To Promote Some Discussion, MBI Posts One Community Group’s Comments On The Proposed Sandstone Point Tavern Development


In May 2012, an application was submitted to Moreton Bay Regional Council to construct a tavern and associated support infrastructure on land at Sandstone Point at the corner of Bestman Road and Bribie Island Road.  Those wishing to view the application can Click here    to download a copy.  This tavern application will require the overturning of significant Local Government and State Government protective legislation covering that land and its use.  It may also have some Federal Government legislation implications.  The complexities of the application raise many political, business, social, and environmental issues.

To encourage discussion on these issues, MBI posts the comments of one community group on the proposed tavern development.  As there was no process for submission of such input, the community group sent its comments to various groups and individuals (including MBI) and to Division 1 Councillor, Cr Gary Parsons.  MBI has written to Cr Parsons to inquire what action he has taken with this input and will advise of any response received.

MBI understands that there are no proposed forums to be established, or any other input processes, for community members to voice their opinions and/or have input on these and the other issues associated with the project.  MBI has written to Bribie’s elected representatives to inquire if they propose to set up some forums or some other process for such input and will advise of any response received.  In the absence of any formal input processes, MBI suggests that individuals contact their local elected members if they have concerns.  Contact details are shown below.

Ms Lisa France MP,  Member for Pumicestone,  Queensland Parliament,  (07) 3408 6436 (office),

Cr Gary Parsons,  Division 1 Councillor,  MBRC,  (07) 5420 0161 (office),  0407 629 002 (mobile),

(Editor’s Update September 13 – MBI has received a response from Cr Parsons office.  He is not proposing to initiate any special meetings but comments as follows:

This application is on public exhibition until 11th October, the public have the opportunity to have input into the application by way of lodging submissions either for or against the application.

Once the public notification period finishes, Council officers will prepare a report for the Council’s determination. The report will include a copy of and an assessment of any submissions received together with recommendations in relation to the submissions.

As the land is outside the Urban Footprint and there is a collective of individual uses, the application was required to be referred to the Dept., of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning along with other State Agencies, to consider how the various uses proposed should be assessed. Copies of the agencies’ responses are available on Council’s PD Online web site under Applications 2012 / 26871.

For submissions to be ‘properly made’ they need to be addressed to the CEO, MBRC. Submitters can also provide a cc of their submission to myself as Divisional Councillor highlighting their concerns so I can bring them to the attention of the relevant planning officer, if they so wish.

The application has followed the normal Development ‘process’ which includes advertising for public objections to the Development. Your statement of “In the absence of any formal input processes” is incorrect.

I have attended and spoke to the Sandstone Point Community Association and their members at their meeting when approached. I have also spoken and met with a number of concerned residents who have contacted me and encouraged them to put their submission in writing to Council, so that their issues may be taken under consideration.
Trusting this information is of assistance to you and your readers.

MBI also received a response from the Member for Pumicestone, Lisa France.  She is not proposing to hold any special forums either, but her office responded as follows:

Lisa has had ongoing discussions with constituents, the proponent and local government regarding this matter. It is her understanding the proponent has already had comunication with community members and held briefings and meetings to this effect.

Lisa has directed most constituents to the proponent or the relevant assessing body, the Moreton Bay Regional Council, to discuss their concerns in detail.)


Editor, My Bribie Island









Comments are limited to some initial environmental concerns :  preservation of critical vegetation type and associated habitat; acid-sulphate soils; and mangroves.

Under normal reasonable circumstances it should be possible to entertain the idea and expectation that the environmental impacts of this development might be able to be regulated, managed and minimized to some compromised acceptable level.  However such is the poor experience of development and management of associated environment impacts within this MBRC region, it could be expected, regardless of any intended protections or conditions applied to protect vegetation and associated habitat, that these would not be enforced and, as has been witnessed so often in similar local situations, serious ecological damage would result.

So it seems that the only realistic response from an environmental perspective on this application for rezoning to allow this development is to reject it because of the risks it poses and which we have no confidence would be limited or managed.  Had experience shown otherwise a more middle ground approach might be able to be contemplated.

There are also some very important issues relating to the impacts of the proposed development resulting from this rezoning on similar nearby businesses e.g. on Bribie Island (hotels, bottle shops, accommodation, restaurants etc.) whose livelihood it is anticipated would be severely threatened by this development.  These aspects are for others to ponder and comment upon.

Development Plan for Site


This community group has the following concerns about the key environmental impact risks from this development including the following


There is a vegetation protection overlay on this area.  The vegetation is predominantly Melaleuca (paperbark) which typifies the important Wallum land type which is at such risk in SEQ and which is disappearing at an alarming rate.  Vegetation loss of any sort within MBRC region is of particular concern given that this council region has the highest rate of vegetation loss generally of any council in SEQ as can been seen from the image below.

The rezoning proposal states “In this instance there is a PMAV that has been adopted for the site, and a small amount of clearing will be required for the proposed internal road.”

This statement is misleading because there is also a significant area of car park associated with the proposed entrance all of which will have a significant impact on this 16 ha (40 acres) of Melaleuca, cutting it and the associated habitat into two pieces.

It is likely that if the project proceeds we will see the same gradual loss of all the remaining vegetation on the site as has occurred in other supposedly protected areas eg the vegetation on the dunes in front of the Bribie Island Surf Club restaurant which was removed with Council approval.

Vegetation on the proposed Sandstone Point development site, as well as the grassed areas, provides part of the habitat that supports one of the largest diversity of birdlife in Australia with some 280 species identified as inhabiting the area just across the passage at Buckleys Hole.  These birds utilise the full range of adjoining habitat including potentially the area of this proposed development.

We would forecast, with a high degree of confidence based on the past demonstrated actions of developers in concert with council, that approval of the rezoning of this area for the hotel development would result in the eventual total loss of existing vegetation by the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ and fragmentation, along with the important habitat provided.


This area is mapped as having acid-sulphate soils.  Directly across the Passage, Council approved a development in these soils (113 Welsby Parade) which was very poorly managed by Council, resulting in major pollution of Pumicestone Passage and which was featured by channel 7 news and was front page news in local newspaper media.  Discharges of iron and turbidity into the passage from this site were shown from NATA approved testing to be 1000 and 100 times respectively above allowable limits set for this Marine Park area.  It is now known that iron is the key trace element responsible for triggering to highly toxic Lyngbya majuscula cyanobacteria blooms.  Any increase in turbidity would further stress the already highly degraded Pumicestone Passage.  Aluminium which is associated with these soils is highly toxic to the marine ecology if present in any discharges.

All of these same risks exist for this Sandstone Point development if any discharge from disturbed acid sulphate soils enter Pumicestone Passage.  Fortunately it appears that no underground car parks are involved which would limit the amount of site excavations into these high risk soils.


The same sorts of risks of losing mangroves as have been outlined above exist.  Some hint of the development’s vision is presented in the first image of the proposal showing the general concept with a presumably sandy beach in front of the development (presuming of course that those shown sunbaking are not lolling on the mud between the mangroves).  Achievement of this general scenario would entail removal of the mangroves.  Again, just because this is unlawful doesn’t mean that Council and local DERM representatives would not just ignore their piecemeal removal as has been demonstrated previously within the region.