Debate continues over Newport Marina plan

Published 5:00pm 1 September 2023

Debate continues over Newport Marina plan
Words by Jodie Powell

The Moreton Maritime Alliance has thrown its support behind plans to develop the Newport Marina precinct.

The latest plan lodged with Moreton Bay City Council includes changing code assessments applying to the land and adding new “assessable uses” for the precinct.

Uses under the proposed Newport marina industry precinct code would include “marine industry, short-term accommodation, bar, function facility, hotel, sport and recreation and office”.

More than 200 submissions about the proposal have been received by Council – and are publicly available on Council’s DA Tracker system - as part of the assessment process now being conducted by officers.

Original plans, which included two 10-storey towers, have been replaced with one building no more than 15m high, around six storeys.

Boosting opportunities

Speaking during the community comment section of this week’s Moreton Bay City Council meeting, Moreton Maritime Alliance director Brad Flynn said if approved, a new code would pave the way for increased opportunities to drive growth and employment, as well as the potential to facilitate new marine infrastructure.

“Our oceans and coastline are big business economically speaking,” Mr Flynn said.

“Nationally, the blue economy is valued at $80 billion. This same blue economy employs over 400,000 people and contributes more to the Australian economy than the agricultural sector.

“A new development in Moreton Bay would contribute to building and strengthening our own blue economy, additional permanent employment, the ability to provide additional transport to allow our locals and visitors quality and easier access to the oceans and islands, and investment in the new infrastructure supporting the marine industry.”

The Moreton Maritime Alliance is an industry association representing the bay’s maritime businesses and aims to drive sustainable economic growth and employment; engage more people with the ocean; and ensure a positive and healthy future for the bay.

Positive impact

Mr Flynn says development on or near the coastline would have a positive impact on the prosperity of the city’s connection not just to water and land, but recreation, leisure and business.

“Our Moreton Bay is incredibly unique.

“We have the opportunity to showcase it to the world, particularly in the lead-up to and beyond the 2032 Olympics.

“Already we have 4.7 million visitors to Moreton Bay every year and only a tiny part of those are able to experience the incredible marine offering that we have.

“We need places for visitors to stay, which we are dramatically under-catered for – a situation which the council has identified and is working proactively to remedy.

“Here we have a golden opportunity to provide some of that short-term accommodation.

“That’s a win for our community and a win for our coastal tourism.”

Niche industry

Mr Flynn said developing the precinct would provide opportunities to connect Newport Marina industry with the education sector through a research and development facility.

“Having the best for research into aquaculture such as seaweed plantations and oyster farms that are an integral part of the natural cleaning and filtering process of the Bay can help boost this niche industry right in our own backyard.”

Different views

Mr Flynn’s address to Council followed input from Newport Action Group (NAG) president Kenlie Williams at a full Council meeting on August 2 and Kindred Group CEO and Newport Marina owner Josh Kindred on August 16.

Ms Williams told Council the proposal was not appropriate for Newport and if approved, the plan would lower the levels of assessment for future development, making accommodation, various retail and commercial uses code assessable rather than impact assessable.

“The community’s ability to have a say in future assessment would be nullified,” she said.

Mr Kindred said he “acknowledged the importance of all opinion” but it was “important we retain facts for clarity’s sake.

“NAG has stated this approval will remove marina and marine industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

“This application asks for marine industry and complimentary uses to be approved on the land. We are not touching the water. This application is to approve uses on the land.”

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