New harbour plan seeks 'middle ground'

Published 5:00am 3 May 2024

New harbour plan seeks 'middle ground'
Words by Nick Crockford

An alternative master plan for Scarborough Harbour has been put forward aiming for the “middle ground” between campaigners and the State Government.

Michael Bailey, Founding Director of Open Architecture Studio, says the plan “seeks to take on board community concerns about the environment while promoting appropriate and sustainable development”.

“It also pushes Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to work collaboratively with (Moreton Bay City) Council. Look what could happen if they did.”

Mr Bailey’s proposals were lodged in March during project’s public consultation. TMR is now considering all submissions with a master plan to be “finalised” mid-2024.

The Open Architecture Studio plan includes a Maritime Research Centre and Aquarium, holiday park, maritime industry, more car and trailer parking as well as a swing bridge for a circular harbour walk.

It says this would help hospitality, dining and retail, events and boat ramp capacity, while also boosting wildlife habitat and protection and usable green space.

Figures with the plan say far less green space will be lost, compared to the TMR proposal, but parking, in particular, will be significantly increased.

Mr Bailey says he knows the area well, with family living close to Scarborough Harbour and having been part of Moreton Maritime Alliance for five years.

He also taught students in a University of Queensland Masters Class of Architecture which focussed on Scarborough Harbour.

“I see a lot of potential in the harbour and the need to balance green space with industry demand,” Mr Bailey said. “I hope this found the middle ground.

New harbour plan seeks 'middle ground'

“I believe it needs a place-making approach. Somewhere that people will want to go. This (plan) retains green space better and connects all the green space.”

Scarborough Harbour Action Group (SHAG) said “upon first glance” it preferred the alternative plan to TMR’s option.

But the proposal did not align with “current community views given the conversations we’ve been having” and it saw “issues” which may impact the area’s environment, character and infrastructure.

These included “likely parking and traffic issues” from proposed development and more visitors and the swing bridge which would impact the working harbour.

“The proposed relocation of the caravan park will not only further eat into the green space but it’s smack bang next to the vulnerable migratory shore bird nesting site,” SHAG spokesperson Mandy Lake said.

New harbour plan seeks 'middle ground'
Scarborough Harbour at sunset.

“The proposed further reclamation could ostensibly not only kill surrounding seagrass, thereby impacting the dugongs, but also damage the adjacent Aboriginal fish trap.

“The new dry dock stands on the northern arm will obscure some of the most stunning views in the area, plus they are not needed.”

Mr Bailey said without government funding and “clear signals” local and state can work together, there would be little attraction for private investment.

Scarborough Harbour Action Group (SHAG) has campaigned against the TMR draft master plan in its initial form and is currently collating online and hand-written petitions.

There were more than 300 submissions during public consultation; more than 200 people attended the seven TMR pop-up sessions and 1426 downloaded the master plan.

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