As SE Queensland’s population continues to grow, calls have been made for infrastructure to connect key islands in the Moreton Bay to the mainland, boosting island population capacities, along with tourism and business in the area.
Sean O’Meara, an infrastructure and urban renewal expert at PwC, has said that the islands are “under-utilised” and suggested that with the right infrastructure initiative, the government could help boost business and livability while additionally driving tourism in the Moreton Bay area.
For Mr O’Meara, the right infrastructure initiative would be “a series of low-impact bridges linking the mainland to Macleay Island, Russell Island and potentially others where new residential communities will be created, supported by retail, leisure and health.”
By building new bridges to these islands, along with strategic residential planning, islands in the area could together accommodate an additional 30,000 more residents.
The new bridges would open up numerous construction and engineering jobs in South East Queensland throughout the build, where the development would lead to long-term business and general job growth across the islands.
Redlands Coast (formerly Redland City) Mayor Karen Williams reminded stakeholders that it was not going to be an easy development and would require more strategic thinking.
“The sewerage needs in a marine park is going to be a huge challenge alone. And there are many people living on these islands because they want that lifestyle,” she said.
Mayor Williams did offer her support for the project, highlighting the massive opportunity for tourism and economic boosts.
“We hear so much talk about the Great Barrier Reef and its tourism potential, but little about Moreton Bay,” she said.
“Its proximity to the third largest city in the country means the ability to tap into that potential by reaching an international market is enormous.”
The method by which this boost is realised is still under heavy debate, with the Redlands Coast Mayor favouring augmented water transit services.
While there is a $1.4 billion Toondah Harbour development proposed for Cleveland, which will include a new ferry terminal and marina, along with 2000 apartments, a hotel, dining and retail precinct, it won’t be able to offer the same level of convenience and accessibility that bridges would offer to the islands, where convenience reigns as key travel incentive for tourists.
The proposal aligns with Brisbane City Council’s “River’s Edge Strategy” which facilitates plans for a Brisbane City Marina and waterways transit hub offering ferry services into Moreton Bay.
The council could adopt technology like the fast ‘TurboJet’ ferries that transit people between the islands of Hong Kong and Macau, this would ensure that people could travel between the Brisbane City Marina and the bay in a quick and convenient fashion.
“Done well, the journey from the city to the bay will become an experience in itself. Then, by enabling seamless visitation to Moreton and North Stradbroke islands, it will help facilitate the creation of new eco-tourism developments in a unique location unrivalled by any other Australian city,” said Matt Bekier, MD of Brisbane’s $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf resort precinct.
Mr O’Meara suggests that these developments would “open up a true bayside and island lifestyle to the people of SEQ” and create “substantial economic growth”.
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Source: Courier Mail