Expert panel formed for Toondah Harbour environmental impact studies

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY: The panel includes experts in marine ecology, sediments and seagrasses, birds, wetlands and water quality, fisheries
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY: The panel includes experts in marine ecology, sediments and seagrasses, birds, wetlands and water quality, fisheries

A PANEL of scientists set to guide the Toondah environmental impact studies has been convened.

The EIS for Toondah Harbour commenced late last year, with a draft statement expected to be released for public review by December 2020.

The Toondah Harbour panel has been established by the Brisbane-based International Water Centre, with board member Paul Greenfield set to chair the panel.

Dr Greenfield said the panel of scientists, engineers and environmental experts would meet throughout the Toondah Harbour EIS process to review approaches and inform next stage studies.

"The purpose of our panel is to sit above the day to day work of the EIS team and provide insights and innovations that will add value and deliver the most robust and comprehensive EIS possible," he said.

"(The panel) comprises significant expertise in marine ecology, sediments and seagrasses, birds, wetlands and water quality, fisheries and the Ramsar Convention."

It came after the Australian Conservation Foundation called on federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to reject Walker's proposal.

A spokesperson said that of more than 1300 locals surveyed by ACF, BirdLife Australia and Redlands2030, 87 per cent opposed the Walker Corporation project.

It was similar to the results of a 2017 Redland City Bulletinonline poll.

Such polls and surveys are not suggested to be scientific but merely reflect the interests of those who take part.

ACF Bayside local Tania Kromoloff said people were concerned about losing protected wetlands to a private housing project being masked as a ferry terminal upgrade.

Walker Group Director Mr Peter Saba said Australia's environmental impact assessment requirements called for projects to show that all significant impacts on the environment were avoided, minimised or offset.

"The project will not be approved otherwise."