Privately owned property developer Walker Corporation was today announced as the preferred development partner for the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek Priority Development Areas.
They were selected following an expression of interest process. No information has been made publicly available about the other five firms who submitted expressions of interest.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams and Walker Corporation’s Executive Chairman Lang Walker signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Cleveland’s Grand View Hotel this morning.
Walker Corporation is one of Australia’s largest privately owned property developers whose track record includes the Hope Island Resort in Queensland.
Walker Corporation’s proposal was considered to be significantly superior to those put forward by other firms who participated in the recent expression of interest process, according to the Deputy Premier and Redland City Mayor .
An agreement with the Government and Council will enable Walker Corporation to put forward plans for development of 67 hectares at Toondah Harbour including an area of Ramsar wetlands. They will also be able to develop on 42 hectares at Weinam Creek.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said that he hoped to see site work commencing in early 2015. A special purpose vehicle is being set up between the Government and Redland City Council to assess Walker Corporation’s plans against priority development schemes which were approved on 31 May 2014.
When asked if the community would be given an opportunity to consider Walker Corporation’s detailed plans for development the Deputy Premier said that this would not happen. He said that any development application would be assessed against the provisions of the approved development scheme which was put in place following a community consultation process. He claimed that the development scheme had public support.
Council sources indicated that it will take Walker Corporation a few months to prepare detailed master plans for the two projects.
The Government has issued the following media release announcing the Walker Group as the preferred partner for both Priority Development Areas at Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek
When the draft development schemes were put forward for community consultation they were the subject of widespread criticism about the Council and Government’s failure to adequately consider environmental and community impacts. Of particular concern was that the Council withheld technical studies including environmental reports from the public until after the consultation period ended
More than 1,200 people signed a petition calling for the Government to withdraw the plan and undertake a more balanced and consultative planning process.
Hundreds of people protested against the Toondah scheme made submissions to the Government which were largely ignored.
No evidence has been made available to the community which shows any significant level of public support for the proposed scale of development in these environmentally sensitive areas.
Much of the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area is within the Moreton Bay Ramsar site. An expanse of tidal mudflats and seagrass beds supports marine life such as turtles and dugongs. This area is also frequented by many migratory shorebirds.
These are matters of national environmental significance protected under Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
18 September 2014