LOOKING AT THE YEAR AHEAD: 2023 WILL SEE SOME MILESTONES REACHED! What can the islands look forward to in 2023? Nothing jumps out at us this year, because it will be a year when projects already underway, will come to a conclusion. It seems for the past year it has been all about ‘the jetties’, and 2023 will be more of the same. Record funds have come to the islands this financial year, specifically for the building of the four new jetty terminals on Karragarra, Macleay, Lamb and Russell Island. In many ways it has seemed like the long, slow build, with the new floating pontoons already in place on Russell and Macleay Islands, with Lamb and Karragarra soon to get theirs. Whatever way it goes, the project will be completed this year with some added benefits by way of utilising the old jetties into fishing and visiting craft facilities. The $43 million expended jointly by the State Government and Redland City Council occurred at the expense of other popular programs. One of these was the Green Seal road sealing that has been gaining momentum until the last council budget. It is hoped (and expected) that this program will be up and running again in the 2023/24 budget! We know that Cr Mark Edwards has announced his intention not to stand at the next scheduled Local Government election in 2024, so watch for some manoeuvrings in this regard this year by some protagonists. Finding a replacement of Cr Edwards knowledge and standing, could prove difficult indeed. A plus this year, is the $2 million Federal Government funding for the new headquarters for the Macleay Island Arts Complex Inc. We are yet to find out exactly how that will happen, but it will almost certainly be required to happen this year. It is also ‘hoped’ final lease approvals will happen for the Botanical Gardens project. It is another one that has been a long time coming! There are changes in the air for island organisations including BIMSARA and Bay Islands Community Centre. We shall watch any movements with those organisations with some interest. Things at Weinam Creek are certainly hotting up, with work about to start on the new road system that will prevail in the PDA precinct. The satellite hospital in the precinct is progressing with haste, and expect a mid-year completion of that project. SeaLink have also started their $17 million construction of their new headquarters, at the other end of the PDA area (currently where the barges to the SMB Island currently load) Toondah Harbour is in its last throes of approvals, it would seem, but will it progress to a start of the project? Surely it has gone through the most extensive of preparations! Applications for building and development on our group of islands continues to grow, despite whatever else is happening in the rest of Australia. The majority of new residents are making a difference, with a huge demographic metamorphosis underway.