April 18th 2012
Magnetic Island council election candidates' Q&A (Part 2)
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?
*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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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