“For every tree cut down during these developments, a new tree or trees must be planted in a suitable location,” Cr Jamieson said.
“For every tree cut down during these developments, a new tree or trees must be planted in a suitable location,” Cr Jamieson said. Ben Beaden

Koala funds will help to offset road

DEVELOPMENTS like a Bruce Highway upgrade that cut a swathe through valuable habitat does not have to mean the end of the road for koala survival thanks to almost

$1 million worth of federally funded offsets at Verrierdale.

According to Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, payment is to compensate for the impact of unavoidable development and to "turn a negative into a positive".

"For every tree cut down during these developments, a new tree or trees must be planted in a suitable location," Cr Jamieson said.

"In this instance, the federally-funded Bruce Hwy project, connecting Frizzo Rd with Sippy Creek Rd at Palmview on the Sunshine Coast required an environmental offset.

"Because that project area was mapped as likely to support koalas, for every tree cut down, five have to be planted in an area which could also support koalas.

"Thanks to the flora and fauna assessments that are carried out as part of Sunshine Coast Council's environment levy reserve purchases, we know there is koala activity on this Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve, making it an ideal receiving site for this $970,000 offset," he said.

Queensland Senator James McGrath and Member for Noosa Glen Elmes were delighted the finding would see the planting of more than 7000 koala habitat trees on 9.3ha of the 252ha environmental reserve. The cash injection also covers costs including planning for the project, planting trees, undertaking maintenance over the next five years and land access.

"This koala offset project will see any koala habitat adversely affected by the road project restored at another suitable location," Mr Elmes said. "The offset works are being funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Queensland State Government Department of Transport and Main Roads and Sunshine Coast Council," Mr Elmes said.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the council purchased the reserve with environment levy funds in August 2013.

"Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve represents one of the most important wetland areas left on the Sunshine Coast," Cr McKay said.