Magnetic Island North Queensland
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April 25th 2012
Magnetic Island Council election candidates' Q&A (Part 3)

Magnetic Island is part of Division 3 for the Townsville City Council elections. In the last couple of weeks we have put a range of questions to each of the Division 3 candidates with some interesting comments from both the candidates and our readers. In our last of the series before the election, this Saturday, we explore what might happen if the Picnic Bay Waste Transfer Station location is rejected by the Commonwealth and again raise the need on Magnetic Island for a cyclone shelter. We also put an extra couple of questions to the Team Hill candidate, Vicki Salisbury, on a subject very dear to us - whether, as in the years under the Mooney-Hill Council, Magnetic Times and of course you, our readers, would again be denied all comment and press releases from Council.

Following is the Q & A:

The present Council is following through with assessments which will need to be approved under EPBC for the Cockle Bay Waste Transfer Station.  If TCC successfully negotiates this process and gains approval, would you support the eventual use of the whole block for light industry?

Vicki Salisbury: We would want to negotiate with locals regarding changing the designation on this site if the transfer station goes ahead.

Vern Veitch: No. Most of this block is virgin forest including threatened lowland ephemeral melaleuca swamp that needs to be protected.

Duncan Harrison: If anyone can find any light industry willing to locate near the Cockle Bay Waste Transfer Station, I would be willing to consider it. Light industry at or near the Cockle Bay Waste Transfer Station does not seem to me to be a likely prospect.

and, if the commonwealth reject the plan will you, if elected, proceed to follow the two independent consultants reports and locate the station at Picnic Bay(?) or, if not, where?

Vern Veitch: We need to consider whether we could purchase a barge and run a dedicated service back to the mainland with only organic wastes processed for recycling on the island. At the same time, island residents (including businesses) need to consider ways that they can reduce their wastes by doing such things as ensuring they transport the minimum amount of packaging to the island and ensuring that all their packaging is biodegradable or able to be reused on the island. This may sound idealistic but it also fits with the initiative to promote how sustainable Magnetic Island is. ERGON and the Solar City project have given Magnetic Island a major opportunity and the island community need to take every opportunity to compliment and build on the work that has already been done. Many businesses are already doing this but we can all do more.

Vicki Salisbury: We would need to go back to the drawing board

Duncan Harrison: If Cockle is rejected the only other suitable location is Young Bay.

Magnetic Times has for many years questioned politicians over support for the construction of a multi-purpose cyclone shelter on Magnetic Island. Such a building could serve many functions such as a community meeting centre, performance space and a relocated clinic. What kind of priority would you give for such a structure as Island Councillor given that there are no public buildings on Magnetic Island presently deemed safe enough as a storm shelter and effective/timely evacuation of the Island population is not possible?

Duncan Harrison:The, earlier suggested, hospital and nursing home could be included in a multi-purpose cyclone shelter. Another option would be a tunnel at 100 metres above mean sea level between Jean Street in Nelly Bay and McCabe Crescent Arcadia. Such a vehicle tunnel would be approximately 800 metres long. Any cyclone shelter must be well away from the seaside and well above a maximum storm surge. There is an urgent need for a tropical cyclone shelter on Magnetic and the money is there.

Vicki Salisbury: There is a proposal on the table to lobby the state government to build a multipurpose medical facility which would act as a cyclone shelter.  I would support and help to lobby the state government to build such a facility on the island, this sort of funding must be federal and or state based.

Vern Veitch: We will be lobbying the Queensland Government to build a new medical centre that is above the storm surge zone and is rated to withstand a Cat 5 cyclone. This need to be in Nelly Bay and a land study needs to be done to determine the best location. Both council and the state have land available that could be used but the centre also needs to be convenient to island residents and visitors and if that requires purchase of private land, then that will be put to the state government in very strong terms. Whist it is not feasible to build a shelter big enough to house the total population on the island, there needs to be a shelter for those that live in low lying or old buildings that are more at risk.
During the Mooney Council years and when Cr Hill was Deputy Mayor and Magnetic Island Councillor, Magnetic Times was effectively banned form all Council press releases and timely comment from councillors on issues we raised over a 5 year period.  Should we expect a return to this behaviour if Jenny Hill is elected as Mayor?

Vicki Salisbury: I would expect the same opportunity given to Magnetic Times as to all other media in the city.  In terms of  Jenny Hill she has assured me that all media outlets will have equal access
What guarantees does the community have that openness and access to normal council press releases, mayoral and councillor comment will be maintained in the same fashion as immediately established with the election of the current council?

Vicki Salisbury:The status quo should and would remain.

Story & questions: George Hirst

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

Magnetic Island Council election candidates' Q&A (Part 3)
Bill Nelson
April 25th 2012
Now that land valuations have fallen slightly should our rates follow? or will we cap at last year's or increase with CPI. Whichever the council is unlikely to reduce rates even though " the vg has nothing to do with rates " was put to us during the high VG increases and our rates are based on vg? It makes me wonder why council is not trusted by many ratepayers.
April 25th 2012
Magnetic Island Transport re-located from Bottiger Street to Kelly Street.
Magnetic Waste Management re-located from Horseshoe Bay to Kelly Street.
The most conspicuous Island mechanical garage, a melange of previous business experience, re-located from Picnic Bay to Kelly Street.
Island Engineering, a now-missed Island business was located in Kelly Street.
All of these businesses are classed as industrial and each is likely to be repeated over and over in the life of Magnetic Island. We all use and need them and their location is intimately tied to very limited available sites. There are probably a dozen others that belong in an industrial area but cannot or won't re-locate. Competition, seen by many as essential to a healthy capitalist economy, is impossible if available 'industrial' land is so limited as to be unobtainable. If the waste transfer station is located on a small portion of the 40 acre Council-owned block between the Golf Club and the Cockle Bay turn-off then it is almost inevitable that various other 'industrial' businesses, particularly of the storage, transport and engineering variety, will, over time, co-locate there - simply to save ratepayers from the outrageous costs (now over $8m) of setting up the transfer station there. The public study of the proposal (seemingly supported by all members of the current Council including the mayoral candidates) revealed that the budget for the station includes rebuilding the streets through Picnic Bay and past the Golf Club so that the traffic to the "Cockle Bay" site would not ruin the quiet ambiance of that part of Picnic Bay. All the current users of the Picnic Bay landfill site plus the new traffic generated in the transfer of all Island garbage and recycling to the mainland, will travel those streets.
Some locals believe that a new industrial area should/will eventually be created on the site of the old sewerage treatment plant at Kelly St (opposite the current industrial zone) but you'd have to wonder where the enormous dollars would come from if more than $8m will have already been spent ruining a perfectly undisturbed lowland woodland at "Cockle Bay".
I wonder why all these businesses and the waste transfer station itself could not be located on the currently Council-owned land at Kelly Street? With a suitable green belt buffer zone and a creative relationship with the new 'Can-do' Queensland Government, I can't see any downside to an industrial zone located so close to the barge terminal and all other essential transport services.
I think the land at "Cockle Bay" is far too important to the integrity of the Magnetic Island ecosystem to be interfered with and ultimately consumed by a tawdry political process as small-minded as the 'two mates and a dog' campaign currently running.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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The poll
Should Magnetic Island commission a sculpture to celebrate the achievements of Julian Assange?
98%       2%
Great idea No thanks

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