Walker Corporation to hold drop-in sessions about proposed Toondah Harbour development

THE developers behind the proposed Toondah Harbour development Walker Corporation will hold drop-in sessions on the project next week.

The sessions follow the release by the federal government of the guidelines for a draft environment impact statement, which are up for comment until March 6.

Walker’s sessions will be at Cleveland on Friday, February 22 and Dunwich the following day.

Responding to the release, BirdLife Southern Queensland convenor Judith Hoyle said the organisation’s national office was scrutinising the draft and would comment.

Redlands2030 spokesman Chris Walker said the lobby group cautioned that the work scope of the EIS guidelines were unlikely to deal properly with many concerns.

“Extra demand for transport, hospitals and schools to serve thousands of additional residents may not be adequately considered by this EIS,” Mr Walker said.

“Australia’s weak environmental laws don’t give confidence that this EIS process will result in government decisions to protect Ramsar wetlands, shorebird habitat and the Toondah koalas.

“The best way for this area’s environment to be protected is for the state Labor government to terminate the current project and start a proper planning process to upgrade the ferry terminal.”

A Walker Corporation spokesman said the drop-in sessions were part of a bigger consultation program over the next year.

“The opportunity to get feedback from local residents on our masterplan for Toondah Harbour is vital because we want the project to be shaped by the community,” the spokesman said.

“We will have our local project team including the designers at the sessions.

“It is a terrific opportunity for us to hear what is most important, including how we balance appropriate development that will improve the lifestyle of residents with conservation of the local environment.”

The spokesman said Walker Corporation encouraged people to talk to them about the EIS and how to have a say on the assessment guidelines laid down by the federal government.

“The guidelines present a very strict framework for how the key environmental aspects of the Toondah Harbour revitalisation will be examined,” the spokesman said.

“Every member of the community is encouraged to read and have their say on the EIS guidelines so that the project is properly scrutinised at every level.”

Walker Corporation proposes to develop a mixed use residential, commercial, retail and tourism precinct including new ferry terminals and a marina at Toondah Harbour.

The draft guidelines said the EIS should describe the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland, listed threatened and migratory species and ecological communities likely to be present in the area, and the development’s impact.

Listed threatened species include the koala, eastern curlew, lesser sand plover, water mouse, great knot, curlew sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit, grey-headed flying fox, loggerhead turtle, green turtle and hawksbill turtle.

The EIS should include impacts to migratory species, and consider Australia’s international responsibilities regarding biodiversity, migratory species and protection of Ramsar wetlands.

The EIS should propose avoidance and mitigation measures to deal with impacts and these should be consistent with the Australian Ramsar management principles, the draft guidelines said.

The Walker Corporation sessions will be at the Country Women’s Association Hall, 3 Waterloo Street, Cleveland on Friday, February 22 from 4pm to 7pm and Dunwich Public Hall, 6 Ballow Road on Saturday, February 23 from 10am to 1pm.