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Objections are coming thick and fast to a proposal by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to establish a ‘sailing school’ at Deanbilla Bay, North Stradbroke Island.

After initial enthusiastic response to the proposal by the State Government and Local Government, opposing forces have now gathered some momentum agains the proposal.

The overall ‘fear’ appears to be that the ’sailing school’ could be an excuse for a complete takeover of the area by the RQYS, similar to its other sites, one particularly on Russell Island.

It appears the concept is jumping on the back of the Sibelco forced mine closure set for 2019 by the Queensland Labor Government.

By the time the enthusiastic initial announcements were made it was discovered that the lease of the land component at Deanbilla Bay to the Squadron by Sibelco, had already taken place.

It was announced that the sailing school concept would : “be used for sailing lessons and regattas that could ‘bring hundreds and even thousands’ to the islands in sports tourism.

The Department of Natural Resources confirmed it had provided consent to transfer the lease between Sibelco and the RQYS.

The announcement at the time was a shock to a number of parties including QYAC and local ‘boats’ not associated with the RQYS.

QYAC’s Cameron Costello railed against the proposal stating at the time: “no-one should be able to use native title waters without native title consent.’

“The site should give to local people, not to a private developer,” he added.

It got even worse for the RQYS when 12 boating clubs from south east Queensland put a spanner in the works further objecting to the their proposal.

The 12 clubs and associations made a submission to Marine Safety Queensland against the Royal Queensland Yacht Club’s proposal to manage moorings at Deanbilla Bay.

As a category three designated mooring area by Marine Safety Queensland, which meant over time it would transition from an anchorage to privately leased, permanent moorings.

RQYS applied to rezone two thirds of the bay as a category one designated mooring area, where fees and conditions of use are set by a third party to allow short term use of the moorings, and applied to be the manager.

Ian Heathwood, a solicitor and a member of RQYS, co-ordinated the group.

“It gives them (RQYS) the right to set all terms and conditions for using moorings in that bay, and given that it is a private club, then who knows what conditions they would set?” he said.

The opposition ended up in a victory for the combined clubs with RQYS foiled in its attempts to control moorings in the Bay.

The next target is the lease of the adjoining land and buildings that was moved from Sibelco to RQYS for a rumoured $1.

‘Private property’ signs have been placed on the site inflaming an already difficult situation.

Whilst momentum was originally for the RQYS and the sailing school proposal, it could now be swinging the other way.

The RQYS is not known for ‘sharing’ its sites, one of which is used exclusively by members on Russell Island with ‘locals’ prohibited from entering.

• The RQYS sign that was placed on the former Sibelco site.



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