Mayor believes developer has 'every right' to bulldoze

A young koala was found wandering through Henderson Park bushland that was bulldozed.
A young koala was found wandering through Henderson Park bushland that was bulldozed. Robyne Cuerel

THE Fraser Coast Mayor and his deputy are at odds over a developer who bulldozed koala habitat at Tinana.

In contrast to his deputy's comments earlier this week, Mayor Gerard O'Connell says he believes the developer of a Tinana housing estate has "every right" to continue to bulldoze down what has been described as pristine koala habitat.

Koala rescue volunteers estimate two hectares of native bushland in Henderson Park were affected when a dozer driver started knocking down trees without warning on Tuesday.

The work has been put on hold by the Local and State Governments as they investigate allegations that the work was in breach of the vegetation clearing permit.

Deputy Mayor George Seymour has said he was disappointed by the clearing.

"It's beyond me why the previous council approved that area for development," he said.

But Cr O'Connell said Belela Pty Ltd, owned by one of Maryborough's biggest property developers Ron Blyth, was issued with the permit in 2011 as part of stage four of the development.

"The developer has every right to continue with the project," he said.

"It's been properly assessed, it's been given development approval.

"The issue here is whether the developer removed the vegetation in accordance with the clearing permit."

Cr O'Connell said he did not agree with Cr Seymour's opinion that the council should carry out audits on past development approvals to prevent a similar situation.

"I don't see the need to go back," he said.

He said the issue of koala corridors on the Fraser Coast would be addressed at a coming forum as part of the council's combined planning scheme.

The story so far

  • Conservationists say 25ha of undeveloped bushland is an important koala habitat
  • Approvals for stage four of the development issued in 2007 with clearing approved in 2011
  • Council investigating whether clearing breached permit
  • Council working to ensure more koalas are not released on the land "to avoid further stress to the animals"

Topics:  clearing development fraser coast regional council george seymour gerard o'connell koala maryborough mayor tiaro

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