Toondah proposals unviable say experts

THE state government's Priority Development Area scheme for Toondah Harbour has galvanised concerned Cleveland residents and drawn opposition from marine and planning experts.

Former state government marine planning expert David Savage slammed the government's proposal for the harbour.

The former CSIRO marine biologist and state government planner, who lives in Cleveland, said plans for an 800-berth marina were unsustainable.

He said silting, mud, wind exposure, shallowness, high levels of ammonia, position of the Fison channel and mangroves would work against the scheme.

"A dual channel into the harbour from the north-east with a south-east exit will be a problem filling with silt and mud and becoming a sediment trap," he said. "It would need regular dredging.

"There is also the problem of a 20km fetch, the distance the wind has across the water, creating waves inside a marina and washing away any man-made beach."

Mr Savage said it would be costly for the council to keep a sandy beach at Toondah, where it was shallower than other harbours such as Townsville, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Hervey Bay.

The PDA process also raised the ire of principal environmental planner Peter Turnbull who said the government's powers were "too extreme" and cut out any appeal process.

Mr Turnbull, who has been involved in gaining approvals for large state marine and bridge developments, said the PDA gave "unfettered power to the minister without any checks or balances, no appeal rights or court proceedings".

He said the state should have declared the harbour a State Development Area, under the Coordinator General's office, allowing a state-run assessment process and expressions-of-interest.

Last week, a group of 50 concerned Cleveland residents opposing the Toondah concept plan asked the state to consider moving the PDA's northern boundary to exclude GJ Walter Park.

The group, headed by businessman John Berry, said it wanted a modern ferry terminal and urban village with cafes, but not 15-storey residential towers and loss of a foreshore park.

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