January 15th 2010
Juniper respond to Radical questions
The prospect of Magnetic Island's second gated residential development, this one at Radical Bay, took another step forward in the days before Christmas, when developer, Juniper Property Holdings, submitted a revised plan and its response to questions about the proposed subdivision that were raised in December 2008 by Townsville City Council and state government departments.
Arguing that Radical Bay has a history of urban use stretching back to 1922, Juniper, in its revised proposal, retains its plan to subdivide the freehold land into 24 residential blocks, although the blocks are smaller than originally planned - ranging from 587 to 854 sq. m, with an average of 705 sq.m, and the most common size being 653 sq.m. Buildings on four of the 24 blocks (including that set aside for the caretaker's dwelling) will need to be on stilts or poles in order not to effect groundwater recharge. Fitting this number of blocks of this size onto the freehold land available would appear to be possible only if the setback from the national park and USL is less than the 50 m required by the state.
For a high resolution image of the
proposed development (click here) Ed.
For a high resolution survey image
of the site (click here) Ed.
Many of the questions asked by TCC and what is now the Department of Environment and Resources Management (DERM) related to the clearance of vegetation, particularly of remnant vegetation and vegetation likely to require approval before clearing (‘assessable’ vegetation), and of vegetation within 25 m of the creek that runs around the back and eastern side of the subdivision. However, Juniper points out that there is no vegetation - and definitely no assessable vegetation - within the development site. This may come as a surprise to readers who have not been down to Radical Bay for a while and who remember the area as being fairly well treed. In the past few years, as before and after photos show, almost all of the vegetation in the flat area of the bay behind the beach has gone.
Magnetic Times looked at the clearing issues back in 2006 (click here) and made the following before and after panoramas to illustrate the extent of clearing.
Radical Bay 2002Radical Bay 2006
TCC also expressed concern about the original plan to construct a boardwalk public access track on the eastern extreme of the development, the location of the ephemeral creek. In the revised plans, Juniper proposes relocating the public access track to the western edge of the development site. Members of the public would, thus, access Radical Bay beach by way of a 500 metre walking track winding its way from the carpark – located inland of the development – and around the western (Balding Bay) side of the subdivision. Other access points would be via the Horseshoe Bay/Balding Bay walking track or from the water.
Despite their proximity to the water, Juniper states that all the residential blocks would be outside the current erosion prone area – set by the Beach Protection Authority as 60 metres inland from the toe of the foredune, and that this distance means that residential lots would be outside the area likely to be affected by tides associated with a one in one hundred year cyclone event and by climate change.
To ensure that the appearance of the development and its management meets the requirements and Desired Environmental Outcomes of TCC's City Plan, a series of regulations would be established under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
These regulations would relate to matters including: building style and pet management. It is proposed to bar cats entirely while dogs under 10kgs are permitted but must be controlled by a lead. Turtle-friendly lighting is also proposed. While such approaches seem laudable the ongoing evidence of dog owners flouting such laws across the public lands of the Island suggest little will be different at Radical. As with all such means of regulation, compliance is controlled by the body corporate or its agent and changes are determined by the members of the body corporate, the block owners.
The issue of road access to the development site is a complex one. Permits to Occupy provided earlier in order for Juniper to progress an approved plan for a tourist resort at Radical Bay are understood to be tied to that development and to be not transferable. Earlier designs for the upgrade of the road for the tourist resort were approved by the then City Council. Whether or not such approval would be forthcoming for the revised approval is unclear. TCC's earlier approval of the road upgrade designs was conditional upon Council not having to provide the subdivision with a garbage service. On the assumption that permission to use and upgrade the road eventuates but that no garbage service will be provided by Council, Juniper proposes to transport bins from the proposed subdivision to a site agreed with the waste contractors. Currently, this is expected to be the intersection of the Radical Bay track and Horseshoe Bay road, presumably in the vicinity of what is known as the Forts car park.
Current conceptual plans for sewage disposal at the subdivision indicate that sewage will be pumped from the site via a rising main following the track out of Radical Bay. How far this Juniper-financed main will go along the route to the wastewater treatment plant at the far southwestern corner of Horseshoe Bay is not mentioned.
The proposal currently before Council sees the road to Radical Bay being upgraded by Juniper. Remaining in essentially the same place, it would be widened from its current 4.5 m to 6 m, and services (water, electricity, sewerage etc) would be located within a 20 m road reserve.
Once upgraded, Juniper would seek to have the road gazetted. As a gazetted road it would be the responsibility of the Council. Juniper sees its upgrading of the road as being a benefit to the community - and this, along with its proposed upgrading of the public car park on the landward side of the development, its contribution to a public access track to the beach and vegetation upgrade on the esplanade, is seen as justification for not providing public open space within its proposal.
Overall, Juniper alleges that any negative environmental impact of its new proposal that cannot be avoided or mitigated could be managed appropriately, but acknowledges that it will need to be submitted to the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) for consideration.
Story and photos: George Hirst
Site plans and survey map supplied courtesy of MacDonnells Law (representing Juniper)
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