JULY 27 2020 – 3:30PM
AFTER years of back and forth, a plan to increase regulated protection for Redlands wildlife corridors has been scrapped on a split council vote.
PROTECTIONS GONE: Division 1 Cr Wendy Boglary says environmental protections in the Redlands are being eroded.
The Wildlife Connections Plan identified important wildlife corridors and actions for protecting and rehabilitating them.
In 2018, councillors voted to adopt the WCP and amend the City Plan to reflect its findings, which would give regulatory effect to some aspects of the plan.
After going to the state government twice for review, the amendment came before council in a confidential session in June, with councillors voting on whether to send it back to the state government for a third time. It would later have gone out to the community for consultation.
The vote was split evenly, with mayor Karen Williams using her deciding vote to veto the amendment.
A council spokesman said council was lobbying the state government to reinstate habitat removed in the state koala strategy, most of which duplicated the WCP.
Deputy Mayor Julie Talty said it made sense to wait for this strategy to be finished.
“The state’s koala conservation strategy and mapping carries greater weight and so the community and councillors should see this detail first to avoid duplication,” she said.
But Cr Wendy Boglary said the amendment should have had the chance to go to the community so residents could understand and have an input on environmental protections in the Redlands.
“If, after community consultation, there was clear message that the community was satisfied with the existing level of protection I would accept that,” she said.
“In the last customer survey, residents had lower trust in local council and they were disappointed in … the protection of our environment. Here was our opportunity to be transparent and include our residents on that very topic and council stopped it.”
Cr Boglary said scrapping the amendment was a further erosion of environmental protections in the Redlands, after the adoption of the “worst City Plan in south-east Queensland” in 2018.
She said incorporating the WCP into the City Plan was important after changes meant cleared areas that were part of wildlife corridors or other enhancement areas were not protected. This problem was also reflected in state koala mapping.
“Areas of valuable habitat are now not protected or have a reduced protection,” she said.
The council spokesman said a variety of codes in the City Plan helped to secure viable and resilient wildlife corridors.
Tree clearing in rural parts of the city was also a concern for Cr Boglary, with 2500 square metres of clearing – with compensatory planning – allowed for all vacant rural-zoned properties, compared with the previous rule which went by property size.
The spokesman said council was committed to protecting local vegetation.