Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has welcomed the decision by Walker Group Holdings to release its proposed master plan for Toondah Harbour.
Walker today referred the $1.3 billion Priority Development Area project to Commonwealth Environment Minister Greg Hunt, kick-starting the environmental impact assessment and approval process for the project that will deliver:
• A new ferry terminal and tourism precinct with no net loss of public car parking spaces
• New marina, marina plaza and waterfront boulevards
• Greater public open space and access to the waterfront, including a new public foreshore parkland
• A range of residential options
• More than 1000 construction jobs per year and 500 jobs per year on completion of the project
• An estimated $2.3 billion in economic activity in the region.
“This is a key and exciting milestone as it is the start of a robust and lengthy process to ensure this long-awaited project maintains the Redlands’ environmental character and meets community expectations,” Cr Williams said.
“As the master plan includes reclamation it will have to meet stringent environmental conditions and all the protections afforded under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
“It is important this project respects the special environment of Moreton Bay and Toondah Harbour and it is now up to Walker to conduct an environmental impact assessment process and the Federal and State governments to evaluate the proposal and condition it to ensure it does.
“Starting environmental assessments and sharing the proposed master plan are major steps towards transforming Toondah Harbour into the world-class destination we know it can become.”
Cr Williams said today’s referral by Walker brought the waterfront revitalisation a step closer to reality.
“This is great news for the Redlands community which has been calling for Toondah Harbour to be upgraded for 50 years,” she said.
“Community feedback sought by Council and the State in 2013 and 2014 has guided the project’s parameters to date and has ensured GJ Walter Park will be enhanced and building heights are capped at 10 storeys.
“In this next phase, the Federal Government will examine closely the proposed project’s potential impact on environmental matters of national significance like the RAMSAR wetland.
“I encourage all residents to have a look at the proposal and provide their feedback. I certainly will be and I will also be speaking with the Minister about the proposal on Monday when I am in Canberra.”
Today’s referral of the Toondah Harbour priority development area project to the Commonwealth Government will initiate a 10-day public consultation period in which the community can contact the Federal Government and outline any matters of national environmental significance they think should be taken into consideration in assessing the project under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
If the project is declared a controlled action by the Commonwealth Environment Minister, the State Coordinator-General will then consider whether to make the project a coordinated project for which an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required.
“Should the EIS process kick off in 2016 it will provide numerous further opportunities for the community to have its say on the project,” Cr Williams said.
Council financial spokesman Cr Mark Edwards welcomed Walker today quantifying more of the expected financial benefits of the project, including that Toondah Harbour is expected to deliver an extra $96.5 million a year to the local economy.
“It’s great to see quantified the massive financial gains we knew would result from a development of this calibre,” he said.
“Walker has today said they expect the project to stimulate $2.33 billion in economic activity in the region – more than $1 billion on top of the $1.3 billion construction costs.
“They have also said they expect the redevelopment will inject $78.1 million in retail expenditure into surrounding businesses in Cleveland and the broader region.
“This will buoy our local businesses as well as provide jobs for our tradies, retailers and hospitality workers. The whole community will benefit from the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area project, should it receive the necessary Federal, State and Local Government approvals to go ahead.”
You can find out more about the federal environmental assessment on the Department of Environment website or by phoning 1800 803 772.