State Government claims that visitors could bypass Redlands Coast by travelling directly from Howard Smith Wharves to North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah in 40 minutes needs a lot more work and better consultation, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said.
Cr Williams said while she supported any plans to deliver more visitors to islands such as Minjerribah, she was surprised to see plans announced over the weekend for a pontoon to be open at Howard Smith Wharves by Christmas to allow passengers to bypass Cleveland and Redland Bay and access the islands of Moreton Bay directly from Brisbane City.
“You can’t have fast expresses coming down the river,” Cr Williams said.
“You would be lucky to get to the mouth of the river in 40 minutes let alone to Amity/Pulan on North Stradbroke Island, which doesn’t have a jetty to accommodate that type of tourism operation.
“If this is supposed to happen before Christmas, who is going to pay for the required infrastructure on North Stradbroke Island, and who would maintain it?”
Division 2 Councillor for North Stradbroke Island Peter Mitchell said he was dismayed by the lack of consultation from the State Government regarding Saturday’s announcement of $5.5 million State Government funding for three new pontoons at Howard Smith Wharves, with the first to be completed by the end of the year, for boats to travel to Moreton Bay Islands in 40 minutes.
“Council is not opposed to the concept of a direct link from the Brisbane River to the island but before anyone goes spending $5.5 million in Brisbane city and claiming it will benefit Minjerribah we need to see a full feasibility study,” Cr Mitchell said.
“We need to know how it will impact the island, how it will impact Redlands businesses that currently sell supplies to people travelling to the islands and what will it mean to Redlands ferry companies?”
Cr Williams said there was a great deal of need on North Stradbroke Island and so she wanted to understand the potential benefits and risks of the plan.
“The end of sandmining last year has impacted Straddie businesses greatly and now COVID has made that worse, with a lot of businesses on the island hurting and so we need to know money is being spent in the right areas,” she said.
“When the State announced they were ending sandmining on Straddie the first thing I said is that they need to allow enough time to transition the island and they need to have a clear plan backed by clear engagement.
“This is not how you engage and I ask the State Government to consult with the whole Redlands Coast community to understand their needs and concerns on this plan.
“I have been speaking with the Minister about the need for a Moreton Bay Tourism Strategy to guide the future of our island communities and the infrastructure needed to support it.
“Without a vision for these islands how do we know this is the right sort of infrastructure to support the community and how do we know it won’t hurt business?
“I have asked to speak with the Minister about this announcement and the future of North Stradbroke Island, and on behalf of the community I am asking for more detail and transparent consultation so residents and visitors know what is planned.”