QYAC reassures residents over North Stradbroke Island headland concerns

MORE THAN 12,000 people have signed an online petition trying to block a whale interpretive centre at the Point Lookout headland on North Stradbroke Island.

VIEW: The view from the site of the proposed whale watching interpretive centre at Point Lookout.

VIEW: The view from the site of the proposed whale watching interpretive centre at Point Lookout.

It is understood the change.org petition was created last week after island residents saw surveyor pegs on the headland.

They are not against a centre being built but believe the proposed site on the headline will be ruined by such a building.

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello said he was surprised at the latest outrage given discussions for years about the site.

He said QYAC, as the island’s cultural heritage body, was comfortable with the site which contained remnants of a tennis court.

ANNOUNCEMENT: QYAC representatives with Treasurer Jackie Trad and MPs Kim Richards and Don Brown on North Stradbroke Island in June.

ANNOUNCEMENT: QYAC representatives with Treasurer Jackie Trad and MPs Kim Richards and Don Brown on North Stradbroke Island in June.

He said the facility would house the only full humpback whale skeleton in the southern hemisphere which was salvaged after washing ashore on Straddie in 2011.

Mr Costello said QYAC was leading the project and would consult on design. 

Treasurer Jackie Trad said in June the government was allocating $1.55 million to build a world-class whale interpretive facility.

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP had been fighting for Straddie residents since the decision was taken to stop sand mining.

“The Labor government do not realise what they have done to that community,” Ms Frecklington said.

“They have just ripped the guts out of that community and we’ll see the effects of that for years to come.”

The petition comes as Tourism Minister Kate Jones takes over the economic transition strategy process for the island.

In July, Redland City Council voted unanimously for the revocation of trusteeship for Point Lookout land for the whale interpretive facility.

Council minutes state a report would remain confidential until the tenure arrangements were registered.

Last week council resolved to publish a response on the facility and write to Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham asking for information on land tenure arrangements to be part of the island’s economic transition strategy.

Cr Peter Mitchell said on social media that council had been asked by the state government to transfer trusteeship of the land to support the state-led interpretive centre.

”The subsequent community upset was significant and was justified given the decision was made under state government-directed confidentiality, “ Cr Mitchell said.

Cr Mitchell said the same protections followed the land even under the state’s trusteeship but the community was right to be concerned and had not been given enough information.

“There does need to be increased community involvement and participation,” he said.

Drafters of the online petition said the headland area deserved protection.

“The iconic North Gorge Walk is not an appropriate place for buildings and intrusive structures,” the petition states.

“This headland area deserves protection that cannot be revoked.”

Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said there had been a lack of consultation and the transition was stalling.

“The government needs to invest more funds in it,” Mr Robinson said.

“They need to clearly communicate and hold more open meetings on the island with residents.

“All of this needs to be done openly, not behind closed doors.”