Old pine plantation sprouting new wildlife habitat

Published 10:00am 18 February 2022

Old pine plantation sprouting new wildlife habitat
Words by Jodie Powell

More than 230ha in former pine plantation land will be restored as native wildlife habitat as part of a 2500-dwelling development at Morayfield.

The Dillon Rd-Oakey Flat Rd- Jacko Place land was used as a pine plantation until the early 2000s before being subdivided.

Now, developer LendLease plans to build about 2500 homes, as well as a 300sqm neighbourhood hub for retail and commercial outlets, a district recreation park and 10 smaller parks, and provision for public transport.

New wildlife corridor

Moreton Bay Regional Council approved the application this week, welcoming the developer’s commitment to native wildlife corridors and imposing a number of conditions.

The plan also drew praise from Christine West, who spoke in favour of LendLease’s application at the Council meeting, saying a group of residents had been advocating for responsible development for the past five years.

“It’s not about stopping development, it’s about development done differently,” Ms West says.

“Pine Valley has preserved a significant wildlife corridor by designing a central park.

“This development design is ensuring no koalas will be land-locked.”

Restoring pine plantation

Mayor Peter Flannery says as part of the approval for the planned Pine Valley community, 235ha will be given to Council for wildlife habitat, with a further 10ha turned into parkland.

“The old Morayfield pine plantation saw hectares of native habitat razed for timber farms,” he says.

“(This) decision will see a huge parcel of that land returned back to nature, and protected by Council.”

The decision is part of a push by council to “go green as it grows”, protecting the region’s environment while accommodating thousands of families eager to move to Moreton Bay.

The new parcel of native habitat links with another 220ha of land being converted for wildlife conservation in Moorina, creating more than 400ha of habitat for koalas, kangaroos and other native animals.

“Under the conditions imposed by council, not only will this land be revegetated but we’ll also see important infrastructure installed to regrow native wildlife populations in the area,” Mayor Flannery says.

Lifeline for native animals

LendLease will build fauna rope bridges and underpasses, nest boxes, koala fencing and undertake restoration of riparian, waterway and wetland habitats under the development conditions.

Division 12 Councillor Tony Latter welcomed the decision, saying the work will build on efforts by Council in recent years to protect native wildlife and create new habitat.

“In just the last few years, council has planted 80,000 trees, built 10,000 metres of koala fencing and dozens of crossings for animals to safely move between habitat,” Cr Latter says.

“It is fantastic to see the offset site on Moorina Rd, Moorina is less than 4km from the Pine Valley site, and is adjoining another 543-acre offset site.

“This has the potential to be a significant koala and wildlife conservation area of over 1000 acres.”

Mayor Flannery says as part of the approval for Pine Valley, conditions are also in place to require public transport connections, upgrades to local roads and intersections and financial contributions from the developer towards future park infrastructure.

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