False hope for campaigners
IT was a case of false hope for conservationists around the region after Bundaberg Sugar withdrew its proposal for a housing development at Moore Park Beach on a federal government website.
The Bundaberg Sugar proposal for the $45 million, 128-dwelling project, bordering Gengers Road, was withdrawn from the federal government’s Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website on January 22.
But Bundaberg Sugar’s general manager of administration Rod Young said it was nothing more than an administrative matter that made the company withdraw elements of the application.
“We withdrew the first of the residential referrals to combine it with the sewage treatment referral so that all information associated with the development was part of the same package,” he said.
“Bundaberg Sugar is strongly continuing to move ahead with the Moore Park Beach development application.”
Bundaberg Regional Council senior planner Richard Jenner said nothing about the application or the assessment process had changed at a local government level.
“We’ve had no indication that the application will be withdrawn at local government assessment,” he said.
Conservationists are fighting the project, claiming the development will destroy coastal rainforest that is home to rare bird species including the Coxen’s fig-parrot and the black-breasted button quail.
Bundaberg Bird Observer Club president Trevor Quested said he still hoped the significance of saving the coastal rainforest was pursued by the community.
“If we cut it down it will be gone forever,” he said.
“There’s plenty of cleared land for development around Bundaberg, without this senseless destruction of remnant rainforest.
“There’s no reason why we should do anything with it — we should leave it as it is.
“A lot of it is endemic to our area; it’s part of our heritage and the people in power should preserve this.”
Avid bird watcher Bill Moorhead said he wanted to see the area become a national park.
“They stopped Traveston Dam because of the lungfish. Well, the black-breasted button quail is equally as endangered,” he said.
Mr Moorhead conceded he would not expect Bundaberg Sugar to simply hand the land over to the community.
“It should be purchased for a fair market value and preserved as a national park,” he said.