Friday, 10 January 2014 as at 2pm.
The sky is blue, the water crystal clear and the ocean views as breathtaking as ever. Redland City Council invites you to visit Straddie! The world’s second largest sand island is well and truly open for business after almost two weeks of bushfires. Not only will you have a wonderful break, you’ll be helping Straddie businesses that have been affected by the bushfire at their busiest time.
Redland City Council, Straddie Chamber of Commerce and tourism operators are calling on tourists to put visiting North Stradbroke Island on the top of their holiday ‘to do’ list now that it is ‘open for business’.
Redland City Destination Management spokesperson Cr Craig Ogilvie – whose Division includes Straddie – encouraged people to consider going to the island for a day trip or holiday.
“The bushfire is now under control and the island is open for business,” he said.
“You can now do the local community a favour, and do yourself a favour, by visiting the island.
“I encourage everyone to visit for the day or longer. From many areas of the island including Point Lookout and Amity Point you wouldn’t even know there has been a fire.
“Straddie is the second largest sand island in the world and is absolutely glorious.”
Straddie Chamber of Commerce Chairman David Thomson said operators had been affected by the fire at the busiest time of the year.
“There is plenty of space on the ferries and with accommodation providers for those who can come over to the island,” Mr Thomson said.
“Your visit will help operators on Straddie as well as be a fantastic experience for anyone who visits.”
Cr Ogilvie said there are still some active fires on the island near Brown Lake but these fires are burning within containment lines and pose no threat to life or property.
“Two teams of arborists have been working on the island to assist emergency crews with risk-assessment of burnt trees and limbs and this work will continue over the weekend.
“Main Beach south of the causeway and the Main Beach campgrounds will reopen tomorrow at 8am. Access to the Main Beach campgrounds will be through George Nothling Way as Alfred Martin Way (formerly Tazi Road and also known as Trans Island Road) remains closed.
“Brown Lake, Blue Lake and Keyholes remain closed.
“All the beaches on Straddie are open and beautiful, as usual.”
Redland City Environment, Waterways and Foreshores spokesperson Cr Paul Gleeson said wildlife volunteers were on stand-by to deal with an influx of sick and injured animals when North Stradbroke Island officially shifts to recovery-mode.
“I urge motorists to drive carefully as animals including wallabies, kangaroos and koalas are moving into new habitats.
“Council officers and North Stradbroke Island Wildlife Rescue volunteers are ready to provide support to anyone who finds a sick, injured or distressed animal – the number to call is 0407 766 052.
“Wildlife rangers at Redlands IndigiScapes Centre have advised that animal injuries including smoke inhalation, burnt feet and general exposure are expected to be common.
“Research shows there are 599 native plant species on North Stradbroke Island, 14 of them classified as ‘threatened’ or ‘near threatened’.
“Studies also show that there are 18 species of native land mammals on Straddie including wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and koalas as well as 16 species of reptiles, mainly snakes.”
The fires, which were sparked by lightning on 29 December 2013, have razed more than 16,000 hectares of the 28,000-hectare iconic island.
No residential areas are within the burn area and there have been no injuries or fatalities.
The latest updates on the North Stradbroke Island fire situation are posted on the Redland City Council and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) websites and Facebook and Twitter pages.