Redlands to seek new ways to upgrade Toondah Harbour

Loggerhead turtles. | Newsreel
Loggerhead turtles were among the species the Federal Government said would be impacted by the Toondah Harbour development. | Photo: Sean Scott (iStock)

Redland City Council has declared it will continue to work with private investors to progress “vital upgrades” to the Toondah Harbour area, west of Brisbane.

This followed the withdrawal of an application by Walker Corporation for a $3.4 billion redevelopment of the area after the Federal Government indicated it would be blocked on environmental grounds.

In a statement, Redland City Council said there remained a strong need to upgrade the ferry terminal at Toondah Harbour, which served as the main transport link to North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah.

“Council supported the Queensland Government’s declaration of Toondah Harbour as a Priority Development Area in 2013 as a means of progressing vital upgrades to the ferry terminal, creating new jobs, and boosting the local economy through tourism, residential and retail opportunities,” the Council said.

“Council also supports private investment as a means of redeveloping the area. Council will continue to work with its partners to progress vital upgrades to the area.”

Walker Corporation said last week it was withdrawing its application for the harbour redevelopment to give partners the opportunity to consider alternative options.

However, following the Walker announcement, Federal Minister for the Environment Tanya Plibersek said the withdrawal meant the project would not go ahead and “should never have got this far”.

“The wetlands where this project was proposed are rare, unique and are important to prevent the extinction of animals,” she said.

“These include loggerhead and green turtles and the critically endangered eastern curlew, which migrates 12,000 kilometres from Russia to Australia and relies on Moreton Bay as habitat for feeding and roosting.

“The project would also have had significant impacts on a range of other species including iconic Australian animals like dugongs and dolphins.

“The proposed dredging and land reclamation would have also destroyed and disturbed 58.7 hectares of the internationally protected wetland of Moreton Bay – that’s around 24 times the size of the Gabba.”

Minister Plibersek said the project was “clearly unacceptable” and “huge amounts of difficulties, delay and expense could have been avoided” if previous governments had knocked it on the head earlier.

In a statement, Walker Corporation said it had been on a long journey with Redland City Council and the Queensland Government to deliver a world class vision for a revitalised Toondah Harbour.

“It is a project that set out to deliver housing, state infrastructure and public domain areas but we acknowledge and respect the Minister’s Proposed Decision, that she does not believe the project in its current form, provides the necessary protections for the environment,” the company said.

“We need an appropriate amount of time to understand and address those concerns, to satisfy the Government’s environmental requirements and to determine whether an alternative scheme would be viable for the project partners.”