Call for re-think on masterplan

Published 6:00am 4 March 2024

Call for re-think on masterplan
Words by Nick Crockford

The draft masterplan for Scarborough Boat Harbour, now open for public comment, is under fire from community and industry groups.

Moreton Maritime Alliance (MMA) believes the “proposed plan has fallen drastically short of the potential available”.

While Scarborough Harbour Action Group (SHAG) has called for proposals to be taken “back to the drawing board and have full consultation”.

MMA and SHAG may have different end goals, but both have hit out at the public consultation process. MMA Director Brad Flynn said it is “subpar at best”.

Mandy Lake, spokesperson for SHAG, said: “We are not opposed to development, but we are opposed to development that is ill construed.

“Our group has asked pertinent questions and there has been no decent modelling to comment on. We are not ready to press go on this.”

Transport and Main Roads’ (TMR) draft masterplan is open for public submissions, until the extended deadline which is now Monday, March 11.

Call for re-think on masterplan
A graphic highlighting TMR's main proposals for Scarborough Boat Harbour

Proposals include moving trawlers to the northern section of the harbour where seafood processing and sales would be based alongside more “marine activities”.

“Tourism, commercial and entertainment activities” would be opposite Thurecht Park with “low impact marine activities” on the grassed area beside Oyster Point Esp.

The draft plan suggests there is also “potential” to enhance Thurecht Park and “integrate” it with the wharf.

Brad Flynn said MMA was happy to see “progress” and with the Olympics coming in 2032 “it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be taken advantage of”.

“We are a peninsula surrounded by water, to not have a harbour of note will be a travesty and embarrassment,” he said.

MMA’s submission questioned doubling room for land-based commercial “maritime activity” and called for “more tourism and dining related spaces”.

It wants a “significant tourism attraction” on the northern arm and suggests a function centre, research and education, aquarium, restaurant precinct and hotel.

Call for re-think on masterplan
Scarborough Harbour at sunset.

MMA also says parking needs to be expanded, traffic flow to the northern arm replanned and a “switch” in focus for the harbour to be a more “boutique” destination.

Mandy Lake said SHAG wants to retain the harbour area’s green space and has concerns over the draft plan’s impact on wildlife, traffic and possible flooding.

“We want to keep the area green and preserve the character that attracts visitors,” she said.

“Love MMA’s idea of an environmental centre, which would pay homage to our part of the world,” she said “and the idea of a boardwalk.

“But we’re not keen on a hotel and conference centre. There would be a big issue with traffic and the area will not sustain huge development.

“The bulk of community likes to retain as much green space as possible.

“It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on, we all agree this (draft masterplan) is not ready or thought out enough.”

A spokesperson for Moreton Bay City Council said Council “can see real potential in maritime and related industries, including tourism in the area”.

Call for re-think on masterplan

“We look forward to seeing the outcome of this consultation soon, to better protect and guide the future development of this vibrant harbour and surrounding areas,” the spokesperson said.

“Council, in the meantime, is looking at the potential for a Moreton Bay ferry system to unlock significant opportunities including increased tourism, as well as reduce the load on existing road infrastructure.

Mandy Lake said a leaflet drop by SHAG showed a number of residents still unaware of the draft plan, but the first TMR community session still has a "great turnout".

SHAG has found getting more information difficult, Mandy said, though there was some empathy during a pop-up session with TMR representatives.

“If only this had been done earlier,” she said.

To see the masterplan and for further information click here

To make a submission click here

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