SMBI sewerage investigation approved by Council

The future of wastewater infrastructure on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands will be explored after Redland City Councillors this week unanimously supported a call from Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards to investigate what would be required to sewer the islands.

Mayor Karen Williams said the Notice of Motion called for Council officers to undertake a comprehensive study on island wastewater and infrastructure needs and the cost of delivering them.

“Council officers have been asked to do the work to assess and list infrastructure needs, likely delivery timeframes and cost,” Cr Williams said.

“They are to bring this body of work back to Council for consideration in the second half of year 2020, before we take it to the community for their input into the future of the SMBIs.”

Cr Edwards said the notice of motion was “one of the key things to happen to the islands”.

“The Notice of Motion sought to give island residents, I believe for the first time, a genuine say in what they want for the future of their islands,” he said.

“We need to have in place a formal process for identifying island infrastructure needs, with the community having the ability to guide Council on planning and delivery of infrastructure.

“The process has to be as expansive as possible, and the community must guide its direction.”

Cr Edwards said a sustainability study into the onsite wastewater systems on the SMBI had been produced by Council in 2011.

“It recognises that the management of domestic wastewater was critical to the long term sustainability of the islands and said a centralised reticulated sewerage network was a potential solution.

“The study identified the density of dwellings was the key risk and that public health risks and negative environmental impacts could result when recommended densities were exceeded.

“We are continuing to see rapid population growth on the islands.

“I am concerned that as density grows, so too does the need for Council to consider onsite wastewater options, including reticulated sewerage for the SMBI.”

Cr Edwards said his motion was not just about sewerage.

“Sewerage options are a starting point but we have to look much more broadly and ascertain if the community wants greater development, and what that will require in terms of infrastructure to handle it,” he said.

“This motion allows up to one year for officers to holistically review and study what has happened, where we are headed and what options are on the table.

“Council needs to understand what we are faced with, what needs to be done and how to plan the delivery of a solution in a financially affordable timeframe.

“This body of work will then be brought back to the community, who will be asked to tell us exactly what they want the future of the islands to look like.”