Rally sees protest group formed to fight Cleveland's Toondah Harbour project

TOONDAH PROTEST RALLY: Redlands2030 protest group president Steve MacDonald addresses the crowd.

TOONDAH PROTEST RALLY: Redlands2030 protest group president Steve MacDonald addresses the crowd.

A RALLY against the $1.39 billion proposal for a marina and residential development at Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour has called on Redland City Council to withdraw support for the big project.

Chris Walker, from protest rally organiser Redlands2030, said there was major opposition to the project, with 1411 submissions to the federal government against the idea and just eight supporting it.

He said a petition was launched at the rally of about 300 people, asking for council to reject the proposal.

The petition asks for council to work with the state government on a new plan for Toondah Harbour, focusing on an upgrade of the ferry terminal and car parking areas.

It seeks to avoid dredging or any other environmental harm of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

It also seeks to protect koalas from any loss of habitat in the area and seeks to avoid a build up of traffic in the area.

Mr Walker said the final point was to ensure any development near Toondah was consistent with the Redland City Plan.

A new protest group, the Toondah Action Group, also was launched.

Mr Walker said the action group would focus solely on Toondah Harbour, as opposed to Redlands2030 which had broader interests.

“It’s about giving people a chance to get more directly involved in Toondah,” Mr Walker said. "We’ll be looking at things like protests, writing petitions, demonstrations and activities and handing out material.”

Mayor Karen Williams said calling for the Toondah upgrade to be scrapped due to environmental concerns before the project had been through an environmental assessment was premature.

“The vast majority of the community want to see this project proceed and they deserve the right to have it tested against the science to ensure it stacks up environmentally,” she said.

“If it doesn't stack up then it won't proceed, but that is a call for environmental experts to make not council and not a Redlands2030 political activist group.

“The community is entitled to ask questions and I have the same questions but let's at least give Walkers and the state and federal government the opportunity to answer those questions.”

Developer Walker Corp has revamped its proposal for the Toondah redevelopment in an effort to meet federal government concerns about its impacts on the bay and bird life.

It has submitted a new proposal whose primary aim is to lessen the impact on Cassim Island and will see the size of the marina cut from 340 berths to about 200.

The new plan has reshaped the ferry precinct and marina but will leave the residential component untouched, with 3600 houses and apartments to be built over 15 to 20 years.

The project has been backed by Redland City Council and both sides of politics but has been hammered by scientists and residents who have complained about its size, impacts on koalas, fishing and birds and roads and public transport issues.