Magnetic Island North Queensland
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April 18th 2012
Magnetic Island council election candidates' Q&A (Part 2)

Cr Vern Veitch Magnetic Islanders will be voting for a new (Division 3) councillor and mayor in the upcoming Townsville City Council Elections on April 28. Last week, we published responses to two questions and on Monday reported on the mayoral candidates' response to Magnetic Island Nature Care’s call for a Townsville-wide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. Today we are publishing two more quetsions put to and responded by our council candidates.

Australian tourism and particularly on Magnetic Island is in severe stress due to the high Aussie dollar.  What support can you offer to struggle Island businesses facing this reality?

Harrison Duncan
I will:
*pay or help pay for an advertisment in the Australian Geographic magazine for Magnetic Island
*suggest a modest increase in Qld Transport’s ferry passenger subsidy
*urge special consideration for electric cars and small trucks on Magnetic Island
As solar powered ferries already exist, I urge TCC and the State to get a solar powered ferry between Ross Creek and Magnetic Island.

Vicki Salisbury
Cutting of red tape and assessment of charges to ensure businesses on Maggie remains competitive.

I have owned and managed my own galleries and business in regional/tourist communities so I understand the challenges facing small business on the Island. I will provide better support for the local tourism groups in a range of ways, such as improved promotional support that is linked into Townsville Council marketing activities.

As well as building on the many, great existing activities through partnerships and collaborations I will actively seek events and programs that could successfully be moved to the island. But so many of the public facilities on Maggie need attention, such as the roped off hole, that used to be a playground on Picnic Bay, the dangerous pot holes on the roads (some big enough to lose a car in), the refurbishment of the ferry terminal, the terrible state of the interpretive signage everywhere, on hiking trails and other points of interest, all should have been considered well before the Easter holidays. The  Island was not tourist ready. I will put a strategic action plan in place that prioritizes a proactive agenda to get things done according to the Island’s seasonal timetable.

Vern Veitch
The most important issue that council can assist with is to lobby marketing organisations to better showcase Magnetic Island as a destination. We can also encourage the Queensland Government to improve their subsidies for island businesses and subsidise tourists guests transport to and from the island.

Magnetic Island has seen many conflicts over coastal development.  At present the Radical Bay plan by Juniper is still in an appeal stage since the present council rejected the proposal.  Do you support Juniper's plan for a gated community at Radical Bay?

Vern Veitch
NO. I led the objections within council and will continue to do so. The best outcome for Radical Bay would be if it were purchased by the Queensland Government and declared a National Park with the bay set up as a camping grounds for casual visitors and just basic facilities.

Harrison Duncan
I do not favour a gated residential community at Radical Bay. I would much rather see the area as a Townsville City Park with camping available. There should be a proper road to Radical Bay with a proper walking track near the road.

Vicki salisbury
NO. The new council will continue its fight to stop Juniper, however this court action is based on an appeal against the conditions set by council not an outright rejection of the proposal hence should the developer accept these conditions or the court rule against council then the development can go ahead. The responsibility and cost of the road from Horseshoe Bay to the development was the only reason to reject the application.

Editor’s note: Vicki continued her answer with a request that I read the full report available on council’s web site (Click here).

My word was 'rejection' and, to correct this, I note that the minutes refer to a 'dismissal' and 'refusal' and notes that Council’s ‘refusal’ was based on their concern that the access track would not be built to council’s standards and that ratepayers would eventually be exposed to maintenance costs. ‘Outright rejection’, which Vicki implies as lacking, was surely not a viable response given the developer’s legal opportunities to challenge under the the Integrated Planning Act. Furthermore, it is interesting that this was a development strongly supported by the former Mooney Council under whom Vicki’s team leader, Jenny Hill, acted as Deputy Mayor and Magnetic Island councillor. In 2005 we reported, Juniper's joint managing director, Shaun Juniper telling Magnetic Times, "We have taken a strong partnership approach with Townsville City Council, which had already provided general accordance approval for the project,”’ (
Click here)

Story & photo: George Hirst

Magnetic Island council election candidates' Q&A (Part 2)
April 17th 2012
Vicky Salisbury's reference to the current official Council position on Radical Bay (p.38 of 106 pages in the download) demonstrates why there is so much confusion amongst the general public about what is happening there. Juniper has for several years held full all-government approval for a Sea Temple Resort development at Radical Bay (100+ units in about eight five storey buildings plus twelve big houses along the waterfront). Part of that 2005? approval is that they construct, at their expense, the 3 kms road and infrastructure trench along the alignment of the current privately-built track (not a legal "road") which would subsequently be handed to Council (ie. ratepayers). Juniper would rather not build that road (est. cost $9m) and now they no longer want a resort development either. They want to subdivide (by group title - like the Hideaway in Nelly Bay) into 24 lots and create a completely different gated residential community on the site. This is what the agenda item for the Council meeting actually said back then in March 2011:
"A Development Permit for Reconfiguring a Lot (Code Assessment) - 24 Group TitleLots on Lots 34, 129 and 130 EP 825, Lot 74 EP 2327 and Lot 192 EP 1237, Lot A and
B AP 11602 and Lots 6-10 AP 11603, situated at Radical Bay has been received fromApplicant/Owner: Juniper Property Holdings No. 7 Pty Ltd - RC08/0214 4201029 andhas been recommended for approval.
Officer's Recommendation >>
That council approve the application ........ subject to the following conditions:"

Remember, that was an agenda item for the meeting. The upshot was that Townsville Council rejected the (planning) "Officer's Recommendation" and did not approve the subdivision (reconfiguration) proposal. Since then, Juniper has begun proceedings to appeal that refusal. The court has not sat yet.
If ever the State buys out the developer (to add Radical Bay's 7 acres of freehold land to the surrounding National Park), I hope the QPWS can decide what should happen next, not some bunch of councillors with no mandate and nothing better to do.
Anyone who has an eye for financial and carbon austerity given Council's whopping deficit would avoid road building down there like the plague. Why can't a World Heritage "eco-tourism destination" like Magnetic Island have a world class eco-tourism WALKING trail to Radical Bay? If we get to keep bricks and mortar out of that place the last thing we need is a bloody road with bloody lazy tourists and even slacker locals demanding that their cars, buses, trucks, ambulances and police cars and the outrageous cost of upkeep is the most important priority for this community. Road access to Radical Bay is a zero priority UNLESS you want to build a resort there. Now who would want that?
Vern Veitch
April 19th 2012
Not sure who wrote the above comments but TCC no longer has a deficit. We inherited $56m in the first year but have got that to a small surplus this year.
We do have a debt as we borrowed to build sewage and water treatment plants that cost nearly $300m although these were partly subsidised by State and Commonwealth governments. We presently spend less than 6% of our total budget paying the interest and capital on our loans.
The most recent assessment of TCC’s finances and financial position is that we are rated above every other council in Queensland except Brisbane City Council which does not own or operate its water supply infrastructure and is many times larger than TCC.
As to the planning issue, council must have a legal reason to reject an application. This is rare but more commonly, conditions are placed on applications to minimise the environmental impact and costs to ratepayers.
I believe the best outcome for Radical Bay is what I said in the first place – for it to be bought by the Queensland Government and turned into a National Park with limited camping facilities to boost island tourism.
Vern Veitch
April 19th 2012
Thanks to Vern V. for clarifying Council's financial and planning situation. On the matter of the future 'use' of Radical Bay were it ever to be "...bought by the Queensland Government and turned into a National Park", the site still would not have legal road access. In such a situation I can't imagine Townsville Council, let alone ratepayers in general, ever being interested in investing the millions necessary to create a proper road with 21st century safety, environmental and other attributes - keeping in mind that the soon-to-be-built half kilometre boardwalk from Nelly Bay to Arcadia is costing around $5m and won't carry any cars, buses or trucks. Also, in the early 1990s when Florence Bay was added to the National Park, although it had once been a Scouts camping area the site was considered too vulnerable to fire and other damage to allow random camping down there. Considering the obvious environmental impacts of creating a proper legal road and probably some other amenities at Radical Bay, I can't see how Council let alone QPWS could promote the idea of developing camping facilities at such a remote and vulnerable site. Preventing vehicular access beyond Arthur Bay (where the one house is) would save the State, Commonwealth and local governments heaps of money, would save Magnetic Island's natural heritage heaps of aggravation and would create a golden opportunity for the Townsville and Queensland tourist industry to show what eco-tourism actually is.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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