Development near creek gets go-ahead

By Janine Litle

REDLAND Shire Council this week approved a controversial showroom and industrial development for a bushland site alongside Coolnwynpin Creek at Capalaba after determining an Environmental Impact Study was unnecessary for the project.

That determination comes in the wake of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland's threat last month to take legal action if necessary to stop the project.

The Society believes the bushland site close to the creek should be preserved for wildlife.

Council is approving the development despite acknowledging its Strategic Plan designates much of the site as warranting "Special Protection".

The development, by applicant PM Endacott, covers a 1.5ha site at 29- 37 Moreton Bay Road and includes a large artificial dam that will be filled in as part of the construction of the showroom, light industrial workshops and car park.

Tuesday's Development Assessment Committee meeting heard how 25 per cent of land at the site will be retained as a habitat protection area for flora and fauna as part of approval conditions.

The 3813sqm parcel of land would become a buffer between Coolnwynpin Creek and the development which features a 2626sqm show- room, 1509 sqm of industrial premises, and 128 parking spaces.

The buffer area would be regenerated through weed eradication and replanting of native trees.

Council Wildlife Officer Adrian Caneris described the 25 per cent bushland requirement as "a significant dedication" that was unusual because it gave wildlife some "high-water land" (to retreat to when the creek rises) when "they usually get drainage problem land".

He said the developers would also make a $15,000 contribution to wildlife protection and conservation but that "rather than the developer doing the work we'd take the money and do the work ourselves".

Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Bayside Branch Secretary Simon Baltais. however, questioned the immediate effectiveness of the wildlife protection measures.

"And Councillors have got past results of 35 to 50 per cent, so it could be a lot better," he said.

Mr Baltais said the society was not giving up its fight to stop the development even though it is scheduled for formal approval at next week's general meeting.

"We're disappointed but not surprised about this because it's pretty much the case that through the latter part of their term this Council has been all for development while the environment suffers," Mr Baltais said.

"In Capalaba in particular there's very little green space left because of this pro-development agenda," he said.

In supporting the showroom and industrial development, Alexandra Hills and Capalaba area Councillor Ray Bucknall backed up Council officers' reports to the meeting that the area did not legally constitute a wetlands.

"The area around the creek won't be bulldozed and people should be aware of that," Councillor Bucknall said.

"All the creek edges will be preserved and will in fact he enhanced because of the regeneration work to be done." he said.

Mr Cancris said the four species of frogs and marsupial wildlife living in the area were not enough to secure it as a wetlands conservation area.

But Birkdale area Councillor Helen Murray slammed the preserving of only 25 per cent of land for wildlife habitat.

"It's so sad now we're into a position where we think we're lucky to get anything when 20 years ago it was all bushland," she said.

She was backed by Mt Cotton Councillor Toni Bowler who accused Council officers of misleading Redland residents over the amount of "green shaded areas" that appear on planning maps.

"People felt confident that we as a Council would preserve this (Coolnwynpin Creek) area as a protection area and we paint it green, but it doesn't mean anything," she said.

Alexandra Hills area Councillor Alan Beard questioned whether the light industry about to be approved as part of the development would affect the creek.

Mr Cancris said any waste material "would undoubtedly affect the creek if it got away".

Redland Times 20 Aug 1999

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