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the Breeze

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Are we the only ones who think the year 2022 went by oh so fast, or is it just an ‘age thing’? From the islands’ point of view, the year has certainly been a busy and productive one. With record home and property sales, particularly early in the year, we have welcomed many new people to our islands. So prominent has it been, Russell Island has been recognised as the 7th fastest growing community in Queensland where the average price for a home now stands at $314,897, with the rest of the SMBI Islands not far behind. It was a blow from the Redland City Council budget that has seen the popular ‘green seal’ road program halt for a period. And it all has to do with considerable funding being spent in other areas, particularly the $43 million on four new island jetties, now in various stages of construction. A further$14 million was expended in the council budget for the islands; the highest ever, we are told. The Federal Elections saw a change of Government in Canberra, and it has played out significantly in other areas for our islands. The ever busy State MP Kim Richards helped ALP candidate Donisha Duff in her campaign and they promised big money to the Macleay Island Arts Complex Inc in their budget promises. Donisha Duff didn’t get elected, but the ALP came good with the election promise with $2 million announced for the new MIAC gallery and a further $40,000 for the very busy BIMSARA group. The seat of Bowman, against the national trend, was retained by the LNP with Henry Pike taking over from former representative Andrew Laming, who had some major personal victories of his own (in the courts) following some pretty torrid times. There were two significant blows to the islands when Division 5 councillor Mark Edwards announced he would not be standing at the 2024 council elections. The other major blow was the announcement by the plumbing section of Redland City Council to change the rules, without any consultation, when it comes to septic plumbing conditions for new island homes. They worked on the premise that all building applications on the islands are based on ‘false’ information, literally banning the use of rooms that are determined an ‘office’ or ‘media room’. They have theorised that we islanders were going to fill them by overcrowding with people, even though the average occupancy of the SMB islands homes is just 1.8 persons (avg). That issue has still not been resolved thanks to continuing stalling tactics from the council department in question. There was also the major clash with the Redland Council and the State Government on community planning that is still undecided;, but ‘politics’ had much to do with this. Our Mayor was in trouble and weathered a considerable political storm when she crashed her car when ‘under the influence’. Her effort, under immense pressure to resign, was determined, to say the least. There has been progress with both the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek PDA projects, with work now starting at Weinam Creek on the new road system. There has been some drama and issues around the island club industry, that seem to be impacted considerably by whoever is at the helm at the time. It was great to see the Russell Island RSL back up and running. We certainly hope it continues. Many were saddened to see the passing of Queen Elizabeth, with most of us having her as part of our family for all of our lives. Locally, the beloved Catholic priest Father Jim Brown finally called it a day and retired, and the community will be at a major loss. On a brighter note, it was great to see island successes such as Russell Island Olympian Mara Stransky continue on her winning way and announced as Australia’s top female sailor. There was also the success of the BIMSARA Lantern Festival and the successful Tide Festival, with a BIMSARA Christmas Festival still to come. Great efforts by the island communities, On another note, the Weather has always been a point of discussion. Lots of rain and storms, and a very slow start to summer on our islands!

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