Two major issues featured in cyberspace – the first, the promulgation of the new Queensland Coastal Management Plan and the second the call for comments on elements of the proposed Townsville Port expansion. Full documentation of the current call for comment can be found here.
Figure 1.2 - Environmental Protection Areas
The Coastal Management Plan
The Coastal Management Plan recognizes that coastal landforms and habitat can be protected by retaining the land in a relatively natural state and free from permanent or non-expendable buildings or infrastructure. Active management of coastal land is required to avoid loss or damage of vegetation and habitat; ensure surface flow modifications do not occur or, where necessary, do not cause erosion or create land instability; address adverse impacts caused by pest plants and animal; avoid intensive recreational activities impacting on ecological values or natural coastal landforms; control beach access, particularly by vehicles, to avoid erosion, protect ecological values, and ensure beach goers can enjoy the environment in safety.
The management policy applies to coastal land and its resources within the coastal zone. Coastal land includes land under tidal waters, erosion prone areas, and at risk from storm tide inundation or permanent inundation due to sea level rise (collectively called coastal hazard areas), coastal roads and esplanades, reserves and unallocated State land, and other parcels of land adjacent to the foreshore. Coastal resources are the natural and physical features, processes, places or objects of the coastal zone that have ecological, economic or social value. This includes areas of high ecological significance (HES). Most of Magnetic Island is shown in the Plan as HES.
The management policy applies to management planning, activities, decisions and works that are not assessable development under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and therefore not subject to the State Planning Policy for Coastal Protection (SPP).
The main components of the proposed development include:
· Construction of a new outer harbour formed by the construction of a new breakwater approximately one kilometre seaward of the existing northern breakwater and deepening of the harbour area
· Potential construction of a new western breakwater
· Construction of up to six additional vessel berths in the new harbour
· Deepening of the existing approach channels
· Widening of the approach channel near the outer harbour entrance
· Creation of approximately 100 hectares of reclaimed land backing the new berths to provide for bulk cargo storage and rail loop, all formed from material reclaimed from the harbour deepening. This will include external and internal bunds to facilitate land reclamation
· Placement of unsuitable and excess dredge materials at sea in the existing dredge material placement area in Cleveland Bay
· Installation of new navigation aids
· Construction of new road and rail infrastructure within the project footprint and connection to the Eastern Access Corridor currently under construction
· Installation of new service utilities infrastructure
· Ten million cubic metres of dredging: five million cubic metres is proposed for offshore disposal and five million cubic metres is proposed for disposal in the reclamation.
Figure 3.1 - Port expansion project layout
At this stage, comments are limited to those relating to the scope and presentation of studies and information required in the (EIS) Environment Impact Statement to allow for an assessment and decision on the appropriateness of the proposal, rather than the merits of the proposed action. MINCA will be making a submission on the proposed port expansion and invites others to collaborate in this submission. The deadline for submissions is 5pm Friday 2 March.