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A young koala's beach adventure

January 23rd 2009
A Radical scenario

Pumice outlines the inland movement of the storm tide There has been little heard or reported recently about the future of Juniper's Radical Bay development and, with a world economic crisis growing ever more perilous, perhaps it is little wonder. What has been learned however is that the original plan, for 98 units and 12 houses with a large lagoon swimming pool, is now out the window with a, very different, 24 house block, subdivision in the offing.

The new plan was lodged with Council on November 14 last year but has yet to be presented to Council.

According to, Deputy Mayor, David Crisafulli, "TCC won't consider any application that compromises public access to the beach."

Magnetic Times has sighted what is thought to be a concept plan of the proposal which includes a main access street branching off into two roughly parallel cross streets servicing the residential blocks which range in size from 1203m squared down to 600m squared.

A narrow "common pedestrian access" walkway extends from the intersection of the main access street with the closest street to the beach. It isn't clear from the plans if the general public would be free to enter the "private common property" as the development area is designated but, with a small carpark outside the entrance and the "future board walk access" running around the development site's perimeter, it seems that the expectation by Juniper is to redirect the public via this route as was part of the previous development plan.

But, following the king tide and storm earlier this month, the possibility of future storm flooding in low-lying areas has presented a challenge that both the Deputy Mayor and Councillor Vern Veitch are acutely aware of.

The Councillors visited Radical Bay last week after the storm and witnessed what Magnetic Times has since documented. The frontal dune at Radical was overtopped extensively along the length of the beach. In at least one area near the centre of the beach the storm-washed pumice line was over ten metres beyond the dune's peak. This small dune slopes gently downwards, inland, before the land rises gradually behind it.

Last year, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal knocked back a development in Gippsland due to the unacceptable risk of rising sea levels.

Whether Radical Bay fits with this scenario is not known but Cr Crisafulli told Magnetic Times, "We need to set standards that are stringent enough to weather such storms and they may come at great cost to developers," adding, "Every council across the country is assessing this with fresh eyes."

The message was elaborated further by Cr Vern Veitch who didn't wish to speak about the Radical development specifically, but said, "We have to be really careful about where we allow residential development in light of the storm. Over the next decade extreme events will become the norm. That storm produced an 80cm storm surge on top of a 3.8metre tide. The highest Astronomical High Tide (AHT) is 4.1metres and this storm was not as big as we could expect with a cyclone storm surge."

Magnetic Times sought comment from Juniper but their Radical Bay spokesperson was unavailable.

A local real estate agent, Ian Ivers, who had met with Juniper representatives in August last year was expecting, "to get direction" in October but has heard no more from the developer.

Following are a series of photos indicating the distance the storm pushed water inland.

The yellow arrow indicates the edge of the pumice line
which was pushed over the dune by the storm.

The dune front was battered by the storm and
the pumice pushed inland to the yellow arrow.

A view approximately level with the top of the first dune
which shows the relatively level topography beyond.

The dune was breached in many locations along the beach.

Damage to trees on the dune

Story & photos: George Hirst

Attention Magnetic Times News Club readers. Many News Club readers are presently experiencing repeated emailed alerts to our stories in their in-trays. This is a problem with our server which we are presently working to resolve. In the meantime we hope that you will accept our apologies for this annoying glitch. Ed.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

A Radical scenario
January 23rd 2009

Can anyone add to this comment and take it as far as possible ?

Radical Bay

"I wondered at its beauty as I gazed upon this place but now alas, too late, to walk across the sand"
January 24th 2009
Good news that the original development was scrapped. Lets hope and pray that any last remaining plans will also end up on the Scrapheap!

The beauty of Magnetic Island is in the very fact that it has so many unspoilt and undeveloped bays and beaches. People who visit the island always say that they love this aspect of the island. Development in a new bay would be gross misjudgement and incredibly damaging to the island's already fragile eco-system. A few extra holiday homes is NOT going to bring more tourism and extra money to the Island, have 'Junipers' developers learnt nothing from the misguided monstrosities of Peppers and Mantra?

Let the visitors who want concrete pavements, fish and chips, pubs and playgrounds, let them have their Horseshoe Bay - but I BEG YOU, Junipers, to not try and make Radical Bay into another version of Hoseshoe Bay.

Visitors and Locals alike love Radical Bay (and that stretch of Florence, Arthur, Balding etc) precisely because of its unspoilt and uncrowded quality. It's where you can 'escape' to for a bit of peace and quiet, seclusion, a part of the island that isn't littered with empty beer cans, ice-cream wrappers, half-eaten burgers etc.

I will be devastated if 5 years from now I take a trip to radical bay and find traffic jams, tacky souvenir shops, a FoodWorks, and numerous architectually challenged 'holiday units'. If Junipers really are stupid enough to build a development here, then I'll be praying everyday for a cyclone + king tide to bash it to smithereens!

Australia's precious natural beauty is in danger of being irreversibly damaged by the likes of Junipers, and the developers who built Peppers and Mantra etc. Wise-up, Junipers, massive concrete developments are so last century, when are they going to see that the way forward is low-impact, small-scale, eco-friendly developements that nestle comfortably amongst the natural habitat, (rather than bulldoze over it and pour tonnes and tonnes of concrete only to create a brash Alcatraz style monstrosity and sending the wildlife running for the hills). (abridged Ed)
January 24th 2009
Part of the perversity of our 21st century society is that developments such as that proposed by Junipers at Radical (and others at multiple, numerous places along the eastern seaboard) have been under huge demand from normal, regular, environmentally sensitive Australians, particularly so-called 'baby boomers', for the last 20 years. The demand has been so unremitting, politically supported and financially rewarding that it has just not been possible for local and even state governments to restrict it to that which, as 'liz' describes it, is "low-impact, small-scale, eco-friendly developments that nestle comfortably amongst the natural habitat".
The problem unfortunately liz, lies with us punters, not the developers. We instantgratificationistas demand the mega complexes, we buy and pay for them (as our "superannuation" or our childrens' inheritances) and although we sometimes express our self-disgust we just don't seem to be able to stop ourselves from doing it.
Of course we could change our ways. We could ONLY walk to Radical Bay (the "road" is not a legal road and is not Council's responsibility at all). We could ask Townsville Council not to roll over if Junipers ask (as they have before) for special consideration. We could demand some accountability of our state politicians BEFORE the soon-to-be-announced election and actually act on their responses. We could even ask the Federal Minister for the Environment to wield his EPBC Act stick as only he can if he wants to.
In the end it's up to us. If we want Esplanade, Pacific Drive or Marine Parade etc. in our home address we're asking for someone to allow further development right on the beachfront where previous generations have already divvied up the land and prepared it for this moment. And soon we'll want 'the government' to put up a rockwall to protect our investment from the rising tides which on most, though not all, estimations, we are causing through our over-consumption. Ho hum.
Margaret Sewell
January 24th 2009
For over 30 years Radical Bay has been my favourite place on Maggie. I was delighted when the previous development plans were scrapped.Please you lucky island livers, don't let another Bright Point happen to our beloved Radical
January 25th 2009
Just to add some endnotes to Chasmac's 'spot on' observations might I suggest that it would prove instructive (code for let me appeal to your hip-pocket) for all those who have so atavistically supported this particular type of developer rapacity that, when the costs are added up at the end of the day, guess who ends up carrying the can?
Yep. The good old ratepayer including the ardent supporters.
Not to say the very island and its natural values but that is quite a topic of its own.
Stop and seriously think it through, calmly and rationally.
Politicians and compliant bureaucrats are but part of the problem.
While so ever those amongst us chase the 'bling', manifest as the material here and now, with scant regard to cause and effect let alone moderation then the ugly dark side will return to haunt.
Because we have encouraged these developer merchants of the banal and gross.
And as always, confronted with the brutal, after the fact, reality the emerging litany of complaint is tantamount to farting in thunder.
And those who have profited - the sellers of these dreams and attendant wealth creating nostrums - have moved on leaving in their wake a shattered legacy.
Amongst whom will be residents (rate and tax payers) who will foot the consequences.
And of course, more importantly, a trashed island aesthetic and environment.
It ain't rocket science especially when such dreamscapes - witness the NBH surrounds alone -litter the island.
And in an island context - talk of 'killing the goose...' etc etc.
That is not sermonising, it is a simple statement of fact.
Empirical evidence litters the countryside attesting to this.
Real quality of life, including the more self evident material aspects, need not be compromised. But rather tempered in reality.
And the wearing of a hair-shirt need not be part of that equation.
But a little considered introspection - you can't take it with you after all - is all that is called for.
So, how many of you will place your cajones on the table and demonstrate to your 3 tiers of government that it ain't on?

Trash the RB proposal and get that accountability - not as election promise but as an action - now - perhaps even as early as the much vaunted Community Cabinet (QState Gov) public meeting in Tsv 1-2 February 09.

The State via the Feds can do it as can TCC via the State.

Or maybe its easier to simply withdraw to your flat screen, home entertainment, womb being deluged by dross, drivel and buy more attention spans.
You are right - some of us are pretty bitter about the non-thinking denominator.

January 25th 2009
Chasmac, I agree with you in that part of the problem is 'us' the consumer. As we live in a society in which we are encouraged to consume, consume, consume vociferously without so much as a thought for who made our shoes (3rd world child labour) or where are our eggs come from (battery farm chickens)or how the holiday unit we stay might have impacted the environment (more traffic, more roadkill, loss of habitat for wildlife, more litter, etc etc)

I think, as you say, that is a major perversity of 21st century consumerist society. Luckily, may people are waking up to this and are beginning to take a more ethical and responsible approach to their consumption, for example, I myself make sure that I don't buy 'cheap' imported goods that were made in China/India etc, I would rather pay more but have a cleaner conscience. Also, I make sure to buy fairtrade, organic and free-range products when possible. And if I take a holiday, I would much rather stay in a more small scale and eco-friendly accommodation that doesn't interfere too much with it's natural habitat and where animals or birds that sneakily pay a visit to your living room are seen as more of a joy than a nuisance. (Oh how I laughed when I saw guests at Peppers Resort freaking out because a possum was crawling under their table!!! Hilarious!!!)

Perhaps whats needed is education and awareness on the part of the general public, but more than that, maybe part of the problem is that we HAVE the choice, we have too much choice. Maybe the onus IS therefore on developers, supermarkets, retailers, to NOT give us that choice. It sounds radical but its alrady happening, for example, there are supermarkets which will only stock NON-GM food, or NON-BATTERY FARM eggs, there are shops that sell ONLY fairtrade produce, or ONLY organic. And I say its a step forward for society, that companies are starting to realise that taking an ethical approach to their business will benefit society in the long run.

So, in my opinion, of course I am not against development per se, nor change in and of itself, but the way in which it is done and the environmental implications must be scrutinised. I also think that yet another "Identikit" Resort is not bringing anything new to the Island. Maybe there's a market for them down in Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast but Maggie Island is a different ballgame. Clever developers could look at the success of various eco-resorts near Daintree etc, and all over the world, to offer something that is in keeping with the landscape and attract a new type of market to the Island. At the end of the day, tourists who want Identikit Holiday Units will inevitably end up in Port Douglas or Sunshine Coast.

So perhaps
January 27th 2009
I'm sorry, liz, but I don't think ".....Maggie Island is a different ballgame..." from Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast (or anywhere else on the east coast), when it comes to demand from investors for subdivided freehold land with all the services laid on ready for residential construction. There might be one important difference with Radical Bay though. That approved site in that bay has no 'legal' road access. Every development approval in the last twenty years has contained as its number one item a condition of constructing a road and (more recently) 'infrastructure corridor' along the (approx) 3 kms route of the current "track" from the turnoff.
In my view, the Townsville Council should not even begin to entertain a subdivision application from Junipers until that infrastructure corridor (road, water, power, sewerage, communications) has been constructed and opened in accordance with the commitment of the developer about 4 years ago. And frankly, I don't believe the flimsy sketches which once sufficed for plans of the "road" should ever be approved as plans. But if the punters demand it, you can be sure there will be legal mechanisms contrived for it.
Peter Francis Hughes
January 27th 2009
When developers become ecologists and environmentalists we may see a better result for the environment. Magnetic Island was once a place where like minded people lived. I also remember the same on the Great Ocean Road where I live and work now. However, some people believe their creations can always be better than that created by nature.
It is impossible to do anything at Radical Bay without destroying what is there now.
The developers will get what they want, and Magnetic Island will lose what it has.
Peter F. Hughes
Geelong, Vic
February 3rd 2009
It's interesting that the undermining of some trees and a ledge in the sand at the top of the Radical Bay beach is almost exactly copied at the western (far) end of Horseshoe Bay beach. 28/1.
February 3rd 2009
If people want to keep RADICAL BAY AS IY IS they can go and buy it.It is private property so how would you like it if people walked and drove all over your property and told you what to do on it.
February 4th 2009
Steady up BBH. Only a portion of Radical Bay is "private property" - as you know full well. The entire beach and foreshore and all the headlands on both sides are public land - national park in fact. Also the track in and all of Florence Bay is national park. And the cleared path to the Radical Bay beach down the right hand (eastern) side is entirely public land and no one, not even Mr Juniper himself, can prevent any person from accessing this pathway and the entire beach area day and night, 24/7.
February 8th 2009
Why is is at all necessary to develop Radical Bay when I hear from tourists how beautiful it is and how they can't wait to get back here year after year for its secluded beauty. Why, when there are such a plethora of empty holiday apartments and houses dotted all over this great island already, is it necessary to destroy sone of the very few places in Australia that offers such seclusion?! Can't we have anywhere that isn't destroyed by man? Privately Owned or not, it should e retained as one of the few places for reprieve from mainland style life!
Guy Tickle
February 13th 2009
Radical. A very special place in a lot of peoples hearts. Driving down to Radical on a road that has been temporarily repaired by Juniper Developments because only a couple of years ago it was hard enough to get down there in a 4WD let only how dangerous it was to walk. This road bypasses Florence Bay which we also can thank Juniper's in giving us far better access to. Then we arrive at Radical Bay which the Private Property was fenced until vandals destroyed it. Nevertheless we drive on down disregarding private property down to the beach. Now without a road none of this could happen and the property is not the eyesore it was with the delapidated old buildings that where there and a lot less dangerous.
If you choose to walk to Radical either via Horseshoe Bay or a leisurely stroll down from the Forts Car park, access to Radical Bay beach will stay on the eastern end of the beach.
February 11th 2009
I'm sure we all agree we don't want our beautiful Island bays spoiled like Nelly Bay with the monstrosities there.If you look at other Islands like Russal Island and Bribie Island down south that have totally been destroyed by developers, that will be the future for our beautiful Maggie Island if this goes ahead. As Islanders i think we need to make a stand. It seems to me that money always talk's, Radical Bay should never have been up for sale in the first place, do all our Bays have a price tag?????.We live in paradice lets keep it that way.
February 16th 2009
Every time you drive a car to Radical Bay you pave the way for the next load of tar and cement. Your car doesn't need it. You don't want it. But still you keep doing it. If you don't want Radical Bay developed, don't drive there. Tell your friends. If they really love Radical Bay, just don't drive there. They won't have to thank Junipers for anything (or nothing). Just don't drive there. Ever.
February 16th 2009
People can complain all they like. Thats what this website exists for doesn't it?

When Juniper bought the Radical Bay property it had 8 dilapidated (but repairable) buildings with bathrooms - some also had kitchens. And don't forget the awesome large central covered Samoan style meeting house. The under cover pool was a bonus for summer.

Sale price was about 1.2 million. About $150,000 per beach house.

If we had put our money where our mouths are we could have put together a group - say 8 participants - and bought the property and had a home each.

But we did not.

February 20th 2009
Not true Realist. The 'resort' was condemned, the kitchens closed for public health reasons and apart from a detached house in which a 'caretaker' lived, no other part could legally be occupied. There was no proper water supply, no legal road access and a sewerage system that challenged even the most colourful imagination.
The site was sold for its development approval - a very dodgy piece of paperwork which only lawyers were game to handle. No demolition or construction could take place without serious local government intervention (don't ask about asbestos) and any new 'resident' would have to undertake the construction of about 3 kms of road access, at their own expense, before they could embark on any improvements.
If we had put our money where our mouths are we would be sitting on the bones of our arses about halfway down the track into Florence Bay wondering why the Queensland Government ever allowed Bob Wake to build a track to Radical in such a stupid amateurish location. But, as Joh Bjelke Peterson would have said at the time (1974 I think), "don't you worry about that".
February 22nd 2009
Charlie, I agree with you about the original development in the 1960s but you ignore a fundamental principle that the land was privately owned when Junipers bought it and had previously approved toilets etc which would have been renovated at the same time we reno
April 13th 2009
Does Magnetic Times now CENSOR its contributors if the contributors comments do not agree with Chasmac - the Moderator of comments?

Most of my comments above have been deleted - especially the comments that expose Charlie's myth.

I hope it is some bug in the system since the new display format has been released as the comments stood for months complete.

Will they be reinstated or do I have to send them (stored in a word doc) to The Bulletin? I am sure they would love a story of censorship on the site

I would prefer the comments just be reinstated in this forum as I like the website and am not keen on Murdochism
George Hirst
April 13th 2009
Hi Realist, No your comments have definitely not been censored. You were right that the comments disappeared as we took on a newer display format. Unfortunately we have had a number of problems as a result of our changing server whose system will ultimatley offer Magnetic Times better technical possibilities but, during the transfer, there have been several glitches involving comments and some other functions. These are being worked on by our webmaster and I hope to see the system fully back in the near future. Feel free to resend me any comments and, preferably with their dates included, in case I need to manually reinstate them .

I should add that Chasmac, the most frequent and enthusiastic member of our commentariat, is simply that and no more. I'm glad that you do however like the site and are keen to keep alive a small but vibrant corner of local press and one that actually beat Murdoch into online news publishing in North Queensland. George Hirst Ed.

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