The Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area could accommodate up to 10,000 people, under plans being developed by preferred developer Walker Corporation.
Mayor Karen Williams and Redlands2030 President Steve MacDonald discussed Toondah Harbour plans at the Raby Bay Ratepayers’ Association (RBRA) meeting on Monday evening.
While there was a clear clash of ideas between the two speakers there was also some common ground – the need to improve the harbour facilities.
Mr MacDonald said the Toondah project’s scale had increased enormously since public consultation in early 2014. He said the estimated project value of $1.4 billion indicated a likely development of about 4,000 units which could house 10,000 people. Cleveland’s current population is about 15,000.
Mayor Williams agreed that about 10,000 people could be living at Toondah Harbour when the project is complete. She said this scale of development was necessary to stimulate the local economy; claiming that it would bring about 1,000 new jobs during construction and 500-600 jobs thereafter.
Adequacy of the area’s traffic and other infrastructure to cope with this projected population increase was questioned by the Raby Bay Ratepayers audience. Other issues raised included the market demand for marina berths, risk of storm surges and the need for a siltation survey before project designs are finalised.
Toondah Approval process
Mayor Williams said there would be an opportunity for public consultation when Walker Corporation submits its its concept master plan; expected by the end of 2015.
A development application will be processed under the Economic Development Act 2012 which provides for a streamlined approval process without any rights of appeal.
Federal Government environmental approvals will also require further public consultation. The first stage of this process is expected to start later this year.
Current Toondah project activities involving the Council, State Government and Walker Corporation include negotiation of a development management agreement and dealing with native title claims.
Mr MacDonald said the Toondah project should not be planned in isolation from the rest of Cleveland. He pointed to an alternative plan developed in 2014 by a panel of experts who proposed a concept for a smaller harbour linked to proposed development nodes in Cleveland and Raby Bay including the Cleveland CBD.
The Mayor said the alternative plan did not deliver the scale of development required for economic stimulation. She said that Walker Corporation’s investment would include a $100 million up front investment in community infrastructure including a world class ferry terminal, public marina, deeper harbour and a multi-million dollar promenade.
Due diligence and cost benefit analysis
Mr MacDonald questioned the economic risk to Redland City ratepayers given the scale of the Toondah Harbour PDA project and its likely timeline.
The Mayor claimed that Council would make money out of the Toondah project, with the majority of risk being borne by Walker Corporation. She said that while details are still commercial in confidence, economic and technical due diligence reports commissioned by Council proved that the project was viable and would not impact on ratepayers.
Councillor Craig Ogilvie pointed out that the Council’s due diligence assessments were based on various assumptions and scenarios and not all scenarios yield positive outcomes.
RBRA President Zrinka Johnston said that a full cost benefit analysis was needed which takes into account the economic aspects of the project including provision of community infrastructure, as well as social and environmental costs.
Report by Redlands2030 – 9 October 2015