Big push starts for Russell Island boat ramp to be built

ISLAND WOES: Russell Island and surrounding waters. Islanders want to see transport facilities beefed up with a Rocky Point boat ramp. It could double as a safe access point during emergencies.
ISLAND WOES: Russell Island and surrounding waters. Islanders want to see transport facilities beefed up with a Rocky Point boat ramp. It could double as a safe access point during emergencies.

ISLAND residents have mounted a major push for a boat ramp to be built at Rocky Point on Russell Island.

They say if the ramp is built it will allow the area to be used as an evacuation point in emergencies like fire.

Rocky Point was the site of an earlier landing and is at the southern end of the island and close to the mainland as opposed to the main ferry service point on Krummel Passage off the island’s northern tip.

Moreton Bay Combined Islands Association spokeswoman Yvonne Beckett told council that last month’s Queensland Fire and Eemergency Service fire audit recommended a secondary evacuation route on the southern part of the island.

This was needed should the elongated strip of land be cut by fire.

As well, council’s own emergency plan for the island named Rocky Point as an evacuation area.

“In the event of a major fire restricting access … a Rocky Point boat ramp could provide  for timely evacuation of people and property plus vital secondary access for additional fire fighting personnel and fire transport units,” Ms Beckett said.

She presented a petition of 1062 signatures calling for the facility which was backed by four Southern Moreton Bay Island groups.

Cr Mark Edwards, a former MBCIA president, said as well as it being suitable for launching boats, a ramp could perform as an evacuation point should bushfires cut the island in two. It also would be a handy site to land fire fighting forces. 

“On a high tide they could put a barge right up on the ramp,” he said. “If the tide was out, a barge could still get into the channel and people could walk out to it. The ground is pretty hard there.”

Cr Edwards said it might also be that a ramp could allow a commercial barge service to the southern end of the island.

This would cut the barge trip from the island to the mainland from more than an hour to about 10 minutes.

Ms Beckett said islanders wants all councillors and state MPs to lobby the state government to deliver the infrastructure.

Cr Edwards said he would take up the issue with the state government and was hopeful that the petition would add weight to the campaign.

Ms Beckett said the facility would likely cost as little as $1 million to build.

“The Russell Island community considers this an urgent matter and is relying on Redland City Council’s full support and necessary funding,” Ms Beckett said.

Cr Edwards said a ramp had been long sought.

“Population growth is probably getting to the point where it now makes sense,” he said. “I don’t think it would be a major financial impost and council might contribute as well.”