2021: THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS; WAS IT THE QUICKEST YEAR EVER?
Who else thinks that the year 2021 has come and gone more quickly than previous years? Is it because we did it in Queensland mostly out of Covid lockdown? Who knows, but it sure feels to us at the FBIslander that the year has slipped away so fast. It has not been a year without change on our islands; we are being impacted by the huge growth in real estate pricing that is going on in Australia at the moment It seems the pandemic has made Australians think ‘differently’ and they are ‘on the move’. Most country areas and our islands are benefitting from a major demographic change. No more really cheap blocks of land and homes; islanders are finally getting a much fairer deal for land, homes and property. Whilst that is good thing for the property owner, it puts home ownership further out of reach for first home buyers. There are so many new faces on our islands it is hard to recognised anyone we know on our passenger ferries. Our barges are constantly full with new families moving here and trades flocking here to participate in the biggest building boom our islands have ever seen. We are also benefitting from increased investment in our road sealing program and the millions being spent by State Government and Redland City Council in the new jetties that are well on their way. If you happen to pass Russell Island on your passenger journey, it is there all to see with early work happening in building a new ‘temporary’ jetty access so the new structure can be put in place. We know the jetty floating pontoons are almost complete and by the end of the 2022 the majority of the new jetties should be in place and providing a new welcoming ‘upgrade’ for our islands. 2021 was a busy year with issues such as the ‘jetty’ protest on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerrabah) kicking off the year, and making the State Government sit up and take notice and promise a replacement. It also saw some fear and uncertainty about what was happening with the QYAC land on Straddie with no clear indication of any rules or regulations having to be followed in relation to development of that land. The Friendly Bay Islander was pleased to pressure the department involved and finally got a resolution that was previously unattainable; that any development on the land will be subject to council full building regulations! This year was also the year of the delayed Olympics and we got to watch our very own Mara Stransky compete for her country in Laser sailing, amazingly winning the very last race in her Olympics event. Details for two tourism resorts were announced for Russell Island and successful Spring and Lantern Festivals were held, despite another postponement for the SeaMarkets. 2021 was also significant for The Friendly Bay Islander because our October edition signified our 10th anniversary of providing informative information and significant stories about our island communities. The year will wind down with some terrific pre-Christmas Carols, Parades, Children’s Parties and Markets to enjoy, something still to look forward to. And roll on 2022!
TIME N TIDE DECEMBER SHOPPING CENTRE SOLD The Russell Island Shopping Centre has been sold for an undisclosed sum. The shopping centre went under the hammer at auction on Thursday 11th November 2021. It was held in the rooms of selling agent Colliers at 11.30am at Level 2, Circle on Caville 3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard | Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217. it is believed there were several interested parties, with the property ‘handed in’ following bids to $7 million. Negotiations continued for a number of days before a price was believed to have been accepted from one of the bidders. Ron Chandler from Colliers handled the sale. He told the Friendly Bay Islander that there was ‘considerable interest’ in the sale and several parties were in the final negotiations. The property was put up for sale by the Larkman Family and their company Canaipa Investments. CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL GOING TO BE GREAT! The Christmas Festival planned for the islands afternoon and evening Saturday the 11th of December, is getting bigger and better the closer we get to the event. It will be held on Russell Island in and around the Resilience Centre and Sporting Fields, the same location for the Lantern Festival. There will be performers, Christmas Carols, singers, food n fun, and the Hideaway markets. There may even be some of those wonderful Lanterns, but with a Christmas theme! The event is the concept of the very active BIMSARA group and have been joined by the Hideaway Markets for the occasion. The organisers are looking for ideas and participation, particularly from singers and performers. If you wish to know more please contact BIMSARA 0404 280 463 or Sandy Elliott re a market stall 0481 277 633. COUNCIL SUPPORTS SECRET SANTA APPEAL Redland City’s mainland libraries at Capalaba, Cleveland and Victoria Point are drop-off points for Secret Santa donations for vulnerable senior residents this Christmas. Mayor Karen Williams said Council was pleased to support STAR Community Services’ annual appeal for the third year. “Christmas is usually a time of joy but for many senior residents it can be one of the toughest times of the year, especially if they live alone or are isolated,” she said. Last year, thanks to the generosity of the community, more than 1000 gifts and 3700 food items were handed out to vulnerable seniors who live on their own. Donations of gifts suitable for people over 65 and non-perishable food items can be left in STAR donation tubs inside Capalaba, Cleveland and Victoria Point libraries during opening hours from 1 November until 20 December 2021. Suggested gift ideas include socks, coffee, towels, vouchers, pamper packs, hand cream, fruit cake, tea cups, crockery and household goods. COVID-safe plans are in place for the collection and distribution of donated items. The mainland libraries are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm. COUNCIL LAND AUCTION SALE Redland City Council went to put up nearly 20 blocks of land for sale for unpaid rates last month. However, as time got closer to the auction date, many land owners paid their outstanding rates, obviously influenced at the greater interest in land and property prices on our islands. By the tine of the auction, only four blocks went to auction. All sold within the price range $41k to $47k. The prices gained were reflective on the existing market prices on the Southern Bay Islands. COUNCIL TRAINING PROGRAM NATIONALLY RECOGNISED An Indigenous cultural awareness training program for Redland City Council employees is a finalist in a prestigious national award for excellence in corporate learning and development. Council’s Look, Listen, Understand education program for its employees was a finalist in the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) Excellence Awards. It was significant to learn that the program was awarded Best Diversity and Inclusion Program. Redland City Council was up against Origin Energy, Engineers Australia and Anneli Blundell (Women@Work) in the Best Diversity and Inclusion Program awards category. Whilst it was exciting for all involved to be a finalist, it was even better to win! COUNCIL ACTS TO LIGHTEN ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT Redland City Council is taking major steps to reduce its carbon footprint. A solar energy system installed at the Cleveland Aquatic Centre during its recent upgrade would soon be playing its part. The rooftop installation of 262 solar panels at the aquatic centre was part of approximately $1.3 million in upgrades which also included pool tile repairs and pool painting, switchboard and centre electrical upgrades, new non-slip concourse treatment, decking, shade sails, landscaping, fencing, signage, centre painting and new 50-metre pool heating, The solar panels at the Cleveland facility are expected to generate 159,005 kWh per year which, to put it in perspective, is enough to power more than 25 average households per year. The power generated by the panels will be used to power the entire centre and are expected to deliver a $22,000 per year saving on electricity for this facility.