MARK EDWARDS IDENTIFIES ISLAND PARKING AND FUTURE PLANNING AS KEY ISLAND ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED! By Mark Edwards
This month marks the halfway point in the four-year term of Councillors, with the last Council election held on the 28th March 2020. It also represents 10 consecutive years I have been privileged to serve our community. At this half way point in the current term, I would like to share with you a number of projects that I will be advocating for Council to consider and implement over the next two years. Some of the projects are long term planning but they need to be progressed in the early planning and design before they can be funded and delivered. ROAD SEALING: This has been a major undertaking over the years and a large number of roads have been sealed. However it is important to maintain substantial budget funding to complete the sealing program in the next few years so that living on a dusty road will be a thing of the past. PARKING: Weinam Creek is going to be resolved with multi-level parking construction to commence in the near future. However island parking around the jetties is only getting worse and needs a strategic plan to resolve these constrained areas. Russell Island will have the foreshore at the ferry terminal redeveloped once the new jetty has been completed. However, that alone will not provide the parking required. I am currently seeking Council investigation to review and plan a strategy to resolve the parking issue on the islands. In my mind there are a number of ways to future proof the islands parking. These include acquisition of land for car parking within walking distance to the jetties, planning for future multi-level carparks on Macleay and Russell Islands and working with Translink for the provision of frequent bus transport that meets the ferry schedules and possible decentralised carparks with bus connection. This won’t be an easy task. However, an islands bus service must be considered in providing easy transit. INDUSTRY & COMMERCE: The Macleay Island industrial zone has had some challenges however it looks to be back on track and I anticipate it to move forward in the second half of this year. There are many other potential businesses that are seeking to establish new businesses on the islands and I will be seeking clearer Council guidance for people to understand the steps required to operate. SEWERAGE: This is an issue that will only grow as the islands population increases. That includes areas of Stradbroke Island and some mainland spots. I don’t expect any reticulated sewer within the next two years. However, planning needs to be done, even for alternate technology, to ensure continued safe, environmentally friendly waste disposal. FORSHORE EROSION: Council has identified and ranked foreshore erosion throughout Redlands and has been able to remediate a number of areas. Erosion control work will be undertaken on most of the islands over the next two years. It is a methodical process in terms of design and approvals. I will be seeking foreshore improvements for community use when these types of works are undertaken. Even though we live on islands, public water access is limited to only a few places. PARKS: A lot of planning has been undertaken by Council to ensure park upgrades and replacement of equipment is carried out in a timely manner. This work has already seen benefits to the islands and there are more parks that are in need of improvements. Foreshore parks with shoreline remediation and dingy stackers as well as opportunities to enlarge existing parks or provide new parks for the growing island community. COMMUNITY FACILITIES: The Council halls and venues on the islands are in continual demand and there is little flexibility to cater for new organisations and social groups. I will be seeking ways to provide additional buildings for use by the community. EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED: One thing I know is that community needs can rise unexpectedly. Priorities can change and I look forward to continuing to meet the challenges over the rest of this term. These issues are important to me and new challenges will always arise. So for the next two years there is a lot to progress and more to do in the following years.