“Islands Almost Non Existent in Government Report”
When it comes to recognition by the State Government, the Bay Islands have been virtually totally ignored again.
It has only been brought to our attention now by Deputy Mayor of Redland City Council, Cr Wendy Boglary.
The Deputy Mayor says the islands in particular have been treated badly in the Shaping SEQ Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan that was released in October last year.
Despite several representations to the report by the Mayor and Councillors with good intent, any contribution has been totally overlooked and even ignored.
There are only two references to the islands in the report.
One in reference to Rural towns and the bay islands: “Development in rural towns, including Jimboomba, Logan Village, Woodford, Samford and Daybook; and the bay islands, include those of southern Moreton Bay, will occur as needed to sustain local communities”.
The only other reference is under a section titled ‘Connect’ with a map of the coast and an arrow directed to North Stradbroke Island with words in red stating:” “No proposed future road upgrades planned.”
As for anything else about North Stradbroke Island and Coochiemudlo, “they weren’t even mentioned,” Wendy Boglary said.
The problem for the islands and islanders at this late stage after Wendy Boglary discovered the huge disregard of the islands, is the timing to do anything about it. (SEE PANEL BELOW TO MAKE LATE SUBMISSION).
The report concludes: “The SEQ Regional plan takes precedence over our local planning scheme, so please have your say on this critical issue for the region by making a submission by Friday, 3rd March, 2017 . . . words from the ‘Lorax “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better, It’s not.”.
Wendy Boglary is outraged at the report and its treatment of the islands: “It is outrageous that our island communities have been omitted from future commitment to infrastructure.
“To have a one line stating development will occur ‘as needed’ is a total lack of any vision or planning for our region.
“The islands make Redlands unique and are a important part of our character and beauty.This lack of regard has been noted by council and is included in our council submission.”
The Deputy Mayor said she was disappointed with the treatment of the entire Redlands in the report.
“There was no mention of Queensland Rail upgrades or road planning, so it is a disinterest in the whole city,” she told The Friendly Bay Islander.
She says there is ‘no vision’ from the report.
“Anyone could see the potential of not only the islands but the potential of Redlands as a whole.
“I would love a whole day workshop on the islands with the community, councillors, State Gov reps and officers.
“Lots of open discussion and butcher paper to draw and record all the ideas and concerns to come up with a vision for the Islands.
“Feedback, strategic planning and timeframes could be calculated so everyone knows the path we are on.
“Until everyone starts talking and we lobby together the State Government there is no strength .
“The State Government, no matter which political party, seems to forget minority communities and the ‘difficult’ such as ‘remote’.
“There is tighter funding so residents and council need to stand together and get a vision, choose key projects and lobby,” a very annoyed Deputy Mayor added.
So what can we do about it at this late stage?
“Everyone needs to write a submission, even though the closing date has ended. Still send it anyway. Even just simply a couple of sentences would be sufficient.
Example:- As a resident of the Southern Moreton Bay islands, Redland City I encourage the State Gov in the draft SEQ Regional to have an intent and vision for our area (islands) which includes much needed infrastructure both hard and social. This vision should also support and identify opportunities for economic activities and the intent for land use.”
Wendy Boglary concluded: “Good planning and support will ensure that the Southern Moreton Bay Islands will become a regional showcase for mixed-use opportunities, housing choice and affordability that is serviced appropriately by social and economic infrastructure.”
Cr Mark Edwards also submitted to the original draft report, again with little or no response from the architects of the report.
He told The Friendly Bay Islander: “The SEQ draft regional plan is a continuation of entrenched exclusion of the islands over many decades.
“It seems to be reflective of a position of out of site, out of mind.
“Examples include population growth targets that Redlands need to plan for, as set by the State, make no allowance for the capacity of the islands to absorb substantial new numbers of residents due to the existing number of vacant residential blocks of land.
“The application of the term ‘remote" is often very selective when used by government departments when addressing island needs especially when "remote’ can trigger additional financial assistance.
“If the islands population was placed on the mainland in a regional area, I suspect a vast number of resources such as a hospital, high school and government offices would automatically be provided, yet SMBI has none of these, “ Cr Edwards said.
• Wendy Boglary and Mark Edwards with the controversial SEQ Draft Report.