From: Chris Smyth [chriss@vnpa.org.au]
Sent: Sunday, 19 October 2003 9:15 PM
To: admin@ocsportsea.com
Subject: Attention: Rob de Haas. Saving Point Nepean E-letter No. 7
Saving Point Nepean
E-letter No. 7

Fight for Point Nepean not over yet!

Very late on late on Friday, Fran Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, announced the preferred tenderer for the lease of 90 hectares at Point Nepean --  a consortium involving a large Queensland property developer (FKP Limited) with a proposal for at least one hotel, bars, restaurants, maritime college campus and new buildings.

We have arrived at another stage in what has been a secretive process that has avoided any public scrutiny of proposals for Point Nepean. And that secrecy is continuing.  We probably won't hear much of the bid's details until the lease has begun on 1 November.

The next two weeks are crucial if we are to win national park protection for all of Point Nepean.  We need to stop the leasing process in its tracks before the lease is signed.

What is FKP proposing?

FKP Limited, the Queensland-based property developer proposes a 200-bed cliff-top hotel and conference centre with bars and a swimming pool. These will be in heritage-listed buildings (apparently involving exclusive access to them) but also in an undisclosed number of new buildings.

A maritime college campus with accommodation (residential?) for 200 students is also part of the proposal.
 
The consortium has added museums and an aboriginal cultural centre, but these appear subsidiary to the hotel, convention centre and campus developments and over time could have even lesser importance as development expands. 

For expand is what it is quite likely to do. Consortium head, Simon McKeon, confirmed today that 'More services, including hotels could be added ... if there was demand'. (Sunday Herald-Sun, 19.10.03).

What do we know about FKP Limited?

The company's website (fkp.gov.au) says it is one of Queensland's leading property developers and Australia's largest developer of retirement villages. It appears that the company has significant interest in beachfront property development (eg. Airlee Beach in the Whitsundays).

Something that doesn't appear on the company's website, but which could be relevant to our concerns, is that a Brisbane-based company, FKP Constructions, (FKP Limited does have a constructions division), was fined by the Maroondah City Council for illegally felling trees and failing to protect existing vegetation at a retirement village construction site in Croydon, Victoria, in January this year. The trees included three not in the way of construction and some outside the construction site. FKP Constructions also failed to submit a landscape plan.  Previously the local council failed to stop the clearance of the site's vegetation in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In March FKP Constructions was in more trouble at the site when it was asked by the Council and the Environment Protection Authority to control dust blowing off the site. (At the bottom of this message we reproduce articles from the Maroondah Journal detailing these incidents.)

If FKP Constructions and FKP Limited are one and the same (and a preliminary search of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission database <asic.gov.au> indicates that they are), then is this the type of company we would want to see managing our significant natural and cultural heritage at Point Nepean?

Let's swamp talkback and the letters pages this week

Tomorrow (and indeed all throughout this week) it would be great if you could help us 'swamp' talkback radio and the letters pages to let our views be known.

We want a fully integrated, unified and genuine national park for all of Point Nepean.

Talkback On any letters you must include your full name and address and a daytime phone number for verification.

Thank you again for your generous support. We only have this week and next to prevent our priceless heritage being leased to Queensland property developers for 40 years +.

Please keep phoning, writing and emailing the Commonwealth Government as often as you can.

We can make a difference!  We can Save Point Nepean!

Please circulate this email to as many people as you are able.

Much more to follow in the coming days but here is the media release that we sent out today.


MEDIA RELEASE
19 October 2003
Attention: Chiefs of Staff

Commonwealth Government's secretive process chooses profit
not protection at Point Nepean

The Victorian National Parks Association and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) have condemned the Commonwealth Government's decision to lease Point Nepean to a consortium involving one of Queensland's largest property developers.

Mr Stephen Hare, CEO of the National Trust, said that the Commonwealth's decision threatened Point Nepean's Quarantine Station and coastal moonah woodland.

'The Victorian community's vision of an integrated, unified and genuine national park covering all of Point Nepean has been ignored, the Commonwealth Government preferring to disintegrate ownership and management and thus threaten the integrity of Point Nepean’s very special heritage.'

'The partners in this consortium are unlikely to have the necessary experience and expertise to manage such important natural and cultural heritage and, as we know, the leasing documents provide for changes to leasing conditions simply with the consent of the tenant and landlord  and again in secret without public input.'

'There are no guarantees of protection for Point Nepean, and what we see in the disturbing initial stages of development  an hotel, convention centre, bars, restaurants, maritime college campus and new buildings  could be changed, expanded and intensified in the future.  Indeed, the head of the consortium has already indicated in today's Sunday Herald Sun that more hotels are a possibility.'

Mr Michael Fendley, Director of the VNPA, said that the Commonwealth Government, by choosing profit over protection, was throwing proper coastal planning out the window at Point Nepean.

'The lease of Point Nepean to the consortium involving a Queensland property developer is set to begin on 1 November.  That's less than a fortnight away, and still the Victorian community has been denied the opportunity to scrutinise the proposals of the preferred tenderer.  This is the height of arrogance from a Government that has been more concerned with secrecy than the accountability, transparency and sound public land policy and planning required in such a process.  The Expression of Interest and Tender Process has been appalling from Day One and should be subjected to further investigation.'

'Point Nepean's natural and cultural heritage is far too important to be decided behind the scenes by the Defence Department.   Its future should be as a national park, with clear objectives set before appropriate uses are determined.  This is the right and proper way to proceed, not as the Commonwealth is doing, putting use ahead of protection and profit ahead of a park of world-class standard.'

'The appropriate owners and managers of Point Nepean are the Victorian community, the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria within a national park management process outlined by the Victorian government in its Concept Plan.'

Two articles about FKP Constructions from the Maroondah Journal

DEVELOPER FINED OVER TREE FELLING By Goya Bennett

A Queensland developer has been fined for illegally felling trees and failing to protect existing vegetation at a Croydon construction site.

Last January the Journal reported concerns regarding the destruction of trees at the Mingara Village site in Mt Dandenong Road.

Maroondah Council strategic and corporate services director Steve Kozlowski last week said four infringement notices totalling $4,000 had been issued to Brisbane firm FKP Constructions.

“There were four fines issued and they were fines issued for failure to protect the existing vegetation that was to remain on the site,” he said.

As previously reported in the Journal, the council was forced to approve the removal of all vegetation at the site after losing an appeal to stop the development at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

While FKP Constructions was only required to retain three trees on site, which weren’t in the way of construction, a fine was issued for failing to protect these trees from damage.

Mr Kozlowski said another fine was issued for failing to protect a stand of cypress trees along the Mount Dandenong Road boundary.

“It was a technical breach where they were required to place orange safety webbing around the base of the trees,” he said.
“When the officers investigated the site, they found this had not taken place.”

He said the trees were still healthy and would remain.

Mr Kozlowski said a third fine was issued because the developer failed to submit a landscape plan while the fourth breach related to illegally cutting down trees.

“The last of the fines was for some trees that weren’t meant to be removed in that stage of construction and that was the construction people’s fault,” he said.

“There was the removal of some vegetation outside the construction zone.”

Mr Kozlowski said development at the site would be closely monitored by the council.

“The council has asked the developers to provide details in relation to their construction timetable which would enable consultation to take place with neighbouring residents in regard to planned future works on the site”, he said.

“Council officers regularly attended the site and have been in regular contact with the construction people to make sure they adhere to planning controls.

STORM IN A DUST SITE By Goya Bennett
Maroondah Journal
18 March 2003

A Queensland developer fined by Maroondah Council for illegal tree removal has again created a storm.

Brisbane firm, FKP Constructions, was fined $4,000 on four separate breaches related to illegally felling trees and failing to protect remaining vegetation at the Mingara Retirement Village site in Mt Dandenong Road.

Now the developer has stirred residents’ wrath by allegedly creating dust storms in the area.

Croydon Conservation Society president Keith Loveridge said residents had called in the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) because of the dust storms caused by building works.

“The society twice called the EPA about the creation of huge dust storms which went all over the residents in the retirement homes,” he said.

“The EPA told them to spray the place with water – which they didn’t. Trucks were leaving the site with their loads uncovered. The EPA told them they had no sediment controls in place. Also, they had no wash down facilities in place.”

Council’s strategic and corporate services director Steve Kozlowski confirmed council officers had also visited the site and ordered it to be watered down in a bid to control dust.

Investigations into alleged breaches are continuing.

Chris Smyth
Marine Campaign Officer
Victorian National Parks Association
Level 3, 60 Leicester Street
Carlton  3053
Ph: 9341 6512
Fax: 9347 5199
email: chriss@vnpa.org.au