Redland City Council calls for a report on unsealed roads on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands

HISTORY: Cr Mark Edwards with council records from the early 1970s that he has been reading to get an insight into the provision and funding of island and mainland infrastructure.

HISTORY: Cr Mark Edwards with council records from the early 1970s that he has been reading to get an insight into the provision and funding of island and mainland infrastructure.

REDLAND City Council's program to seal dirt roads on the bay islands will come under the spotlight after councillors asked for a report on the initiative within 60 days.

Division 5's Cr Mark Edwards said he had been arguing for the green seal program - which was started in 2014-15 and involves putting a lower cost bitumen seal over gravel roads - to continue but he seemed to be out of step with some councillors.

He said the program was highly valued and wanted by Southern Moreton Bay Island residents.

Russell Island resident Ann Hagen told the council in August that residents had nasal issues, ear infections and coughs which they attributed to churned up dust drifting into homes.

A RUSSELL Island resident has slammed delays in Redland City Council's program to seal dirt roads on the bay islands saying dust is causing health issues.

Some councillors have argued that infrastructure charges had been paid for mainland subdivisions but not by island landowners and the cost of SMBI infrastructure was a burden on the council and mainland residents.

But Cr Edwards said council records from the 1970s - before and after the bay islands were included in the Redland local government area - showed this was not the case.

He said that mainland roads had been sealed by the council without residents or developers paying infrastructure charges. The council also had to pay for gravel road maintenance and water reticulation.

"To meet these costs, the council borrowed and borrowed big, with long-term loans payable by the whole of the community," Cr Edwards said.

"It was rate money, grants and loans that sealed those mainland roads and built a range of other infrastructure. Redland mainland benefited from the islands. The records are all there."

Cr Edwards said the job of sealing roads and providing infrastructure had not finished.

"The city didn't stop at the water's edge and council has stepped up but it's not the time to stop and nor is it time to put additional costs or levies on islanders when those costs were not placed on the mainland residents," he said.

Cr Murray Elliott recently called for a citizen community advisory panel to investigate how to fund infrastructure on the bay islands.

A 1973 report on the inclusion of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands in the then Redland Shire Council said that the rate revenue would increase by 32 per cent.

With insufficient council staff to issue the extra 15,000 rate notices manually, the state government paid for computerisation of the rates system.

"The islands brought Redlands into the computer age," Cr Edwards said. "There is no evidence that Redlands didn't want the islands. Their financial position had a huge boost in rate income, they had the council computerised, they had two big grants for operational work and plant and equipment and the state would look after the marine infrastructure."

Councillors on Wednesday called for the report which must include costs, health and social impacts of living on unsealed roads and the environmental benefits of sealing roads like the impact on waterways due to reduced sediment.

The report must include the cost to green seal island roads that have residences, operational costs to maintain unsealed roads and cost savings to the council if the roads were sealed.

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