March 10th 2011
Council saves Radical for the public
A plan to create an exclusive 24-lot gated community at Magnetic Island’s Radical Bay was knocked back by Townsville’s Planning and Economic Development Committee today because it restricted public access to the beach.
Committee chairman Cr David Crisafulli said while developer Juniper Property Holdings had met an array of strict conditions and criteria for construction on the site, councillors had rejected the proposal over public access issues to the bay’s foreshore.
“Today’s decision is about ensuring the best outcome for the site and for the community,” Cr Crisafulli said.
“The developer has already come a long way in the presentation of this proposal today and has addressed significant heritage and environmental concerns associated with developing this site but the plan to make it a gated community is a major sticking point.
“People live on and visit Magnetic Island for the beautiful natural attractions and Radical Bay is certainly up there among the best. The last thing we want to see is local residents unable to make full use of such an asset.
“The door has been left open for the developer on this one to come back with a revised concept.”
The proposal includes provision to create 24 group title, mixed residential allotments ranging in size from 587sqm to 854sqm. The developer plans to gate the community at the junction of the site on the Radical Bay Road. Public access to the beach would be provided via a 500 metre walking path winding its way from the carpark around the western (Balding Bay) side of the subdivision.
Magnetic Island councillor Trevor Roberts said the site had first been developed for tourist accommodation in the 1960s and had current planning approval for a tourist resort of more than 250 rooms.
“I expect that today’s decision as well as the development concept itself will receive a lot of attention given the site’s unique location within a World Heritage area and the desire by many to see the area preserved for the future,” Cr Roberts said.
Radical Bay has been the site of protests against the development since Junipers first acquired the land in 2002. In the time since the beach has been subject to a number of severe storms and king tides. Following Cyclone Yasi the beach has been pushed well back into what would be the Erosion Prone Area - a buffer strip of land between the development and the beach.
The above image is an overlay of two photos comparing the changes to the beach. The red line outlines, approximately, the line of vegetation which was still present following the king tides in early 2010. The current (darker) line of vegetation, now many metres inland, is from a photo following Cyclone Yasi. Note that due to low resolution the red text is hard to read but refers to a small tree relocated by Cyclone Yasi. Ed.
Last year Magnetic Times published a story about the importance of this strip and how it's width and location, as sought by Junipers in their recent application, was at odds (closer to the ocean) with the position determined by consultants it had previously commissioned to determine the position (read here). Council's decision on this matter was, however, based on advice from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).
“Proposed development on this site has taken on many forms over the years but I believe private residential is the best way to go here. The developer has taken care to address concerns including vegetation, drainage and in particular maintenance of the road and has shown a willingness to work to the interests of the local community, but public access to the bay should be non negotiable.”
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