NO VIABLE CORRIDOR FOR THE PARK RIDGE CONNECTOR ROAD
The following is part of LACA's submission to DTMR to object to both the decision to construct a six lane freight motorway impacting on significant wtland areas and also the method of "consultation" used to validate their decision.
LACA does not believe there is a viable corridor for the Park Ridge Connector Road because there are existing communities and environmental assets in the area proposed for the corridor. LACA has stated this position clearly since the beginning of the CSRG process and has continued to communicate this position at all times.
LACA is extremely concerned that the significant environmental issues are being ignored by Main Roads, despite LACA's ongoing communication of our environmental concerns since the beginning of the Community Stakeholder Reference Group or CSRG process. LACA has been particularly concerned that the biodiversity hotspot of Jerry's Downfall Reserve-Flesser Reserve continues to be targeted for an infrastructure corridor, when it is such a significant biodiversity area and bioregional corridor. LACA has also continued to voice its concern for the northern bioregional corridor of Karawatha – Greenbank-Flinders Peak ,Berrinba Wetlands and Scrubby Creek.
LACA believes that this consultation process has been deficient and members of the CSRG have communicated their concerns that they felt like they were being lead by Main Roads throughout the CSRG process. LACA is also very unhappy at the short consultation time frame given to the general community to peruse the EAIR document - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND INVESTIGATION REPORT - and supporting evidence. LACA has continued to request an extension of time to this consultation from the beginning of the public display period
The State Government is backing away from an error that mapped the Coomera Town Centre precinct as both pro-development and pristine koala habitat. Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe will today announce the Government will hold off on new koala protection regulations until next year.
The decision follows a furore from the Gold Coast City Council and the development industry over contradictory maps which could have derailed 15 years of state and council planning for the Coomera Town Centre precinct.
The biggest concern was a triangle-shaped patch of zero-development koala protection areathat was mapped directly over the central heart of the town centre. Mr.Hinchliffe said uproar from the council and surrounding local governments warranted the extension.
"While protecting koalas is an urgent priority, the State Government is committed to carrying out comprehensive consultation to ensure the regulations are effective"he said.
Coomera councillor Donna Gates said the decision was good news for the council and the Coomera Town Centre. It's very positive that they listened and have allowed additional time to clarify which of their policies will take precedence in Coomera", she said.
Dr Baxter (Senior Lecturer in Natural Systems Management at University of Queensland)says that the 2006 Koala Plan released by former Environment Minister Desley Boyle [ a four-year, $A2.1 million dollar Koala Plan that was implemented in October 2006] does not address the fundamental problems the koala is facing, which is the fragmentation or loss of their habitat.
Koalas need large areas of healthy, safe and connected bushland in order to survive and this is under threat from development, logging and agriculture all over South East Queensland. At the beginning of last century there were millions of koalas in the wild. Now there is only a fraction of that number left in Queensland, estimated (in 2006) to be between 100,000 and 300,000 and rapidly declining. For the koala, more than 80 per cent of their home ranges have been destroyed and this is still increasing - despite our knowledge of their need for essential habitat to survive.
It is not rocket science. Humans also need trees to provide essential ecosystem services for our health and wellbeing of the whole planet. The koalas diet is very specialised and evolved to adapt to the eucalypt tree as a food source - but not every eucalypt tree is acceptable for all koalas. Essential bushland habitat can not be offset by some quickly planted trees.
This letter DIP_UDIA_Letter.pdf 643.39 Kb15/12/2009, 13:12 assures developers that the new koala State Planning Policy SPP will not create greater costs to development. Unfortunately from a reading of the carefully worded rhetoric of the letter sent to the Urban development institute of Australia, the profits of developers is more important than survival of our iconic species the koala.
IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW KOALA PLANNING INSTRUMENTS DEFERRED
Australian Koala Foundation said recently that Queensland government's new planning laws to protect dwindling koala numbers in the state's southeast are laughable. Although Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones announced a raft of new measures to protect the marsupials' habitats - what is proposed is not enough. For years concerned citizens campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of the koala and protect them by protecting and preserving the essential habitat with an easy to remember slogan - NO TREE NO ME.
MAPPING has placed a triangle-shaped patch of zero-development koala protection area directly over that same patch developers have planned as the central heart of the town centre.
Further to a letter from the Director-General which was circulated to members (of UDIA Qld) on Wednesday, the Government has now deferred the implementation of koala planning controls to replace the interim controls until 28 February 2010 and they will not come into effect as at 1st January as previously proposed. Further opportunity for consultation on proposed changes and a draft State Planning Policy is being provided. The UDIA (Qld) is engaging with the Government and a forum will be held in the new year to discuss practical implementation issues associated with the draft instruments.
Gold Coast Bulletin, Friday 11 December 2009, page 3 "States koala chaos on map"