You have probably heard about the Toondah Harbour development. This Walker Group development project has polarized opinion of southern Moreton Bay users, and others who are passionate about the Bay. The major precinct-level marina project on the shores of Moreton Bay at Cleveland is currently undergoing assessment across the three levels of government.
Recently, the Federal Minister of the Environment called for submissions on the Draft Guidelines for the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Walker Group’s project proposal. The Moreton Bay Foundation (TMBF), as a voice for Moreton Bay, provided a submission. Rob Siganto said “this was a welcome opportunity for The Moreton Bay Foundation to highlight established evidence and provide scientific expertise on a matter of great interest to those who love the Bay. The Board, supported by TMBF’s Research Advisory Committee, was keen to ensure TMBF represented Moreton Bay in the submission process”. TMBF’s Research Advisory Committee can call on experts from the major universities in the region: UQ, Griffith, QUT and USC as well as representatives of Traditional Custodians, and other researchers, which makes our submission particularly authoritative.
Chair of the Research Advisory Committee, Ian Tibbetts stated “The Commonwealth Government has wisely requested a very thorough Environmental Impact Assessment from the developer. TMBF hopes that the final guidelines will provide a detailed roadmap for the developer about addressing the many concerns raised about a development of this scale in an environment so sensitive.”
Cleveland resident and TMBF member Ms Tamara Homburg voiced what she believes are widely held concerns – “While the planned development will likely have a dramatic impact on Bayside habitats, it will also negatively impact the human community with 10,000 new residents adding to the existing transport and infrastructure challenges faced by Redlands City residents”.
While the current submission process focused on assessing the thoroughness of the draft guidelines under the auspices of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, TMBF encourages government to consider the social consequences of the development, including the social impacts of sea level rise stated in the guidelines, the right of the Traditional Custodians and the impact on important recreational and commercial fisheries. Tibbetts stated “the incremental loss of coastal habitat has presented problems in the past, and so it is vital that serious scrutiny be paid to all such development proposals”.
TMBF’s Chairman Rob Siganto said “this sort of submission totally aligns with TMBF’s vision and mission. For long term sustainability of the Bay as a pristine environment, there has to be a point at which development must compliment Bay health. We are not there yet but TMBF will continue to facilitate positive collaborations around development projects that improve outcomes for the Bay. TMBF encourages individuals, businesses and others organisations to engage with TMBF so together we can secure a long and vibrant future for the amazing place that is Moreton Bay”.
Written by Ian Tibbets, Research Advisory Committee
Photo credit: Professor Tibbetts photo by Serge Petchenyi.