Council to request consultation extension on Toondah Harbour project

Redland City Council will ask the State Government to extend the community consultation period for the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area project to allow the public more time to have their say.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said there was clear community interest in the project and Council would write to Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Jeff Seeney requesting the community be given an extra four weeks to provide feedback.

“So far Council and the State Government have spoken with about 2000 people at 10 community engagement sessions on the mainland and islands regarding the PDAs in the Redlands, as well as received hundreds of comments via our online engagement tools,” she said.

“Council thinks it is prudent to ask the State Government, who are the planning authority and will coordinate design of the Toondah site, to extend the feedback period so the community has more time to be involved.”

The request for extension comes after a motion from Division 2 Councillor Craig Ogilvie in Council’s General Meeting yesterday as a result of community concern around aspects of the Toondah Harbour PDA. 

Cr Ogilvie said public participation during yesterday’s Council meeting showed that while there was support for Toondah Harbour being developed, there were details around the size of the development that need to be worked through.

“While feedback from the community about the need for development has generally been positive, there will always be some aspects that need to be discussed. That is the nature of planning any project and the point of community engagement,” he said.

 “Council, who will assess the private sector development applications, is listening to the local community and wants to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say.

“Currently feedback closes on 24 February 2014.”

Cr Williams the State Government through Economic Development Queensland was the overarching owner of the draft plan “so we are required to request any extensions from them”.

“The Toondah Harbour redevelopment has been mooted as far back as the 1960s but has never been able to get off the ground,” Cr Williams said. “This is a once in a generation opportunity to enhance this site, establish better access to our foreshores and North Stradbroke Island, create jobs and build tourism.

“We want to make sure we get the balance right to allow development, better access and improvements in this critical area funded by investors rather than ratepayers, but we also want to ensure its remains first and foremost an effective gateway to North Stradbroke Island.

“An appealing, well planned gateway to North Stradbroke Island is just one step in progressing away from mining on North Stradbroke to other industries including tourism.”

Cr Williams said it was important for residents to know that the amount of green space at the Toondah Harbour PDA will not reduce as a result of this plan. Council is committed to retaining the same amount of green space in the plan area.

“What has been put forward for comment are the potential uses of the site, but there is no way that all of these things can be built collectively.  

“Also, the proposed height of 15 storeys is potential height only. It does not necessarily mean that 15 storeys will be built.”

The draft plan was developed by the State Government using feedback from many stakeholders in the community from as far back as May last year following State Government approval of the PDAs.

Cr Williams thanked those who came to yesterday’s Council meeting and everyone who has been involved in the widespread community consultation on the PDAs, which has included:

– 10 community forums
– Website information
– Online submissions
– An ongoing interest register since May 2013
– Five community mail-outs
– Three direct emails to interest register
– Advertisements in local media
– Articles in citywide Council magazines and e-newsletters
– Posters and other advertising at ferry terminals and on ferries
– Library displays
– Stakeholder meetings

“Council and State Government officers have been engaging for months on the PDAs, including speaking directly with key stakeholders, and holding engagement sessions on the mainland and islands,” she said.

“The draft development scheme has also been available on Council’s website since 10 January so people can view them and provide feedback.

“The State Government are the planners and Council assesses applications against the final development scheme. Together with the State Government, we have been consulting with the community since May 2013,” she said.