Outrage as koala habitat flattened for housing development
A TEWANTIN development is jeopardising the safety of a local koala community, according to wildlife protection group.
Work began earlier this month on the Eagle Dve block in Tewantin to sub divide into 21 separate lots.
But the project, which was approved by Council back in November 2017, has upset residents.
Ambassador for Queensland Koala Crusaders Meghan Halverson said while the project is meeting all legal requirements, more should be done for the protection and safety of the koalas.
"Koala Crusaders have worked with Council for the best outcome on this project and we recommended that prior to clearing each day, the detection dog team would check the area as well as work with the spotter catcher onsite," she said.
"They have done this, and we have known where the koalas were each day.
"However, two different koalas in two different trees, leads us to believe that there should be further evaluation before all trees are cleared on the block," she said.
Noosa Council's Manager for Development Assessment Kerri Coyle said strict conditions are in place to protect local wildlife.
"Council officers have been conducting daily site visits to a Tewantin subdivision to ensure koalas are protected as part of the project's development approval," she said.
"Fauna spotters must be on site while clearing is undertaken and it's mandatory that koala detection dogs from USC attend the property to identify any koalas that may be on site before commencing the tree clearing.
"There have been two visits by two koala detection dogs from USC on consecutive days to ensure koalas are not harmed by the clearing works," she said.
"Council imposed the strict koala protection requirements because while the site is not mapped by the Noosa Plan's Biodiversity Overlay as containing vegetation worthy of preservation, staff were aware that koalas travelled through the area and possibly used the site from time to time," Ms Coyle said.
According to Council, overall, the site had limited habitat value due to the large number of pine trees.
"The potential use of the site by koalas was why as part of the approval, conditions were imposed that required a fauna management plan be prepared and approved prior to proceeding with any works on site." Ms Coyle said
However, Noosa based environmentalist and photojournalist Paul Jan Hilton said just because it is legal does not mean it is morally right.
"The local Council say it is of low value to wildlife that inhabit that area, but whether it is a small block of land or not, it is all crucial," he said.
"Every time we do clearing it is adding to the bigger picture.
"The model of suburbia needs to be looked at," he said.
"There are a lot of people pissed off about how we are mistreating nature."
Allister Haynes from Noosa based Haynes Consulting Engineers had been contracted by the property owner to conduct the work.
He said the owner is co-operating and complying with all required regulations.
"Council have set very strict regulations regarding fauna safety and protection and an expert has been employed by the property owner to comply," Mr Haynes said.
"The property owner is also co-operating with a local fauna conservation group."