ABOUT 50 people have protested outside Redland City Council headquarters in opposition to the $1.4 billion Toondah Harbour redevelopment proposal.
Activist group Redlands2030 organised the protest to coincide with a 1400 signature petition and report that were discussed at today’s council meeting.
Redlands2030 president Steve MacDonald told council the project should be abandoned.
But the report to council from Redland Investment Corporation said that if the local authority unilaterally withdrew from its development agreement, it would have to pay developer Walker Corp and Economic Development Queensland, the money which could have been made out of the venture.
Cr Paul Golle said this could potentially bankrupt council.
Mr MacDonald said $11.2 million had been spent by the state government and council on land and a bus-ferry interchange at Weinam Creek, Redland Bay.
This raised the question of how much improvement could be achieved at Toondah with a similar investment.
He said coastal development was a risky business and engineering problems with Raby Bay canal estate and similar issues with developments at Hervey Bay and Port Hinchinbrook in north Queensland should be front of mind for council in regards to Toondah.
In 2013 it had been promised that the priority development area would fast track development but the community feared that the port upgrade would not occur until substantial units had been sold, he said.
“If true, it will be many years before an upgraded ferry terminal and other touted public benefits are ready,” he said.
Cr Wendy Boglary said plans had been about for a port upgrade at Toondah since 1968 and no one opposed the idea.
She said it would be better for councillors to seek more information about the PDA proposal, rather than simply noting the current report.
Cr Paul Gleeson said the Toondah project would be a great boost for the Redlands, with an $80 million port upgrade going in at no cost to ratepayers.
“I talk to people about this project and it’s well supported,” he said. “...It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Council decided to note the report which was prepared in response to the Redlands2030 petition.