Plans for a massive residential development on protected wetlands at Toondah Harbour and recent Federal Government delays have provoked many letters to the editor.
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More Delay for Ferry Terminal Upgrade
The further suspension of the timeframe for the Federal Environment Minister to make a decision on the Walker Proposal for the development of Toondah Harbour makes a mockery of the Priority Development Area (PDA) notification of June 2013. The PDA was intended to fast track the redevelopment of the Toondah Harbour ferry terminal and associated infrastructure.
The Walker Group has demonstrated “an agreement to suspend the referral decision timeframe” to 17 July 2017.
The community has yet again been condemned to another lengthy delay before knowing the outcome of the obscene Walker Proposal to construct 3,600 dwellings, mostly on land reclaimed from a marine park that is also covered by an international RAMSAR agreement, as a trade-off for redeveloping the ferry terminal. It will be interesting to hear what the Redland City Council has to say on the further delay or will they merely claim to be unable to comment because of their restricted, non-public agreement with the Walker Group?
Mangroves are mangroves
Some FACTS and further inconsistencies for comparison to challenge and entertain in light of recent events concerning Russell Island and Toondah Harbour.
Russell Island: Unauthorised poisoning and removal of over 100 Mangrove trees in an area of 960 square meters representing protected nursery areas to 75% of fish species.
Applicable Penalties: Qld Boating & Fisheries Patrol quoted fines up to $365,700.00 and RCC sign on Coochiemudlo IsIand references a $5000 fine for this same offence.
Toondah Harbour: Residents presented with a PDA Proposed application to establish a 400 dwelling development at Toondah Harbour.
Mayor Karen Williams and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad sign off and present, as local and state government endorsed, a PDA proposal for 3600 dwellings requiring dredging and reclamation of 50 HECTARES, directly impacting 95% RAMSAR marine park protected area – one of only 5 of its kind in the world representing global ecological impacts if disrupted. Part of the collateral damage will be irreplaceable marine park nurseries and protected mangroves
There is an urgent need to address inconsistencies between actions responding to the damage at Russell Island and the intended damage at Toondah Harbour. Lawful provisions, processes and penalties are not being recognised, enforced or respected, or investigated in appropriate and responsible time frames.
1. Refuse all building approvals, and suspend any building activity for the potential beneficiaries of the mangrove stripping off Wiles St, Russell Island until the perpetrators are caught, publicly named and shamed, and charged with the maximum penalty in respect of THE LAW. Fines should be reinvested with integrity in rejuvenating and replacing the asset lost. That way, even if the fine is perceived as an acceptable risk, the perpetrators inevitably receive no joy or benefit for their action, and the site is, to some degree at least, eventually rehabilitated, as close as possible to its original condition.
2. Restore public confidence in authorities by ensuring our elected representatives adhere to the law CONSISTENTLY & RELIABLY. Publicly ENFORCE penalties and charges.
3. Ensure that all applicable penalties are consistently and persistently supported, promoted publicly and clearly understood and STAKEHOLDER UNIVERSALLY REFERENCED. There should be no cause or precedent for misunderstandings.
4. Refuse and WITHDRAW what Toondah Harbour has become, given that will breach existing laws and international treaties, has been woefully misrepresented, and has no community stakeholder qualified or scrutinised support in its current guise.
With the exception of the site location proposed for development, the application before Federal authorities has NO CORRELATION to the proposal presented for public consideration. The PDA process has been fundamentally compromised, with several current investigations pending and ongoing.
Editor’s note: This writer has shared their recent letter to the Deputy Premier for the benefit of readers!
Another experts view of Toondah!
Dear Ms Trad,
I am an international environmental consultant and I live in Brisbane. I understand the reasons for designating Ramsar sites, and have been involved the conservation of more than a few.
Ramsar sites are a vital part of the heritage of Earth being conserved and protected for our own and future generations. Each is unique and cannot be replaced or ‘offset’ as some property developers and mining companies, and some governments and local authorities, wrongly, seem to think.
The Redland/Moreton Bay Ramsar site is one of the most important on the east coast of Australia, and an internationally important resting wetlands for many species of migratory birds. Its importance was recognised in 1993 and reconfirmed in 2013. I hope the staff of the Department of Heritage and Environment have provided you with a comprehensive briefing, so that you can be in no doubt about what is at stake. I refer you to the “Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008” – which details the wide range of activities that are prohibited or restricted in Moreton Bay.
It is clear from the materials available to me that the Redlands Council and the former LNP Government were duplicitous in the materials provided for community consultation. The planned ‘development’ (which might rightly be called ‘destruction’) is much more extensive (3,600 apartments on reclaimed land) than that made public, especially regarding the amount of dredging and reclaimation proposed, and habitat destruction involved. It is clearly a land grab being facilitated by the Redlands Council – where is the public benefit they are charged with defending? If it proceeds, it will, aside from a raft of traffic and other social problems, steal from Queenslanders and privatise a beautiful and important conservation and waterfront area looking over to Moreton Island.
I am also wondering if the traditional owners have been properly informed and consulted? If not, then the proposal is in breach of national and state laws and regulations.
Anecdotal evidence from a number of sources suggests that there may have been improper rewards offered to Redland Council by the developers to get them to agree to their proposal, and throughout there has not been a proper and lawful ‘arms-length’ relationship between the Council and Walker Corporation. These stories may not be true, but they are serious and frequently enough heard to warrant independent investigation by the State Government.
In Queensland we are losing wildlife at an alarming rate, e.g. koalas are nearly extinct in SE Queensland, and conservation areas of all sorts are falling prey to infrastructure and urban sprawl. The current attempt to destroy the Moreton Bay Ramsar site is another nearby example.
I urge you to act to force the Redland Council and Walker Corporation to make public what has been kept secret until now, and initiate an independent investigation into the dealings between the Council and Walker.
Most urgently, I trust the Queensland Government will use its powers to prevent to any attempt by these two parties to start physical works in the area prior to full public disclosure and open investigation.
BSc (Hons) PhD FRGS MEIANZ
A Queenslander comes home!
I hadn’t been to Cleveland for years but spent a weekend in your community in October.
At the Grandview I met some people discussing the Toondah development in the Bay. Seems to me it would wreck the Bay, ruin the “grandview” and destroy the foreshores.
As a former Queenslander it brought back the worst memories of the “white shoe brigade” and the Joh era. I don’t think that scale of development or that location would be considered in the land of the cockroach. I wish we could kill off old stereotypes about Queensland but…
Haven’t we learnt anything since the days of STIR.