Closed meeting endorses billion-dollar plans for Toondah; wait on Weinam

An artist's impression of what the completed Toondah Harbour project could look like.

An artist's impression of what the completed Toondah Harbour project could look like.

REDLAND City Council has endorsed Walker Group Holdings’ billion-dollar plans to overhaul Toondah Harbour at a meeting held behind closed doors on Wednesday.

However, the developer was given an extra year to put in its proposals for Redland Bay’s Weinam Creek precinct, which have included moving the ferry terminal and car park.

The Toondah plans, expected to include a water park, restaurants, cafes and entertainment area, are still unavailable to the public.

Cleveland councillor Craig Ogilvie's request for the plans to be released immediately, or before a development application, failed.

Instead, it was decided to write to Economic Development Queensland Minister Jeff Seeney and ask him to release details as soon as council and the state were satisfied with the overall design and background studies completed.

Mayor Karen Williams said the preliminary plan for Toondah Harbour, which would be released early next year, would transform the ferry terminal into a tourist destination and create jobs.

“I am committed to creating local jobs and stimulating the economy and this significant project has the potential to create thousands of jobs,” she said.

"This is not about keeping anything from the public but rather ensuring people have all the detail, as well as supporting evidence, on which to make a properly informed view of the projects.

"It is clear the Walker Corporation has studied in minute detail the extensive community consultation and desires of residents of Redland City. 

"They are now able to proceed to invest in the required background studies to ensure all elements of the project deliver positive financial, environmental and social outcomes now and into the future. 

"Council has requested that these concepts are made available to the community when these critical background studies are finalised."

But Cr Williams said it was “back to the drawing board” for designs for Weinam Creek, which were drafted to meet a tight timeframe.

She said new designs would have to meet community expectations and “stack up economically” for the Walker Group but hoped they would be completed next year.

Cr Ogilvie said after the closed meeting, the community must be involved in reviewing the designs for Toondah Harbour now – not when it was too late.

He said the Toondah Harbour project would be expensive and asked for costings to be included in the council’s 10-year financial strategy, which was also presented at the meeting.

"I couldn't vote for a process that shuts the community out of a development of such significance," he said after the meeting.

"This is not a set of swings we are installing, this is massive, and the community deserves to know what is being proposed and how much is being spent.

"This arrogant 'father knows best' attitude belongs in the dark history of politics in Queensland."

Councillors Wendy Boglary and Paul Bishop joined Cr Ogilvie in his opposition to endorsing the plans.  

Walker Group will continue negotiations with council and Mr Seeney’s Economic Development Queensland to finalise an agreement for the Cleveland project.

The privately owned company and the name behind major shopping centres in Sydney and Melbourne was awarded preferred development status at this afternoon’s meeting.

An artist's impression of the what a completed Weinam Creek project could look like. Council granted Walker Group an extra year to submit their proposals.

An artist's impression of the what a completed Weinam Creek project could look like. Council granted Walker Group an extra year to submit their proposals.

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