2018 A YEAR OF CHANGE AND SOME STAGNATION
The one thing we can say about 2018 with some certainty, it has passed by extremely quickly!
For our islands, it depends on which island you live just how well your fortunes have flowed.
The Southern Bay Islands have shown signs of progress and growth, whilst North Stradbroke and Coochiemudlo have not experienced the most progressive of years.
It would be fair to say the ‘transition’ from sand mining to tourism and the promise of $31 million by the State Government has so far not been terribly successful.
Lots of meetings and concepts have evolved, but in real terms just a handful of jobs via ranger work is all that has resulted so far on Straddie.
The annual Quandamooka Festival, however, has progressed and it is great to see the Dunwich business community combine to take matters into their own hands with their excellent Christmas promotion that is currently underway.
It is to be hoped that some of the strategies that have been put in place will come to fruition soon, given that sand mining will definitely come to an end this coming year.
Little has changed on Coochiemudlo in the past 12 months; and perhaps that may be the preferred outcome for many Coochie residents.
For the Southern Bay Islands, it is a little different with some major future infrastructure promised in 2018.
The year started with Redland City Council announcing the purchase of Moore’s Farm at Weinam Creek for future parking needs for island residents, to be utilised particularly whilst the Weinam PDA major parking, residential, commercial and retail is developed over the next few years.
Driverless buses were demonstrated at Weinam Creek with Redland City Council signalling that they would be a future ’consideration’.
Point Lookout and Straddie was to the fore early in the year when the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games baton started its Queensland journey and island artist Delvene Cockatoo-Collins played a significant role when her designs were selected for the medals that were presented at the Games.
We were told that the NBN would get to our islands ‘eventually’ with dates progressively being moved out, now to 2020. The only consolation is that when it gets here, our NBN will be better (we hope) than it has with earlier roll-outs.
The $8.5 million foreshore project on Macleay Island was finally completed and it provided a huge impetus to that island’s economy.
An observatory and park was suggested for Russell Island and that has progressed with council announcing a direction that could involve the observatory on Russell and observatory lookout points on all islands.
Redland City Council announced that island waste facilities would now be open 7 days, which was a huge boost for the islands, as well as cracking down on illegal containers and messy blocks.
Men’s sheds groups received a boost on both Coochiemudlo and Macleay Islands with the Renegades group on Macleay adding ‘street libraries’ to their portfolio of island seating they produce for the island community.
Mid year, State and Local Government budgets proved beneficial to our islands.
The Queensland State Government announced $26 million for future island jetties for Russell, Lamb, Macleay and Karragarra.
An eager entrepreneur announced he would like to build two restaurants into the new jetties for Russell and Macleay islands.
The council has further invested heavily in the successful ‘green seal’ road sealing program with it now alternating between both Russell and Macleay Islands, with Lamb and Coochiemudlo now completed.
Communication on the islands is still a problem.
Funding has been received for additional mobile phone towers on Russell and North Stradbroke Islands, but these are still some way off.
CCTV cameras, paid for by the Federal Government nearly two years ago, still have not been installed on Southern Bay Islands.
Sealink have said they will be building new barges for the Southern run, but will be a long way off.
Pressure has been applied for more island police, particularly on Russell and Macleay Islands, with some signs that there should be some good news soon.
The Well Being Hub for the islands has had some initial successes, but it will depend on State and Federal funding being provided to improve social services to the islands.
And finally, our political representatives in Kim Richards, Mark Robinson and Councillors Mark Edwards and Peter Mitchell have been very active in getting strong results for our islands.