IT will be another 85 days before the federal Environment Department is expected to hand down its decision on Walker Corporation’s plans to overhaul Toondah Harbour.
TALKING TOONDAH: Redland mayor Karen Williams with, from left, Walker Corporation’s Peter Saba, deputy premier Jackie Trad and Capalaba MP Don Brown at the ferry terminal last year. Photo: Judith Kerr
The suspension is the fourth since the plans were lodged with the federal government in December and was called for by the Walker Group and approved by the Environment Department.
It means there will be no decision on whether the project needs formal assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act before September 2.is the fourth
Bowman MP Andrew Laming lauded the suspension, the fourth since the plans were lodged with the federal government in December.
“Given the scale of this project, I support the most expansive and detailed assessment possible by my government,” he said.
“I welcome any Redlander with views to contact me directly. Walker’s decision on timing is a matter for them.”
The plans include revamping the ferry terminal, building high-rise waterfront residential units, dredging the harbour and using the spoils to create more than 43.5 hectares of reclaimed land.
After the suspensionWalker Corp general manager Peter Saba said the extra time would allow for new technical information and more discussions with key stakeholders.
“Walker is fully committed to the Toondah Harbour development and appreciates the strong support from mayor Karen Williams and deputy premier Jackie Trad for what will be a landmark development,” Mr Saba said.
Redland City Council has backed the project, which it says will bolster tourism, provide much-needed transport facilities and ease unemployment after sand mining ceases on Stradbroke Island.
Green groups, including Redlands 2030, claim the project will be detrimental to significant wetlands and shore birds and will reduce public open space and parks.
Redlands 2030 has also criticisedWalker’s bid to have the project assessed under state legislation instead of the federal EPBC Act.
“It is most unusual for a decision timeframe on an EPBC referral to be extended,” Redlands 2030 said in a statement.
“Walker Corporation’s Toondah Harbour project EPBC referral appears to be the only instance ever where this has happened.”
Although the project was established under the federal Economic Development Act 2012, it will trigger state legislation, requiring a range of state approvals.
However, Mr Saba said Walker intended to get a “coordinated project” declaration under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 to circumvent some environmental assessment processes.
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