Koalas threatened by Ormiston College expansion plans

Ormiston College

Ormiston is a great place to live…right?

Residents and families embrace the eco-friendly lifestyle and support the natural affinity our suburb and Council have towards protecting wildlife – particularly Koalas. 

Everybody, young or old, loves Koalas…especially in the wild. Even the Redland City Council has an image of a Koala on its corporate logo. 

We recognise in today’s competitive marketplace commercial progress is essential, but regrettably, it has unavoidable consequences; so it’s a delicate balance between reality and what makes a place liveable. 

In the words of Sir David Attenborough “we have to learn to cohabitate with nature, or we’ll be the big losers.” In other words, common sense has to prevail for the greater good.

The latest report from Redlands Coastal Koala Watch suggests Ormiston is the number #1 sighting suburb for Koalas according to their database.

With that in mind, we’d like to address some marketing paraphernalia recently received from the Ormiston College.

Ormiston College Master Plan proposal

The College is introducing their extensive Master Plan proposal. The redevelopment includes; new multi use buildings, sports grounds, aquatic centre, indoor multipurpose courts, cricket pitch, grandstand etc…and the list goes on.

It’s called the Ormiston College Master Plan proposal.

It’s a massive project that could impact residents and wildlife for many, many years. However, there seems to be an inexplicable oversight in the proposal that requires closer examination. 

Prima facie, it appears that some of the land the College is proposing to redevelop and build-on may impinge upon existing Koala priority zones and core habitat areas, although to be fair, it’s very difficult to accurately ascertain this from the photograph in the marketing brochure residents received.

It’s our understanding, Koala priority zones and core Koala habitat cannot be built on under any circumstances. Where applicable, homeowners must comply with these Council restrictions and regulations if purchasing real estate in Ormiston.

Furthermore, back in January 2021, we believe a development application from Ormiston College was rejected by Redlands City Council as the site was situated in a Koala priority zone and habitat area under Planning Regulation 2017 Schedule 10, Part 10, Division 2, Section 16A. 

These aforementioned regulations fall under the governance of the Redland City Council.

Fast-forward to today, it seems that Ormiston College is applying for a proposed redevelopment plan through the Queensland government; it’s called a Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) provision that goes directly to the Minister of State Development, Local Government and Planning. 

If the MID is successful, we believe the College can effectively bypass the Council’s environmental zoning and habitat protection overlays. 

By definition, Koala priority zones and core habitat areas are just that! Full stop. To suggest otherwise, is nonsensical and may undo the amazing wildlife work that’s been achieved to-date by so many.

Recently Ms Debbie Pointing, President of the Koala Action Group saw and photographed two Koalas on College grounds. Obviously, there’s sure to be more of these unique animals living in this habitat zone.

Koalas on land that Ormiston College is proposing to develop – Photos: KAG

Also, the Australian Koala Foundation has reservations regarding the redevelopment, because it appears to encroach on Koala mapping areas.

The Redland City Bulletin, recently published a story on the College’s proposed redevelopment. This story appeared on the front page of the February 22nd Edition.

Fortunately, it’s early days yet! There are six stages of the MID process and public submissions are permitted.

We trust the College Board Members and faculty, along with the students and their parents, many of whom would live in the Redlands area, understand the ramifications of the MID and the enormity of what it entails?

Don’t simply assume that everything is okay as sometimes there’s more to the story than meets the eye. 

The protection of our wildlife is central and integral to the lifestyle Ormiston offers its residents and indeed, the College has championed this eco-friendly principle. 

It’s fair to say, Ormiston College is entitled to enhance its commercial potential as they see fit, but, it can’t be at the expense of Australian wildlife we all hold so dear.  

We have tried to meet with the Headmaster of Ormiston College, Mr Brett Webster, to get his perspective on the Master Plan, yet sadly, with no success to date.

We will keep trying.

As a closing reminder to us all, Koalas were added to the endangered species list last February and our goal should be to reverse that trend before it’s too late.

Gary Collins

Proposed Ormiston College master plan shown on brochure

Redlands2030 – 10 March 2023

0 thoughts on “Koalas threatened by Ormiston College expansion plans”

  1. I really hope that they will have good sense and they will not destroy this critical koala habitat. This Koala priority zone and core Koala habitat must be protected.
    Ormiston College please teach to respect the koala’s home, you are lucky to see them in the wild.
    Be serious at the local, state and federal levels about saving critical koala habitat. Extinction is now.
    Thank you.
    The world is watching.
    Kind regards.
    Paola Torti
    Italy

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