Rare bushland at Eprapah Creek in Victoria Point providing scarce habitat for wallabies, birds and other wildlife is threatened by Redland City Council’s plans for construction of a bridge and pathway which are opposed by the local community.
Redland City Council is proposing to force developers into constructing an unnecessary pedestrian and bike path from a new estate in Thornlands adjacent to Eprapah Creek with a bridge crossing to the Victoria Point Shopping Centre.
The South East Thornlands Structure Plan Submission Review report shows more than 300 objections to this pathway and bridge. Local residents are shocked that this plan disregards the concerns of so many objectors.
Remnant rare lowland coastal forests on the banks of Eprapah Creek are at risk should the proposal proceed.
An existing bike path is located nearby, which this proposed path will duplicate. The proposed path will require a 10m wide swathe of this forest along the creek to be cleared. The surveyed route is highly inappropriate with the northern side riparian vegetation providing the best quality fauna habitat in this reach of the creek.
Against a backdrop of already declining numbers of old growth habitat trees, this proposal will see more removed for the path. Additionally, the creek is subject to damaging erosion which disturbance in this area will only exacerbate.
Land clearing which will be required for the path is not limited to the footprint of the path alone, but also in the surrounding area to provide access to heavy machinery during construction. This includes bringing cranes on site to lift bridge sections for the creek crossing and a barge to float in the creek to drive piles for bridge foundations. These activities will create significant short-term disturbance for the local community as well as longer term impacts on the aquatic ecosystem processes.
Eprapah Creek area provides scarce wildlife habitat
The Eprapah Creek area provides increasingly scarce habitat for wildlife including: red-necked and swamp wallabies, koalas, freshwater turtles, water dragons, native fish, frogs and birds.
A remarkable variety of different birds can be found here including one species, the Little Shrike-thrush, which is otherwise a rare species for the Redlands. The brilliantly coloured and uncommon Azure Kingfisher relies on the part of the creek where the bridge is proposed for foraging habitat, in an urban matrix where good quality riparian habitat is hard to find. Also near the proposed bridge crossing, the nest of an Eastern Yellow Robin was discovered last year.
Birdwatchers use the current track on the south side of the creek for bird walks. Fifty-five different species of birds were noted in spring last year. Many birds are found here as it is a relatively undisturbed area of creek and bushland; a type of habitat uncommon in other parts of South East Queensland, let alone Redland City.
It is important to protect rare sites like this for both their recreational and environmental values, not just for the local community, but also for future benefits from avitourism. Consequently, we have included a link below to an article about the possible economic benefits of birdwatching in the Redlands.
The Redland City Council has sponsored and promoted large community tree planting activities while on the other hand, permitting and planning for the destruction of mature forest which cannot be replaced in our lifetime. Despite the Council’s position on this issue, it is known that the developer and several councillors do not support the construction of this bridge and pathway.
It is with alarm we witness the constant chipping away at so much of our green corridors for inappropriate development, especially when the community has made it very clear they support nature above the prospect of immaterial facilities which are excess to their values for sustainability in areas where they have chosen to live. This project is an unwise use of economic resources and will cause unnecessary destruction of the environment.
Katherine Clark and Dr John T. Moss, Capalaba
Dr Rochelle Steven, BirdLife Southern Queensland
Published 27 October 2016