GONE: Grand Scribbly Gum forest has been clear-felled.
GONE: Grand Scribbly Gum forest has been clear-felled. Contibuted

Biodiversity felled for Peregian Springs housing estate

A 2005 Maroochy Shire Council decision to approve the massive Peregian Springs development generates anger more than a decade later as critical habitat continues to be lost.

A vigil today from 12.30pm at the round-about entrance to Peregian Springs Coles shopping complex will mark the clear felling immediately before Christmas of an area of Grand Scribbly Gum forest south of Coles once home to black cockatoos, sugar gliders and a range of other wildlife.

It will now become 36 housing lots as well as further residential or commercial development.

Already lost have been some of the most biodiverse areas of vegetation in south- east Queensland and much of the wildlife corridors meant to provide some level of protection for wildlife.

Questioned about the level of land cleared and the purpose, whether spotters and wildlife catchers were deployed, the level of notice provided to residents and the volume of land remaining to be developed, a spokesman for parent company Aveo yesterday said only that "all work was carried out in accordance with development approvals".

The lament for lost scribbly gum - some of which are thought to be up to 400 years old or older - echoes similar concerns expressed in 2008 when more than eight hectares of the trees were cleared as part of the Coolum Ridges - later The Ridges at Peregian Springs - development.

Former federal Fairfax MP Alex Somlyay, a long-term Peregian Springs resident, has described the latest clearing as atrocious.

HERITAGE SHOCK: A wildlife corridor has been bulldozed.
HERITAGE SHOCK: A wildlife corridor has been bulldozed. Contributed

"I can't recall any environmental approvals relating to that area," he said.

"It is under a National Heritage Trust listing and I assumed it was protected."

Mr Somlyay said he had former Coalition environment minister Robert Hill sit down with the developers after every piece of land from the Maroochy River to the Noosa hinterland had been placed under National Heritage listing. He said the approval was signed off based on conditions that maintained a natural wildlife corridor between the golf club's sixth and seventh fairways and next to the motorway.

"Somehow, houses have been allowed between the two fairways,'' Mr Somlyay said. "One day there was beautiful bushland, now everything's gone. It's just logs."

Greens candidate for Division Nine, Angela Wilson, has organised today's vigil.

The intensive care nurse and committed environmentalist said the damage had been done but could not be allowed to pass unacknowledged.

She said what many had thought was a conservation area had been cleared to the point that just tea tree remained on flood-prone land.

Ms Wilson said high density urbanisation was killing off much of what made the Sunshine Coast special.

What do you think? Tell us: letters@scnews.com.au