Since late last year, a team of independent scientists, engineers and environmental consultants have been working on the Toondah Harbour Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This EIS will assess the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed development.
The scope of this EIS work has been determined by the guidelines that were issued by the Federal Department of Environment and Energy, with public input, in April 2019.
So far, the team’s work has included:
- geotechnical studies
- dredging and marine engineering studies
- coastal process modelling
- water quality and marine ecology studies
- flora and fauna studies, including migratory shorebirds and koalas
- cultural heritage studies.
As part of this work, you may have seen some of the team conducting fieldwork in the Toondah Harbour area.
We aiming to complete the draft EIS for public review by the end of 2020.
Community engagement remains an important part of the draft EIS process. We are continuing with a strong program of activities right through 2020, and will capture feedback to inform the development of the EIS.
However, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the importance of social distancing means we are adapting our program.
Given the large number of people now using on-line platforms in all aspects of their life, we plan to use these platforms to provide a range of ways for the community to participate in the EIS process, and have their say.
We are excited about the engagement opportunity that on-line platforms present. Over the coming month we will be implementing these new ways to connect to discuss the EIS with the local community.
As an example of this innovative approach to engagement, we will host events like the popular Drop-In Sessions on-line. This forum will allow ‘face-to-face’ interaction with the technical consultants, and real-time question and answers. We will advertise these sessions, so you can register to attend.
We received a positive response to the formation of the Technical Focus Groups. These groups will help our technical experts refine the EIS. These Groups will still meet. The only change will be the way the meetings are conducted, which will be through the use of collaborative online tools.
Our consultants are currently reviewing the nominations received in February from community members interested in being part of the Technical Focus Groups. These community members responded to advertisements we placed in the Redland City Bulletin in January and February 2020, and additional positive coverage in the Redland City Bulletin.
Finally, as we move to the other side of the current Covid-19 crisis we will look to re-start more traditional forms of engagement.
We will reopen the Information Centre at 3/99 Bloomfield Street, Cleveland, when medical advice says we can. The Centre has been open since late 2019 but closed recently due to the virus. Many community members have taken the opportunity to visit and speak directly to a project team member about the development.
We have postponed the Listening Posts in the short-term. Our engagement consultants held the first Listening Post for 2020 in February. Again, we will continue to closely monitor Federal and State Government advice in relation to COVID-19, and we will restart the Listening Posts when it is safe to do so.
In The Meantime
In the meantime, if you have any questions about the EIS or the project, please contact our community engagement team on 1800 170 729 or . You can also visit www.toondah-harbour.com.au.
We wish you all the best in the coming weeks, as this unprecedented event continues to unfold across Australia and the world. Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.