dolphin piles $611,996
Barge Dock Sheet Piling & Concrete $2,336,730
Bulk Fuel Storage Tanks $2,409,000
Premium Bus Interchange $903,375
Ticketing and Information centre $1,752,548
Total $7,599,465 $2,927,921
Ferry terminal works overall total $10,527,386
Total as a percentage 72.2% 27.8%

Car parking

Moving the ferry terminal and car parks does not necessarily create a public benefit

Walker Group’s proposed relocation of the ferry terminals would involve a reconfiguration of car parking.

Analysis of the very sketchy information included in the Infrastructure Agreement suggests there may be a modest increase in the overall number of car parks but:

  • The average distance from the ferry terminals could be greater.
  • There will be more competition for available spaces from the new Toondah residents and their visitors.

At present most car parks available for ferry terminal users are within 200 metres of a ferry embarkation point but plans in the Infrastructure Agreement indicate a reduction in the number of car parks close to the ferries.

Based on information provided in the Infrastructure agreement, Redlands2030 has estimated the number of car parks within 200 metres of the ferry terminal and those which are further away.

Current Proposed
Less than 200 metres from embarkation
Off street car parks 621 504
Street parking 80 150
Sub total 701 654
More than 200 metres from embarkation
Off street car parks 104 135
Street parking 42 160
Sub total 146 295
Total car parks
847 949

At present during peak periods people park free of charge in side streets around Toondah Harbour, mainly in Wharf Street and Shore Street East. Sometimes, the Council also allows parking in the old CSIRO Building grounds. This overflow parking may be less available if the Toondah residential development were to go ahead due to increased traffic and car parking when 3,600 apartments have been built.

The Infrastructure Agreement mentions the possibility that a multi-storey car park could be constructed above the proposed main ferry terminal car park, with two extra levels each providing 250 spaces. This is not part of the Walker Group’s proposal.

It would have to be funded and developed by the Council with the likely result that people will have to pay commercial rates for car parking anywhere close to the ferry terminal.

Parks and open space

Infrastructure agreement includes parkland which is unlikely to ever get developed

This foreshore park was removed from Walker Group’s Toondah Harbour plans when their revised EPBC referral was submitted in May 2017. From Schedule 2 of the Infrastructure Agreement.

The infrastructure Agreement provides for development of parks and open spaces.

The Boardwalk and district parks are supposed to be provided in stages, as residential development progresses. This could be over a period lasting more than 20 years.

Walker Group’s original master plan featured extensive parks and recreation facilities on the eastern side of the proposed development area.

In May 2017 Walker Group revised its development plans by redesignating open spaces on the eastern side of the development area as migratory bird habitat, in an attempt to reduce the project’s negative environmental impact on protected migratory shorebirds.

Much of the parkland originally proposed, and factored into the Infrastructure agreement, can no longer happen. This means the community would get significantly reduced benefit from the proposed development.

With 3,600 dwellings the likely population of the proposed Toondah Development could range from 7,000 to 10,000 which will add significantly to current demand for parks and open space in the Cleveland area such as G.J. Walter Park.

The Infrastructure Agreement includes the following provisions for parks and open space, many of which seem unlikely to ever be delivered:

Parks and open space Cost
Contiguous Boardwalk along the waterfront $9,523,725
Improvements and extensions to G.J. Walter Park $621,000
Foreshore district parks A, B, D $7,435,038
Beach Park C $4,173,925
Foreshore areas revegetation $2,833,025
Total $24,586,713

If you want to review the Infrastructure Agreement, you can download a copy from the Council’s website.

What are the Council’s obligations to provide infrastructure?

Good question.

Infrastructure charges are capped in Queensland. Usually, the city’s ratepayers have to pay for whatever is not funded by a developer’s capped infrastructure charges.

Redland City Council has not disclosed its obligations to Walker Group and the likely financial impost on Redland City ratepayers.

What about the Development Agreement?

The Council claims that community infrastructure will also be delivered through a second agreement, the Development Agreement.

But the Council has refused to make the Development Agreement publicly available saying that the information in this agreement needs to be kept secret because it is is subject to a confidentiality clause requiring it to be kept confidential.

Why are the Government, Redland City Council and Walker Group keeping their plans secret from the community?

It’s unlikely to be for the public good.

This project should be subject to detailed cost benefit analysis, done transparently, to answer the very simple question which has been used to investigate wrongdoing for thousands of years:

Cui bono, or who benefits?


Redlands2030 – 22 November 2017

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5 thoughts on “Toondah infrastructure agreement – Cui bono?

  1. Why does this sort of detail fall to the community to break down into consumable and manageable bits. Why does only Redlands2030 provide the community with digestible information? Is there a plan to keep things secret or is it just plain incompetence on the part of Redland City Council?

    Council prides itself on it communications but its official newsletters and the magazine are trite. A factual analysis like this story should have happened years ago. But of course so much of Toondah is still behind closed doors!

    Well done…again..R2030

  2. Why does the Development Agreement between Redland City Council and Walker Corp even have the need for a confidentiality clause – the only other parties involved in this project are the State and Federal governments, neither of which could make any commercial profit from details leaked from the agreement???? One can only assume the clause is to hide further details from ratepayers- if not what is to hide???

  3. To add to the already sub standard agreement, the replacement and upgrade of the ferry terminal will not be started until Walker Developments has built and sold 900 units, so in what decade should we look forward to the new and improved ferry and barge terminal?????? What a terrible outcome for the ratepayers of Redlands the only winners are Walker Development and those who accepted election donations.

  4. I wish to thank the people in Redlands 2030 who have been instrumental in finding out the ugly facts of the secretive Walker Proposal because without them many of us would have just believed the misleading artist’s impressions of a wonderful foreshore with parklands, cafes and plenty of parking. We now know this is far from the truth. Currently our understaffed local police force explains weekly in the Redland City Bulletin that they do not have enough police to tackle the growing crime rate, especially at Toondah Harbour where cars are broken into on a weekly basis. Yet still the Council won’t install surveillance cameras and weekend parking flows into the neighbouring streets. This would only get worse with the Walker Proposal. I have had replies from some councillors and local politicians to say they personally have not received any donations from the Walker Corporation. But certain key individuals are heavily supporting a commercial application that involves sensitive wetland in a shore-bird protection zone. If the Federal Environment Minister were to overturn the internationally recognised environmental protections to allow such a commercial construction it would immediately place his credentials in doubt and I for one would not vote for his government at the subsequent election.

  5. if the upgrade of the ferry terminal and harbour will cost less than $3 million, or even $10 million without shifting it, why doesn’t council fund it? It will certainly cost us less than what it will cost us to subsidise the Walker Groups $1.2 billion grand scheme for 20 years of social disruption and giving us something that we do not want.