Sensible solution to Straddie ferry terminals at Toondah and Dunwich

Sensible solution to Straddie ferry terminals at Toondah and Dunwich

Federal Government economic policy has changed because of rising interest rates and inflation. We all have to tighten our belts, including the Government, we are told. Ok well there is both a sensible solution to the Toondah Harbour abmonination and a way to substantially change a ridiculous plan to spend $41 Million of public funds, as part of the ‘SEQ City Deal’, on the Dunwich ferry terminal.

Spending that amount would turn Straddie’s ferry terminal (pictured above) into an unwanted commercial and retail nightmare, instead of simply a place to board or disembark vehicular and passenger ferries. A modest upgrade is all that is needed. Why not also use the funds for a modest upgrade to the ferry terminal at Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour as well?

The Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) is a disgrace. It also has delayed an upgrade to the ferry terminal. Since the PDA was declared in 2013 and a (secret) development agreement signed with Walker Corporation (Walker) in 2016, every other ferry terminal in Moreton Bay has been or is being upgraded using State Government and Redland Council or Sealink ferry company funds – as is normal.

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The Stradbroke ferry terminal at Cleveland's Toondah Harbour

New terminals everywhere else

The State Government and Redland City Council are jointly funding four new Moreton Bay ferry terminals on Russell, Karragarra, Macleay and Lamb Islands. A new ferry terminal also has been built at Victoria Point for travellers to Coochiemudlo Island. And Sealink is upgrading the Redland Bay ferry terminal.

So doesn’t this illustrate the utter BS we have all been told about the Stradbroke ferry terminal at Cleveland? That it can’t be upgraded unless Walker is permitted to build 3,600 high-rise apartments on protected tidal wetlands in order to fund it? Even if the Federal Government approved the disingenuous scheme, we wouldn’t see a new Cleveland ferry terminal for years.

Federal Government must say ‘no’ to Toondah real estate scheme

Walker (absurdly) claims in its Toondah Harbour Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (eg Executive summary at ES-8 & 9)  that there are no feasible alternatives to its real estate scheme. It is also claimed money is needed from the sale of apartments for Walker to ‘upgrade’ the Cleveland ferry terminal. Walker also claims that there is a need to widen the ferry channel from 45m to 75m when that would only be required if Walker’s plan, which includes marinas for 200 yachts, is approved.

Many of Walker’s claims are nonsense and based on self-interest. The Federal Government needs to honour Australia’s Ramsar Convention obligations and knock back Walker’s real estate scheme asap. Then apply the sensible solution proposed in this post.

Use the SEQ City Deal funds on upgrading both ferry terminals

Before the current economic times arrived, in the SEQ City Deal (see page 22), the State and Federal Government, when Scott Morrison was PM, agreed to spend an absurd amount of money – $41 Million – building a new ferry terminal at Dunwich with commercial and retail aspects. All that’s needed there are some decent toilets, a café, improved all weather waiting area for water taxis, the potholes permanently fixed – and improved parking.

A few $Million would do the trick. That’s all that is really needed at Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour as well. These are ferry terminals! People catch ferries there! Making them into ‘tourist destinations in themselves’ is silly. People catch the Stradbroke ferries to get to and from the island. They go for the beaches, the relative peace and quiet, the wildlife and the natural beauty. People who go to Straddie (in increasing numbers) don’t want razzamatazz. That’s why they choose Straddie!

Put the community first

In tough economic times, genuine leaders would rewrite the ‘SEQ City deal’ for the Dunwich ferry terminal. Spend say $10 million upgrading both Stradbroke ferry terminals, and either save $30 Million or spend it on much needed community facilities on Straddie.

A few things come to mind – decent toilets at Cylinder Beach, reinstating toilets at Amity Park (recently bulldozed by the Council), bicycle tracks between the three townships, youth facilities, drug and alcohol addiction support and treatment, organised car-parking to remove the unsightly mess that currently exists on the Dunwich foreshore.

Time to put the communities of Straddie and Cleveland first, not the private profit interests of property developers and their ‘mates’.