Residents rally to save nature strip against proposed development

By Mitch Gaynor

Maleny residents are seeking urgent amendments to a new development that could see the removal of a 200-metre long nature corridor as well as road widening and increased traffic on a quiet street.

Sunshine Coast Council last week approved an application by BJ Pty Ltd to develop 34 blocks along Plant Street and Bridge Creek Rd. The development was code assessable meaning it did not require public submissions.

Nearly 50 residents turned out at the proposed development site on Saturday, February 12, to sign a petition objecting to the approval and hear the thoughts of local councillor Winston Johnston.

The development approval along Bridge Creek Rd consists of 10 lots ranging up to 15000sqm.

But if developed the road would have to be widened and driveways installed, which would likely require the removal of the nature corridor.

Clive Waring said residents were not objecting to the development – which had undertaken appropriate steps to receive code assessable approval – but that the approval amounted to “environmental destruction” of the nature corridor.

“The community does not object to the suburban plan of building 34 houses on the parcel of land,” he said.

“But we do object to another environmental destruction of an area that is home to wallabies, owls, carpet pythons, echidnas, bandicoots, and a range of birds.

“This forms an important corridor to two parks that the local community have also maintained with Council assistance.”

Local councillor Winston Johnston said the fact it was code assessable meant it would be difficult to amend because there was no public objection period or appeal rights.

But he said pressure from residents including petitions and letters would help.

“I told (the council) in writing and verbally that the subdivision proposal is not acceptable to the residents. And because of the tree planting it is not accessible,” Cr Johnston said.

“The only way we can get the council and the council officers to show that there is significant concern is through petitions and media exposure.”

Cr Johnston said his next step would be contacting the Planning Department to “make the strong community objection really clear” in the hope of securing some amendments to the approved plans.

Those amendments would include securing an internal access road to prevent the destruction of the nature corridor.

According to the development application, “The intensity and scale of the proposed residential subdivision is designed to reflect the surrounding area and maintain the character of the local environment.”

“All identified remnant vegetation and koala habitat is to be retained in situ in proposed Lot 14 with the new Low density residential lots located in excess of 25m from the identified areas.”

Main image: Councillor Winston Johnston talks to residents about the development