LOCAL KOALA conservationists are urging the public to express their views on plans by the developer of Kings Forest to alter their koala plan, in what they believe will hinder future Tweed Coast koala survival.
Leda, the developer of Kings Forest, submitted an application to the Department of Planning in June to modify their approval with a new Koala Plan of Management (KPOM), that includes changes to koala habitat offsets, koala fencing and fauna underpasses as well as removing traffic calming devices, and is currently on public exhibition for community input.
Team Koala president Jenny Hayes said the developer is “trying to weasel out of their commitments” and the previous koala plan had the “ bare minimum requirements for koala survival”.
The new plans includes planting secondary rather than primary koala food trees in cleared areas which Ms Hayes said “are of little benefit to the koalas”.
She also said the plans do not include planting offset trees in either cleared or disturbed areas.
“The east-west corridor has already been watered down,” she said.
“Now the developer wants to water it down even further which will be of no benefit to the koalas.
“The current corridor is a minimum of 100 metres and the developer wants to make it 50 metres which is of little benefit to the koalas.”
The modification also includes removing the requirement to plant koala food trees on a 27-hectare parcel of land within the Cudgen Nature Reserve, which was part of the initial project approval as well as changing the number and location of koala fencing and underpasses in an aim to exclude koalas from coming into contact with humans.
“So many people from this community are just going to feel completely betrayed by this developer who claims that community trust is important to them,” Ms Hayes said.
“After years of widespread opposition from the community they were finally given permission on the basis of certain koala-friendly measures. Things like planting Primary food trees so they had food, 100 metre corridors so they had some chance of moving safely and fences on both sides.
“Now they have permission they are trying to withdraw from their promises and commitments.”
Ms Hayes said Team Koala representatives will be at Casuarina Shopping Village this Saturday and Sunday (July 15 and 16).
“We are very happy to help members of the public object quickly and easily,” she said.
To have your say visit the major projects website at: http://www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=8334