OUR ISLAND FUTURE: MAJOR SUSTAINABLE PLANNING DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE NOW!
If all the 11,000 blocks of land on our cluster of Bay Islands are eventually built upon and occupied, we will have a population of around 22,200.
The majority of them would be located on Russell and Macleay Islands.
To put it in perspective, both islands currently have a population of 3500 on each island for a total of around 8000 people.
When fully developed, it would mean our population would almost triple.
We would not then be an island hideaway and refuge. We will be a suburb.
This is not speculation. It is fact.
The current 11,000 blocks of land are all privately owned.
There is no reason why they cannot be built upon and occupied.
We look closely at the issue with a major article in this edition, with some interesting comment from Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards.
As it currently stands, there is no way of stopping the eventual growth to the 22,000 mark.
What we have to ask ourselves:
1. Do we want our islands to have that many people?;
2. If so, does the Queensland Government and Redland City Council have the desire to provide the services that are required to cater for 22,000 people?
To stop the inevitable growth, some major decisions would need to be addressed NOW!
To set a limit on our eventual maximum population, the only way to stop it would be to introduce a ‘buy back’ scheme, which would have to be funded by the State Government.
The Governments of the day would have to decide whether it is their interests to do so.
Would it be cheaper to ‘buy back’ island housing lots; or, to provide the funds for growing island infrastructure whilst accepting increased rates and charges?
With our current transport arrangements continuing and growing, it would mean car parking would be required on the islands and the mainland for about 5000 vehicles, or more.
If we are going to continue on this trend, should we be looking at new ways of doing things?
This could include shorter barge routes to our islands or perhaps improved connections from the south of the island group (all suggested previously).
And such population figures would also bring back into play the linking of the islands to the mainland more permanently via either a bridge or shorter barge links.
Elsewhere in this edition we have commented in Hot Goss about a visit to Bruny Island in Tasmania. A double decker vehicular ferry, a shorter route and Government subsidy ensures no parking dramas for that island community (average fare $9 return; permanent population 700)
Whatever way it goes, some important decisions need to be made.
It is about clever forward planning.
A goal, perhaps, for a new Redland City Council soon to be elected!