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  Rosslyn Bay - No more bitumen, please
Rosslyn Bay Map
At Rosslyn Bay Boat Harbour there is a small block of public land behind the Caltex Service Station which the state government is planning to clear, flatten and cover with bitumen.  This is for an additional car/trailer park to be used when the existing carpark is full.  The problem is - the existing carpark is very seldom full. This would cost half a million dollars of taxpayers' money, and the block of land would be far better used as a picnic site.
Shady Euroschinus falcata
An old shady Euroschinus falcatus that TMR plan to buldoze
 

Background information:
1.    The parcel of land is described as Lot 129 on CP854911, and has an area of 3886 square metres. It is freehold tenure but owned by the state government.  It is the last area of vacant public land at Rosslyn Bay.  The land is mostly cleared, with a number of large native shady trees. A few of them are very old and quite picturesque. The cleared areas are mainly covered in Guinea Grass, and needs mowing and proper maintenance.  The land was transferred from Dept. of Natural Resources and Mines to Dept. of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) in May 2016 for the purpose of turning it into another carpark, because of a perceived shortage of parking space.

2.    In November 2015, in an effort to beautify the area and reduce the amount of Guinea Grass, a large number of community volunteers planted hundreds of native trees in four separate clumps.  This was organised by the then Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments and other community groups, and was part funded by XXXX at the end of their lease of Pumpkin Island.  In late 2015 and early 2016 other volunteers spend considerable time and effort watering, weeding, mulching and whipper-snipping around these trees in order to give them the best chance of survival.

3.    While Rosslyn Bay has wonderful marine facilities, first class accommodation and restaurants, two sections of the Capricorn Coast National Park, and access to Kemp Beach, the one thing missing is green open space for recreation and relaxation, in natural shade. The only family-friendly space is the northern end of Kemp Beach, but when the tide is high and the SE wind is blowing, it is not very pleasant.  As public green space, with some tables and possibly barbecue facilities, Lot 129 would be an ideal rest area, not just for visitors to Rosslyn Bay, but also for walkers and cyclists on the proposed Coastal Walkway/Bikeway.  The nearest other family-friendly picnic areas are at Lioness Park Lammermoor Beach and at Bluff Point National Park.  Both of these are well used at weekends.

4.    Under the Livingstone Shire Draft Strategic Plan 2016 the subject land is part of a ‘Nature Corridor or Link’ within the ‘Nature Conservation and Open Space’ classified area.

5.    Most of the Rosslyn Bay precinct is already bitumen and allocated to car parking. The area of existing public carpark is about 35,000 square metres not including the Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club’s own carpark.  This caters for 250 trailer (double length) spaces and 360 single spaces.   Lot 129 is 3886 sqm. and would only provide about an additional 33 trailer spaces and 10 single spaces.   This would cost $480,452. 

6.    Some of our members have written to TMR on a number of occasions requesting that they (a) provide evidence of how often the existing carpark is full, and (b) if no data exists, to stop the project.  There have also been two meetings with TMR officials, including one with Brittany Lauga MP, Member for Keppel.   In all of the responses, TMR was unable to provide any evidence of how often the existing carpark is full.  In spite of the lack of justification, TMR have not moved to change their plans. It seems that this project had resulted from strong lobbying from the previous State Member for Keppel during the height of the mining boom, and now that the project was on their books, they were determined to go ahead with it, regardless.  TMR seem unaware that the 2006-2013 mining boom has ended and demand for boat ramp usage has dropped off accordingly.  It may be many years, even decades, before 'normal' growth rates will cause boat usage catch up to previous boom time levels. 

7.   In March 2017 there was a Public Notice calling for submissions to comment on the Development Application. Advertising signs were erected on the site with the heading “Proposed development   Have your say” The comment period was: 28 March 2017 to 19 April 2017.  Note that the comment period of 15 working days may be all that is required under current legislation, but in this instance, it included a time of disruption caused by flooding associated with Cyclone Debbie, and the Easter and school holiday breaks.  Submissions were to be made to the Assessment Manager who is an officer of LSC.   However, investigation has revealed that the only recommendation that the Assessment Manager is permitted to make is whether or not the Development Application conforms with the zoning plan in the current LSC Planning Scheme.  It appears that the Assessment Manager is not permitted to make any other recommendations about whether this is the best use of the land or what development would be most beneficial for the community as a whole.  Therefore, it is extremely misleading for LSC to ask for public comments under the heading “Have your say” knowing that all submissions on anything other than conformity with the zoning will be completely ignored.  There is no requirement for the LSC Assessment Manager to pass Public Submissions on to TMR, and even if this is done, there is no requirement for TMR to take any notice of them.  Hence this event of supposed “Community Consultation” is a farce.    

8.   In February 2017, TMR removed all the surviving small trees planted by volunteers in November 2015.  This pre-emptive action shows that even TMR think so little of the Public Submission process that they have assumed their approval of this project by the Assessment Manager is a forgone conclusion.  Again, this indicates that the Public Submission process is a farce in that TMR intend to take no notice of what the public may think.

9.   The cost of converting Lot 129 into a carpark has been estimated as $480,452.  Nearly half a million dollars is a huge amount to spend on a project which TMR is struggling to justify.  TMR should remember that it is not a private company but a department of the state government of Qld.  TMR officers should also acknowledge that they are "public servants" fully funded by the taxpayer and they should be serving the public and meeting community expectations, not blindly pursuing projects of their own choosing.

10.   Application D25-2017 includes a Town Planning report written by TMR's planning consultants Reel Planning CQ which includes the statement: “There is a clear community need for the proposed development, given the existing Rosslyn Bay Marina car and trailer unit parking area frequently reaches maximum capacity, resulting in overflow vehicles parking over the Site and along Shoreline Close:” We seriously dispute that there is a “clear community need” and challenge TMR or Reel Planning CQ to provide evidence to support the statement that:  “parking area frequently reaches maximum capacity”.   We contend that this is complete fiction. 

11.   As of May 2017, TMR was still unable to come up with any data whatsoever on how often the existing carpark is full.  As far as we know the existing carpark has only been full for a few days in 2016, and hardly at all since Oct 2016.  The latest development is that TMR now claim to use is the number of boat registrations located in the broader Livingstone and Rockhampton council areas as a planning tool, but they have no knowledge of how many of these boats are actually used or at which boat ramps.   To use this as the main (only?) decision-making tool for spending half a million dollars of taxpayer’s money seems completely irresponsible.  Not only that, but the concept of using the number of boat registrations as an indicator of the demand for trailer parking space was never mentioned at an earlier meeting with TMR, nor in any of the subsequent items of correspondence, nor was it mentioned in the Reel Planning CQ consultant's report which was intended to support this whole proposal.  Also at the meeting on 21 April, TMR promised to provide data on the number of boat registrations but so far, they have failed to deliver.  So much for the only piece of numerical data that TMR use for supposedly justifying this project.

12.   While it may be considered that this is all in the realm of TMR and it is beyond the control of LSC, it is worth reflecting on what the Council thinks is the most appropriate use for Lot 129. Just because TMR think that they can do what they like with their land as long as they comply with current zoning, does not mean that this is the best outcome for the community.  LSC is closer to the community that it serves than state govt. departments and therefore has a responsibility not to remain silent on this issue.    Rosslyn Bay is a key feature of the Capricorn Coast, and LSC quite rightly spends considerable time and effort in promoting the attractiveness of the Capricorn Coast to visitors to the region.  It would be remis of councillors not to do everything possible to provide a ‘whole of community’ focus on Rosslyn Bay.

13.   At present this site is an eyesore, making it very unattractive and off-putting for anyone visiting the area.  However with a little bit of vision and forward thinking, what an opportunity it presents to provide a usable and attractive addition to the amenity of Rosslyn Bay for all members of the community.  If this land were to be mown and developed with a few tables and BBQ facilities it is certain that far more people will use this area, far more of the time than if it were to become a last-resort bitumen carpark. 


What can be done?

If you agree that Lot 129 should not be turned into a bitumen carpark that will hardly ever be used, please send an email to Brittany Lauga MP, Member for Keppel at Keppel@parliament.qld.gov.au asking her to put a stop to this project. 

Also send an email to LSC at  enquiries@livingstone.qld.gov.au  asking that Councillors take a more active role in stopping this project.  All councillors except the Mayor have given us verbal assurance that they support our stand.  However some are not inclined to take any action because they think it is ‘out of their hands’ as Lot 129 is owned by the state government.