Frequently Asked Questions
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About the Project
Why does Toondah Harbour need to be revitalised?
Moreton Bay and the Bay islands offer natural and recreational attractions and their accessibility is a key contributor to Redland City’s growth potential.
Toondah Harbour is the gateway to these attractions with regular ferry services already bringing significant numbers of visitors to the area. However, the existing infrastructure lacks amenity and the continuing growth of user numbers is placing pressure on these facilities, particularly the car parking. Redland City Council’s Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020 highlights a number of issues:
- lack of higher end and large scale accommodation to support groups, conferences and functions
- lack of jetty/boating infrastructure
- parking issues, particularly around ferry access points
- lack of a clear identity for the Redlands and its past – no destination identity
- lack of quality visitor information services
- lack of public boat moorings/berthing
- limited bay access
- limited quality dining.
The delivery of a dedicated tourist precinct through the revitalisation of Toondah Harbour is a key action in Council’s Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.
What are the roles of Walker, Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and Redland City Council in the project?
Walker Group Holdings Pty Ltd (Walker) has secured the rights to develop the state and local government land at Toondah Harbour and is responsible for designing, financing and constructing all development and associated infrastructure and for marketing the project.
Economic Development Queensland and Redland City Council are the landowners and will work closely with Walker to implement the vision throughout the life of the project.
How did Walker become involved in the Toondah Harbour project?
Economic Development Queensland and Redland City Council sought a private sector proponent, through a competitive tendering process, to develop state and council landholdings at Toondah Harbour.
After responding to an expression of interest, Walker submitted a detailed proposal and was selected as the preferred development proponent by Economic Development Queensland and Redland City Council.
Can Walker deliver such a large and complex project?
Walker is Australia’s largest private, diversified development company. We have more than 50 years’ experience and have delivered more than 1,000 projects that span the length and width of Australia and internationally in America, Canada, Fiji and Malaysia.
We are one of the few developers with expertise across all areas of the property spectrum from residential, retail, commercial, industrial and resort living, through to master planned communities. What is most important to us is that our projects serve their respective communities well, incorporating leading edge engineering, technology and ecologically sustainable development practices. Our proven track record is evident in our many completed and iconic developments, including Hope Island Resort (QLD), Woolloomooloo Wharf (NSW) and Broadway Shopping Centre (NSW), as well as our extensive pipeline of major transformational future projects such as Collins Square (VIC), Parramatta Square (NSW), Senibong Cove (Malaysia) and Festival Plaza (SA). For more information about Walker and our projects visit www.walkercorp.com.au.
Has Walker considered alternative project locations?
The proposed redevelopment of Toondah Harbour is not a market led proposal - it did not originate from Walker Group Holdings. In June 2014, Economic Development Queensland and Redland City Council called for expressions of interest from the private sector to redevelop certain public lands in the Toondah Harbour PDA.
Walker has not considered alternative project locations as it has entered into a binding commercial agreement with Redland City Council and the State Government that is tied to specific land within the Toondah Harbour PDA.
Why will there be dredging and land reclamation as part of this development?
The public expression of interest issued by Economic Development Queensland and Redland City Council for the Toondah Harbour PDA required the successful tenderer to undertake capital dredging to straighten and widen the Fison Channel and extend the existing turning basin.
The Fison Channel is 2.55 kilometres long and typically 45 metres wide. It extends from the turning basin in front of the existing barge berths, via three significant bends to exit into deeper water approximately 1.5 kilometres past Cassim Island. The turning basin’s existing diameter is well below the accepted minimum of 1.5 times the maximum length of vessels currently utilising the harbour.
Walker has addressed the requirement for capital dredging as part of an integrated design concept that:
- realigns the channel to reflect the new terminal location;
- reduces channel bends from three to two to minimise capital dredging and disturbance of previously undisturbed areas;
- provides a base entrance channel width (75m) and depth (-3m LAT) to allow safe navigation based on future vessel requirements in accordance with recognised and accepted international navigation authority standards;
- provides unimpeded turning basin area with a minimum diameter in accordance with accepted practice;
- provides stable dredge batter slopes for all new dredge area work; and
- considers ambient, prevailing and storm weather conditions, tidal, surge and wave conditions, climate change and sea level rise predictions.
The current concept has been developed by marine infrastructure and engineering experts. It will be subject to detailed modelling and coastal processes and environmental investigation as part of the environmental impact assessment process.
Preliminary engineering analysis indicates that a minimum of 500,000 cubic metres of material would need to be removed from the channel. Removing and disposing of this material at land or marine-based disposal sites outside of the PDA would be costly and presents significant environmental and logistical issues. If reclamation is not carried out dredged material would need to be transported offshore or to a new on-land facility for disposal.
The National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging 2009 state: “It is important to recognise the potential value of dredged material as a resource. Possible beneficial uses include engineered uses (land reclamation, beach nourishment, offshore berms, and capping material) agriculture and product uses (aquaculture, construction material, liners) and environmental enhancement (restoration and establishment of wetlands, upland habitats, nesting islands, and fisheries).”
Walker proposes to beneficially reuse dredged material to reclaim land for urban development and to create new intertidal habitat, rather than transporting material to an alternative marine or land-based location. The project is designed to achieve a net balance between dredging and reclamation. This approach will be rigorously tested through the environmental impact assessment process.
Fison Channel and the turning basin are already subject to intermittent maintenance dredging which extends significantly into the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland. In 2013 the Department of Transport and Main Roads received approval for a Material Change of Use for Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) 16-(1c) Dredging >100,000 tonnes but <1,000,000 tonnes year, to dredge the channel to a depth of -2.5m Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT).The works were carried out in 2014. No environmental impact assessment process has been undertaken for previous dredging events.
How many dwellings are proposed?
Walker’s proposed master plan allows for approximately 3,600 dwellings in a variety of forms from detached houses and townhouses to apartments, with buildings ranging from two to ten storeys.
This number of dwellings was put forward by Walker in its financial proposal for project and has not varied.
How many people will live at Toondah Harbour?
Approximately 6,300 new residents will call Toondah Harbour home when the site is fully developed in 15 to 20 years. The number of residents is calculated based on the proposed number of dwellings and the planning assumptions about average dwelling occupancy rates for the Cleveland Catchment in Redland City Council’s Priority Infrastructure Plan.
What is the project timeframe?
The project will be completed in stages. Walker expects the project to take 15 to 20 years from the commencement of construction, depending on market demand.
How tall will the buildings be at Toondah Harbour?
The maximum building height allowable under the Toondah Harbour PDA Development Scheme is 10 storeys. The buildings within the development will not be uniformly 10 storeys. The proposed development will deliver a variety of buildings with heights ranging from two to 10 storeys. The taller buildings will be stepped well back from the high tide roost sites at Cassim Island and Nandeebie Claypan, and any buildings directly facing the roost sites will be in the two to three storey range.
What changes are proposed for GJ Walter Park?
GJ Walter Park is a special place that plays an important role in the community and is of local heritage significance. There will be:
- no reduction in green space or facilities from GJ Walter Park
- no impact on the Norfolk Pines and the avenue of tuckeroos in GJ Walter Park.
Proposed enhancements to the park include:
- new park play facilities
- new BBQ shelters and amenities
- informal kick-about and play spaces
- a fenced dog park
- a shared pedestrian and cycle path.
Who will construct, own, operate and maintain the marina?
The marina will be designed, funded and constructed by Walker and then sold out of State Government ownership into private ownership. The marina owners will operate and maintain the marina, including funding and undertaking maintenance dredging as required.
Who will construct, own, operate and maintain the ferry terminal?
A new, world-class ferry terminal, which will include multiple barge and passenger ferry terminals, vehicle queuing areas, ferry car parking, landscaped plaza, bus interchange and ticket and visitor information centre, will be designed, financed and constructed by Walker. It will then be handed over at no cost to Redland City Council or its delegate to own, operate and maintain.
Who will construct, manage and maintain the new community infrastructure?
The marina plaza, boardwalk, ferry plaza and foreshore parklands with recreational boating facilities will be designed, financed and constructed by Walker. These will ultimately be managed and maintained by Redland City Council, as are other community spaces elsewhere in the Redlands.
What is happening with the Emmett Drive boat ramp?
The current boat ramp at Emmett Drive is underutilised and the extensive trailer-boat car parking is often occupied by overflow car parking from the ferry operations. It also discharges small recreational vessels into the path of the commercial ferries. Walker proposes closing this boat ramp and providing:
- a publicly accessible deep water pontoon located close to the marina plaza, with provision for disability parking
- a sheltered public boat ramp with boat trailer parking has been included in the updated master plan.
Economic and Social Impacts
What are the economic benefits of the project?
Preliminary analysis by economic experts suggests that the project will positively contribute to the local and regional economy in a number of ways. Examples of the economic benefits of the project include:
- The construction phase of the project is expected to have a $1.39 billion direct contribution to the local economy and an additional $2.33 billion in related economic activity.
- After construction has been completed, the value of economic output generated by the project is estimated at $96.5 million/year. This is based on the scale and mix of commercial uses.
- The project will directly support an estimated 1,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs/year during the construction phase in construction-related sectors.
- After construction is completed, the project will support an estimated 500 FTE jobs/year, with additional indirect employment supported in the surrounding region.
- The project will result in an increase in general rates attributed to residential development on site of approximately $5.4 million/year.
- The additional population accommodated by the project will generate a substantial benefit by increasing demand and need for a range of local services and facilities that is likely to see an economic uplift for the Cleveland CBD. One of the key drivers of demand from the new residential population of Toondah Harbour will be the additional retail expenditure generated, which is estimated at $78.1 million in retail expenditure each year. Much of this expenditure will be retained in local centres including the Cleveland CBD.
- The proposed hotel is expected to generate 76,650 visitor nights/year.
- Potential visitor expenditure is estimated at up to $17.25 million/year.
Detailed assessment of the potential economic impacts of the project will be undertaken as part of the environmental impact assessment process.
Will the project ‘kill off’ the Cleveland CBD?
No. The Toondah Harbour project will not harm the viability of the Cleveland CBD. Instead, the project is expected to support and reinforce the Cleveland CBD in a variety of ways including:
- restoring and strengthening connections from the Cleveland CBD to the waterfront, adding to the identity and image of Cleveland
- favouring boutique retail, food and beverage and office tenancies that support the functions of the new tourism hub
- benefiting Cleveland CBD and other local businesses through resident, visitor and construction expenditure.
The average annual retail expenditure in the local area by new Toondah Harbour residents is estimated at $78.1 million, while potential visitor expenditure is estimated at $17.25 million/year.
Will the project impact on North Stradbroke Island?
The project is expected to support the economic transition strategy for the island after sand mining is phased out by providing upgraded tourism infrastructure on the mainland and stimulating longer term economic and industry growth.
How will social impacts be addressed?
A social impact assessment for the project will be undertaken as part of the environmental impact assessment process. This will involve collecting qualitative and quantitative data to enable the existing social environment to be measured as a basis for assessing future impacts. During the assessment Walker will consult the community and government to develop management strategies for any potential impacts that are identified, both positive and negative.
Environmental Impacts and Approvals
Why did Walker submit a new referral to the Federal Department of The Environment and Energy?
In June 2017 the Federal Minister for Environment and Energy decided that the project is a controlled action requiring further assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) based on a previous referral.
Since then Walker has updated the concept master plan for the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area to include new initiatives and respond to feedback from environmental and wetland experts, public submissions and the Federal Government.
A new referral was submitted as a controlled action under the EPBC Act, reflecting the evolution of the master plan.
What updates were made to the master plan?
Key features of the updated plan include:
- The full development is located within the boundary of the PDA and the reclamation footprint has reduced by more than 12 hectares or 30% of the previous proposal.
- A minimum 250 metre buffer the equivalent of the length of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium has been provided between the development edge and nearby Cassim Island and Nandeebie Claypan roost sites.
- A brand new port facility will revitalise the gateway to Moreton Bay and North Stradbroke Island and provide capacity for additional operators. This will facilitate investment in exciting new nature and culture-based ecotourism operations.
- An increase in public car parking spaces from 667 existing spaces to 1,010 dedicated spaces will support the new ferry terminal and visitor facilities, with allowance for a 500-bay multi-deck car park to be constructed when required. All new commercial, mixed use and residential developments will provide their own car parking, including visitor parking, in accordance with Council’s parking rates.
- The plan provides more waterfront access and is defined by a more organic and natural system of waterways and marina coves embedded with wetlands and publicly accessible edges.
- A new 3.5 hectare South Bank-style foreshore parkland will include a lagoon pool and water play area.
- A new 3.5 hectare conservation area will include a proposed wetland education and cultural centre, bird hides and low impact walking trails.
- The dedicated koala habitat corridor is protected, with koala sensitive design to be implemented throughout the development.
- The foreshore area will be enjoyed via a 1.5 kilometre walking and cycling path which links Toondah Harbour to the proposed marina plaza and existing GJ Walter Park.
- A sheltered public boat ramp with boat trailer parking has been included in the plan.
What was the outcome of Walker's referral to The Federal Government?
In late May 2018, Walker submitted EPBC Referral 2018/8225 to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy. The referral was subject to a 10 business day public comment period from 5 to 20 June 2018. On 23 July 2018, the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy decided that the proposed action is a ‘controlled action’ that will be assessed under the EPBC Act.
What does a 'controlled action' decision mean?
A ‘controlled action’ decision under the EPBC Act is not an approval.
A controlled action decision means the project needs to be assessed and approved under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.
What method will be used for assessment of the 'Controlled Action' (The Toondah Harbour Project)?
The Australian Government has decided assessment of the proposed Toondah Harbour Project will occur by EIS under the EPBC Act.
What happens next?
The Department of the Environment and Energy will develop draft Guidelines for the EIS to ensure specific matters of concern are investigated.
Input on the draft Guidelines for the EIS will be sought from external organisations and government agencies with knowledge of the issues relevant to the action.
Once the Guidelines for the EIS are finalised, the Department will publish a notice.
Walker will then be able to begin undertaking the detailed technical studies, formal EIS community engagement program and preparation of the EIS report.
How will the project be assessed under National Environmental Law
A comprehensive EIS report will be prepared according to Guidelines provided by the Australian Government.
The purpose of an EIS is to provide:
- information from which interested parties can gain an understanding of:
- the proposal;
- the environment it could potentially affect;
- impacts that may occur;
- proposed measures to be taken to avoid and minimise these impacts;
- an opportunity for public consultation and informed comments on the proposal;
- information relating to ecological, cultural, social, heritage, economic and technical aspects of the proposal and other factors to enable the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy to make an approval decision.
Key steps in the federal environment assessment process are outlined in the following diagram, including opportunities for public comment on the proposal.
Will the community have an opportunity to input to the EIS?
During the preparation of the draft Environmental Impact Statement, a comprehensive community engagement program will be undertaken, which will inform the Community Consultation Chapter of the EIS.
Register at www.toondah-harbour.com.au to receive project updates and to be notified about upcoming community engagement activities.
What will the State Government Environment and Development Assessment Processes entail?
To proceed, the project will also require various development and environmental approvals and authorities under Queensland legislation, including;
- Economic Development Act 2012;
- Planning Act 2016; and
- Marine Parks Act 2004
Why will the project require Assessment under state and national environmental laws?
The Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area, which was declared by regulation in 2013 by the State Government, covers a total area of approximately 67 hectares, including 17.5 hectares over land and 49.5 hectares over water within Moreton Bay. Some areas below high water mark are part of much larger areas that are protected by national and state environment laws, including:
Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland of International Importance
A declared Ramsar wetland is an area that has been designated under the Ramsar Convention, which is an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands, through wise use and management. Australia currently has 65 Wetlands of International Importance listed under the Ramsar Convention, covering approximately 8.1 million hectares.
The Toondah Harbour PDA overlaps with the Moreton Ramsar Wetland of International Importance by 42 hectares. According to the latest state government mapping, the total area of the Moreton Bay Ramsar site is 120,350 hectares. The PDA overlap with the Ramsar site represents 0.03% of the total area of the wetland. The ecological character of this area is of varying quality and includes the existing dredged swing basin and entrance channel.
The implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Australia is supported by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Ramsar wetlands are a matter of national environmental significance that are protected under the Act. The EPBC Act regulates actions that will or are likely to have a significant impact on the ecological character of a Ramsar wetland.
Moreton Bay Marine Park
The Moreton Bay Marine Park totals 3,400 square kilometres and is protected by state government legislation: the Marine Parks Act 2004 and Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008.
The Toondah Harbour PDA overlaps with the Moreton Bay Marine Park by 52 hectares or 0.01% of the protected area.
Reclamation in the marine park requires approval under state legislation. An application for these works will be made following the federal EIS process.
Migratory and threatened species
Preliminary ecological studies for the Toondah Harbour PDA show that the existing marine environment supports some potential habitat for protected turtles, dugongs, dolphins and migratory shorebirds and has ecological and fishery values. These values are generally associated with estuarine and intertidal habitats that include sparse seagrass beds, a small area of mangroves and mudflats providing feeding habitat for migratory birds, including threatened species. Of the 189 km2 of these habitat types in Moreton Bay, the PDA contains less than 0.001% of the total area.
Two migratory bird high tide roost sites are located adjacent to the PDA at Cassim Island and the Nandeebie Claypan. Roost sites are considered to have high ecological values. As a result, the master plan for the project was amended in 2018 to introduce a minimum conservation buffer of 250 metres between the roost sites and proposed urban development.
Migratory shorebird populations using Moreton Bay have undergone substantial declines in recent years. A number of international studies have found that this is due to disruption in other parts of the flyway, particularly in the Yellow Sea region, and not caused by any activity in Moreton Bay.
In addition, an urban koala population is known to move through the western part of the Toondah Harbour PDA. These koalas are visiting food trees that have been retained or planted in the urban environment. Koalas also visit important food trees in the larger patches of suitable habitat along the foreshore immediately south of the PDA boundary and scattered food trees in the existing urban footprint to the west of the referral area.
In accordance with the Toondah Harbour PDA Development Scheme, the master plan protects the koala corridor from GJ Walter Park to the broader habitat corridor south of the PDA. Most existing koala trees are located in this corridor. The master plan also sets out to facilitate safe movement opportunities for koalas between habitat tree patches through the planning, design and layout of roads and landscaping treatment.
A range of koala sensitive design measures will be implemented to reduce the potential for adverse direct or indirect impacts on koalas. The extent and significance of potential impacts on koala will be fully assessed as part of the environmental impact assessment process.
How will potential impacts on the environment be mitigated or offset?
The Toondah Harbour project is at a conceptual stage. It will be further developed and refined during the environmental impact assessment process, as the results of technical studies are known.
The environment in and adjacent to, the Toondah Harbour PDA is important. Where impacts to the surrounding environment from the proposed project are identified, these impacts will be addressed according to the following mitigation hierarchy:
|Avoid||Measures taken to avoid creating impacts|
|Minimise||Measures taken to reduce the duration, intensity and extent of impacts that cannot be completely avoided|
|Rehabilitate or Restore||Measures taken to improve degraded or removed ecosystems following exposure to impacts that cannot be completely avoided or minimised|
|Offset||Measures taken to compensate for any residual, adverse impacts after full implementation of the previous three steps of the mitigation hierarchy|
Environmental management plans, for both construction and operation, will be developed once the environmental impacts of the proposed development have been determined.
As a result of the statutory approval processes at federal and state levels, regulatory offsets may be applied to the proposed Toondah Harbour development. A range of potential mitigation and offset measures has been identified that could provide an ecological benefit at Toondah Harbour. These measures will be explored through the environmental impact assessment process.
Will local suppliers have an opportunity to tender for work?
Walker is committed to implementing the Queensland Charter for Local Content which is aimed at delivering genuine opportunities for local businesses.
Walker intends to work with the Industry Capability Network (ICN) to define work packages for particular goods and services, which will maximise opportunities for local industry to tender for market-based contracts. Certain works packages may be specifically targeted at Indigenous suppliers. Once the EIS process is underway, the Toondah Harbour Project webpage will provide information for prospective suppliers and link to the ICN Gateway.
Local content reporting will be undertaken by Walker and/or its contractors and subcontractors throughout the life of the project in compliance with the Queensland Charter for Local Content.
I would like to supply goods or services to the Toondah Harbour project. How do I register my interest?
Visit www.toondah-harbour.com.au to register for project updates. We will let you know when the ICN Gateway Toondah Harbour Project webpage is operational.