Trees will be removed in build of Heinemann Road Sports Precinct – RCB

By September 8, 2022 News

By Emily Lowe September 8, 2022

Trees at the Heinemann Road Redlands Coast Regional Sport and Recreation Precinct site will be removed in Council’s master plan. Pictures supplied

A koala advocacy group says Redland City Council’s major sporting project will impact native wildlife, but a Council representative says it plans to protect and preserve as much habitat as possible.
Redland City Council has allocated $15 million in the 2022-23 budget for stage one of the Redlands Coast Regional Sport and Recreation Precinct at Heinemann Road.

A master plan for the site estimates the sports facility elements including 17 playing fields, almost three kilometres of cycling tracks, BMX tracks, parking spaces and a clubhouse would cost about $60 million.

Koala Action Group President Debbie Pointing said Council planned to destroy more than 500 koala habitat trees which would negatively impact the environment.
“Some of the koala habitat proposed for clearing is mapped as being of Local and State significance and exemptions have been used by council to gain approvals to remove it,” she said.
“An active Wedgetail Eagle nest is located right in the middle of the impact area. Construction work will likely result in the pair of birds abandoning this nest in territory they may have had for decades.”

A Redland City Council spokeswoman said Council had been given permission from the State Government to remove the trees but would preserve as many as possible.
“The Queensland Government’s designation of the project as a Significant Community Project allows for removal of trees identified as having local or state significance,” she said.

The spokeswoman said 47 hectares of the 159 hectare site would be used for the precinct, with 112 hectares to receive “minimal improvements” like maintenance and recreational trails.
“This will mean only a minimal number of trees, including some koala habitat trees, are being considered for removal following necessary statutory approvals,” she said.
“As the 47 hectare sport and recreation portion of the site was previously used for grazing, most of the trees to be cleared are isolated and within already-disturbed areas.”

Ms Pointing said she was worried that the use of ratepayer funds to buy the land, were not “appropriate.”
“The community expects that the priority on properties acquired with the Environment Levy is to protect their natural values and to rehabilitate previously degraded areas to create additional habitat for koalas and other wildlife,” she said.

The Council spokeswoman said Environmental Levy funds were used to buy 70 per cent of the Heinemann Road Land as it was that percentage of land that would be retained.
“About 70 per cent of the total cost for the two parcels of land was funded through the Environment Reserve, acknowledging that about 70 per cent of the land is being retained for the land’s environmental values and nature-based recreation,” she said.
“The remainder was funded from the Parks Reserve.
“Wildlife impacted by the precinct’s development will be managed in accordance with best practice and Environmental Management Plans.”

Ms Pointing called on the council to reduce the number of sporting fields and move the BMX trail to an alternative site to save trees.

KAG comment.
More than $5million of ratepayer funded environment levy was used to buy this land even though 70% of the site was zoned ‘Conservation’, therefore was already protected from development.
The Council website states the Environment Levy is to be used to protect areas that, ARE NOT PROTECTED THROUGH COUNCIL’S LAND USE PLANNING POWERS OR LOCAL LAWS.
The current development plan shows more than 500 koala habitat trees in the northern end of the site will be bulldozed, including some of the largest oldest trees in the Redlands.
Is this really what we want our Environment Levy contributions to achieve?