Build a Wildlife Corridor to Save Our Koalas
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A planning application has been submitted to council to develop an area of bushland in Bellbird Park. The area comprising 34 hectares is zoned low density housing yet the plans show block sizes as small as 300 sqm. It would appear from the drawings that the land will be cleared with no remaining mature gums or wildlife pockets apart from the area near the creek which is flood prone.
I have lived in Bellbird Park since 1995. When we bought our property the area was described by real estate agents as Leafy Bellbird Park. Since then there have been many changes, some good and some not so. Bellbird Park is no longer referred to as Leafy. The character of the area is changing and as a consequence the suburb is losing its unique charm.
One of my biggest concerns is the impact on the local wildlife. I have actively encouraged wildlife onto my property, planting only native trees, installing nest boxes and supplementing the feeding of many native birds. All this I was encouraged to do, as a participant in Ipswich Council’s Habitat Gardens Program. The trees I have planted were on advice from the staff at council’s nursery. They are all trees that encourage koalas (declared vulnerable), glossy black cockatoos (declared vulnerable) and other native birds, native bees and butterflies. I am saddened that if the development goes ahead the native animals will not have access to this vital food source and the birds will have no suitable nesting habitat and disappear as well. The area is also home to the powerful owl (declared vulnerable). Some of the native animals I see on a regular basis are koalas, swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos. The kangaroos have become common since the development in Jones Road displaced them. Where they will go now is a concern. There is no bushland nearby that they can access without crossing busy roads and therefore presenting a danger to themselves and vehicles. Fragmentation of their habitat will result in the loss of food sources, suitable breeding partners and likely extinction of species in this area.
The ecological impact report states passive evidence of koalas with only a small number of gums having koala scratch marks. This report failed to take into account the number of residents along this part of Bellbird Park who have mature gums on their properties which are regularly visited by koalas. I have mature gums on my property which have recent koalas scratch marks on them. This important food source will be cut off from the koalas if the development goes ahead as planned.
Not mentioned in the report are the microbats which are regularly seen at dawn and dusk in this area. They are essential for maintaining a healthy environment by eating many pests including disease carrying mosquitoes. Their loss will be a tragedy.
An alternative would be for council to consider ruling that the area running along the back of Fiona St be turned into a wildlife corridor. There is a small creek which captures the run off from the storm water drain which surely cannot be built over. The sewerage pipe runs underground along the back of the houses. Again, this pipe surely cannot be built over. If it is deemed not housing appropriate land then maybe council could purchase this strip of land and give it over to one of the Wildlife organisations to maintain.
I am appealing to Ipswich Council to show some compassion and kindness to the native animals who are bit by bit being displaced and to show that Ipswich Council are serious about protecting native fauna.
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