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March 10th 2011
Council saves Radical for the public

Radical Bay beach is also shifting inland 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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Council saves Radical for the public
 
14 comments
 
edwina
March 9th 2011
great news
 
Mal
March 9th 2011
A small victory for Radical Bay but it's not over yet. "The door has been left open for the developer..." (from the above report).

The Radical Bay access track (not a gazetted road) is too steep for garbage trucks. Any "concept" that goes ahead there will necessitate a garbage depot at the turnoff where people get off the bus or park their cars to take the forts walk. Is this a good thing?

It's time to wake up and smell the garbage.

Added to this is the infrastructure cost and disturbance of connecting the site to utilities like water, power, phone (NBN) and sewage. Only squillionaires will afford to buy land at Radical Bay. Then of course they will want their pets to live with them, surrounded by World Heritage national park and Marine Park green zone, full of rare and endangered species for their cats and dogs to hunt.

Not that it matters, apparently when there's money to be made.
 
chasmac
March 9th 2011
The last paragraph in this article, which I think is a quote from Councillor Trevor Roberts, suggests that our Council will be happy with Juniper's proposal to "maintain the road". In fact it makes no reference to what road that will be, who will build it and who will ultimately be responsible for maintenance and upkeep. As I understand it, once a road has been constructed (to what standard or extent has never been revealed) Townsville ratepayers will own the road and it will be maintained and in particular upgraded, by us at our expense. Some transparency in this matter from TCC would be appreciated.
At the moment it looks like all Junipers have to do is not swing the gate and everything can go ahead as planned. The road and its steepness, ill-design, outrageous maintenance costs and ugly scarring intrusiveness, is no concern of Junipers, Council or the State government and very soon we'll hear that Islanders are equally enamoured with the thing because they'll all want to drive cars to the car park to show their friends the new millionaires-row subdivision. They won't be able to go inside of course and it will be a long walk to the beach with it's remnant of eroded Esplanade maintained by hike-in Council workers, but hey, it will still be paradise...... just a bit lost.
 
Lea
March 10th 2011
No way can Radical Bay be gated to exclude the general publis - Islanders or drive-yourself-visitors. I don't think any Australian coastline should be allowed to be private property. I'm not against development there - the The Precedent was set all those years ago - and we loved driving down for a swim and lovely meal among the palm trees and peacocks - remember them and their noise !!

Let there be a development, which incorporates parking for day visitors and easy, close access to the beach.

The garbage being left at the top of the road concerns me - it would have to be well done to keep in with the Island lifestyle.

Pets such as cats could only be allowed if they were restricted to call runs ALL day.

Best wishes
 
Wendy Tubman
March 10th 2011
Charlie - at least TCC has (thanks Councillors) excluded the possibility of a gated community, so a visit to Radical, with or without visitors, would mean that all could have a good gawk. I guess that somewhere there may be mugs wanting to fork out a mill or more for a very small (587sqm) block of land overly close to the water, staring cyclones and eroding shorelines in the face and with one road in and out (except, of course, after storms when it's likely to be cut), and being stared at by all and sundry – but they really would need to be mugs, wouldn't they?

As I understand it, when making its decision, TCC did not take into account the extent to which the proposed blocks would be in the buffer between the blocks and the sea - the 'erosion prone area' (that's the official one, not the one determined by the developers) - on the basis that this was a matter for consideration at the state level. My concern is, where will we ratepayers (and/or taxpayers) be when we have to pick up the tab for damage done by natural disasters or the encroaching sea at Radical? About where we are with respect to Nelly Bay beach after the Harbour project, I predict - out of pocket. And this time, just for 24 rich folks.
 
Scott
March 10th 2011
Smells of an ambit claim,and that TCC will likely approve after a little tweaking.This sort of development could be pasted down in many already developed parts of Maggie,not in this very special and totally unspoilt place,i would often comment to visitors that radical and Boulder are so unspoilt that you almost might expect to see a terradactyl flying overhead,of course even with the best camouflage, pools,paths,gates and concrete are hard to disguise,this is worse than allowing that Arthur bay house long ago,that's a great example of how this may play out ,the local walks down his private walkway to the beach,the rest of us wade through the creek and over collapsing concrete.This development would be hideous and turn many people away from what is still the natural beauty of Maggie,unlike many areas in QLD which have been ruined by massive over-development.Perhaps most people want condos and glitz,not me.
I know I am not alone with feeling this way,protest now,I smell a rat with this partial back down.
 
nev grimshaw
March 10th 2011
It is about time Juniper got real about Radical.Being one of the outstanding gems of MI
a Juniper should maintain the track in for all including the mokes.
b Realise that beach access to all, and of course their vehicles is a prime requirement and not subject to compromise.
c Then they can plan a subdivision to please themselves.
The high cost of re aligning the road in to accommodate rubbish, concrete and other heavy vehicles whilst not interupting public access plus provision of all services including the NBN through Telstra's pipes makes the project a dreamland blue sky financially viable project, and hopefully with a pub in their plans then I would wish them well.
 
chasmac
March 10th 2011
Nev Grimshaw, the road alignment, which was fixed by survey in this childishly naive and ignorant location by the Goss government in the early 1990s as a sop to the then-owners, cannot be changed in any way without intruding into the Magnetic Island National Park - surely there is some limit to public largesse for speculative developers? If a massive excavation was required to widen, straighten, level, flatten or deviate the road to make it two lane, all weather, pedestrian-friendly and capable of access by half-heavy vehicles (eg. concrete mixer, Council maintenance, removals trucks), the scarring and other visual, environmental and aesthetic impacts could not be justified simply for the benefit of a single developer and a handful of multi-millionaire beneficiaries. I am certain that the Federal Government would take a strong interest in the impacts on its World Heritage property through the EPBC Act - regardless of the crap you can read in the Magnetic Community News.
Please tell me that it is not necessary to provide a road to Radical Bay just so the infirm, the lazy, the real estate salesmen, the visually impaired or the simply bloody minded can get close enough to take a look. Please remind me that in this era of carbon footprint sensitivity we are not going to create thousands of tonnes of CO2 in construction and future vehicle use so that otherwise enviro-friendly locals, eco tourists and their body image conscious mates can drive bloody rental vehicles down a road to a car park 500m from a beach that has no pub or restaurant, no public facilities for toilet, childcare or pet tending and is actually slap bang up against a bunch of unoccupied McMansions. Or are you already sold on the idea?
If Townsville Council is being asked by the developer to accept ownership of this redeveloped track (through application to the State Government to create a new road reserve on Unallocated State Land), then surely Council is entitled to expect that the road will meet Council's 21st century needs and not be left with completely unacceptable situations like the Nelly Bay to Arcadia road where there is no pedestrian access and no one prepared to put up the millions needed to create it. Or do you think ratepayers should fork out in the future to bring the road up to scratch?
Junipers have, since 2005, complete all-government approval to build their Sea Temple resort and a new road - complete with in-ground infrastructure. If they no longer want to do that then the DA should lapse altogether - if it hasn't already (?). Junipers knocked back a genuine offer of several million dollars to purchase their 7 acres of freehold land for environmental protection a couple of years ago. Maybe they should think again? (abridged Ed.)
 
Mal
March 10th 2011
It's all academic since the Arthur Bay causeway was washed away in the recent heavy rain. Who is going to fix it? Not TCC or National Parks, since the track is part of the freehold.

The original resort was very low profile and on a small scale, approved during Joh Bjelke Peterson's premiership. Enough said I reckon.

As far as domestic animals are concerned, we already have pet laws here that are ignored by irresponsibe owners. A koala was recently mauled to death near the golf course by a pet dog on the loose. We don't need to make this problem any bigger.

It is my opinion that Radical Bay should be all National Park, with parking, picnic facilities and composting toilets to welcome locals and visitors alike.



 
Wendy Tubman
March 10th 2011
Point of clarification, Mal. The access track is not part of the freehold. The developers currently have a permit to use the existing track in order to assist in the building of a multi-bed resort (not, as I understand it, residential building blocks) in Radical Bay. If (big 'if' there), any development goes ahead at Radical, we, the poor (relative to the mugs who would even consider buying down there, VERY poor) ratepayers/taxpayers could very well be responsible for the cost of maintaining any road to the development that were to be gazetted. A sort of Robin Hood in reverse.
 
chasmac
March 10th 2011
Not quite Mal. If you pull over into the actual driveway of the house in Arthur Bay you come onto the freehold land. But out on the track over the now-washed-out causeway - that's State Land - a twenty metre wide strip from the Forts car park to the back of Radical Bay. The Queensland government is responsible for that land but it has no responsibility to maintain the causeway or any other part of the track to Radical since there is no gazetted road reserve.
In my opinion, all vehicles should be turned around at Arthur Bay and only pedestrian access continue to Radical.
 
Dr Andy Lewis
March 16th 2011
It's fairly important that Florence Bay, the jewel in Magnetic Island's marine ecotourism crown, remains open to vehicles. It's a Green zone (with demonstrable improvements in fish density and abundance since the re-zoning in 2006), with all tide sand bottom access, and a diverse reef community with some 900 year old corals - there is nothing else like it on the Island. If the Island is to have a viable ecotourism industry, it's vital that we can get into Florence and Radical Bay in vehicles as well as boats. My business (Reef EcoTours) is badly affected and will remain so while the road remains closed; we have operated in Florence for the last 11 years and have important long-term photo-monitoring sites in the Bay. There are of course other green zone sites we could operate in (Alma and Geoffrey Bays), but they are a far less attractive ecotourism experience.

In terms of the bigger picture, industry research shows that as carbon prices start to bite, ecotourism will increasingly happen closer to centers of population. Places such as Magnetic Island, which offer national parks and marine parks in close proximity to large population centers, will become increasingly important as sites for ecotourism in the coming decades, and to that extent, properly managed access is a vital component.

I would certainly advocate better signage and facilities in both Radical and Florence Bay to facilitate the visitor experience, however restricting access to these bays to walkers only, would certainly cut off large numbers of potential ecotourists, ecotour businesses, families, locals, and school groups, and we cannot afford that if we want Maggie to be presented as an "Eco-Destination".

Given the recent natural disasters that have flogged both the reefs and many Island businesses (except the tree loppers! ;-) ), we'll need to be maximising the performance of our ecotourism infrastructure, not choking it off. Access, and sensible development at Radical Bay to support day visitors and not property owners, is needed.
 
Guy Tickle
March 18th 2011
I seem to think they may go back to the original plan and build a home there for themselves, fence off there private property and enjoy the quiet life.

But the problem with that is they will not have to provide access to the beach for the publc we will have to go there via boat or climb around the rocks to walk in.

And come off it Charlie with Real Estate slur, your better than that.
 
chasmac
March 20th 2011
It's a real shame that none of these discussions about Radical Bay or the track down there is ever represented with an actual map or diagram of the gazetted road reserves, the freehold land, the National Park, the Unallocated State Land (USL) and the various proposed access paths.
Never showing a drawn plan means most people have no idea. When councillors sit in deliberation in Town they rarely have access to a diagram and therefore make statements such as "...public access to the bay should be non negotiable.” If only the Council, let alone commenters here, would look at a title plan they would see that the Esplanade in Radical is connected to the so-called public car park at the rear (southern end) of the bay by a legal gazetted road reserve called a boardwalk passing around the eastern edge of the freehold. This arrangement was set in place in the early 1990s when an earlier gazetted road through the middle of the freehold to the beachfront was closed and all five freehold blocks could be considered as one. The 'boardwalk' was created as a sop to the public so that access to the beach was "guaranteed". It is "non-negotiable" already.
Junipers would rather not build that boardwalk because it runs along and crosses Small Creek and would disturb a whole lot of the ecosystem there. So they have proposed that an alternative path be built down the western (Horseshoe Bay) side of the freehold on a strip of their land which they would give up to the State. It is this alternative path arrangement which the Council is not comfortable with. The eastern 'boardwalk' pathway is legally locked in place but it is inconvenient to acknowledge its existence.
Guy, there are numerous "original" plans going back to 1989 - none of them for a single house. It is not possible now to build a single house there without also building a complete new road access, electricity line, water supply line and connecting to the Horseshoe Bay sewerage system. If they make application to do just that I will be the first to protest the wanton destruction of landscape, particularly between Arthur and Florence bays, simply to make a safe basic road which fellow sucker ratepayers will have to maintain at huge expense.
And just for the record, when the Scouts occupied their 36 acre lease in Florence after WW2 they did so because the only access was by hiking. You know, putting a pack on your back and walking - it's a novel experience these days. That spectacular locale was violated by Bob Wake's Radical Bay track in the early 1970s and by 1976 the Scouts had lost interest in the place altogether. On my observation, nearly all the family groups and 'eco-tourists' who park their cars at Florence Bay are perfectly capable of walking there and would probably walk there now if only they weren't offered a seat in a car.


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