Capalaba MP Don Brown has doubled down on his support for the Toondah Harbour development in a letter sent to Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek inviting her to visit Redlands before making a decision on the proposal.
It comes as the state government’s stance on the project is confirmed, with a spokesman for the Queensland planning department telling Redland City News it supported “revitalisation of the Toondah Harbour precinct” subject to “rigorous assessment”.
Several prominent community figures and groups have also backed the development, including Sirromet founder Terry Morris, who said last year that failure to seize on the opportunity would be a “knockout blow” for Redlands.
But groups like the Toondah Alliance, made up of various environmental and community organisations including Redlands 2030, are continuing their push for the development to be refused over concerns it will cause severe environmental damage.
Residents and visitors joined the Walk for Toondah rally in May to peacefully protest the development and send a message to politicians that they felt the development was “inappropriate, not needed and unwanted”.
Redlands 2030 president Steve MacDonald said people giving up their Mother’s Day to be involved in the Toondah rally showed how they felt about the proposed development.
“They expressed their opposition to a project which is completely inconsistent with long-standing planning policy,” he said.
“The obligation of the science is to prove that this thing should be in marine park, should be in a Ramsar area and is OK to be inconsistent with the SEQ Regional Plan.
“That’s the sort of planning analysis that’s needed, but instead of that we’ve got a project that is 3600 units based on a planning process which only provided for 800 units.”
In a wide-ranging letter to the environment minister, Mr Brown wrote that the Toondah development would enhance the diversity of housing in Redlands, boost supply and provide a strong pipeline of jobs for locals.
“Part of my support for Toondah Harbour is based on the diversity of job opportunities it will provide for my community, including skilled trade jobs during the 10-15-year construction phase, as well as ongoing retail and hospitality roles,” he said.
Mr Brown said he understood the environmental sensitivities of the project but refuted the “arbitrary” nature of Ramsar site boundaries drawn up more than 30 years ago.
“While it is easy to take a ‘not in my backyard’ view to such projects, with best-practice environmental management in place, I see this project as a critical opportunity to substantially increase housing stock and create more jobs for locals that a government of any level or political hue should not ignore,” he said.
Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce president Suzie Tafolo told RCN last week that the organisation supported the outcomes Toondah Harbour would offer the area, such as investment attraction, job creation and business opportunity.
“The Toondah Harbour project is one of the major projects identified by the Champion Redlands Coast pipeline as part of the economic data collected by the chamber in 2021, and we recognise this as an important part of the economic development of this region,” she said.
The state environment and science department lodged a submission on behalf of the Queensland government outlining a number of comments for Walker Corporation to consider during the EIS process.
A supplementary submission was also lodged at the planning department level identifying how environmental impacts should be balanced against the “economic benefits of the proposal and the project’s contribution towards meeting housing supply issues”.
“This EIS is required to address potential impacts of the project on wetlands subject to the Ramsar International Convention, listed threatened species and ecological communities, and migratory species,” a planning department spokeswoman said.
“The state’s assessment of the project is subject to the federal minister’s assessment and decision on potential environmental impacts and their management.”