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SAVING STEVE IRWIN WAY FOREST

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Stella Wiggins

on 26 April 2015

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Transcript of SAVING STEVE IRWIN WAY FOREST

False
premise
The premise that building this facility will stop illegal trail bike riding in our local state forests and National Parks is rejected. This can only be achieved by enforcing the existing law and it could be achieved right now if the Minister simply authorises the policing of known areas of illegal riding.
Some riders will use the facility, many will not. Faced with a choice many will choose to ride unregulated and for free in areas closer to home, such as the Glasshouse Mountains National Parks. Transporting unregistered bikes to the venue and paying entry fees will not be an option available to many young unlicensed riders.

UNSATISFACTORY PROCESS
https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/save-the-iconic-forest-at-the-north-end-of-steve-irwin-way-1
BUILD THE MOTORSPORTS PARK
JUST NOT HERE
Wise use of tax payer funds?
At a time when the Queensland government has made it clear that new infrastructure cannot be afforded until publicly owned assets are sold off, this proposal seems to mysteriously buck the trend.
The business model proposed for the construction of this facility is dependent on the significant injection of tax payer’s dollars at the establishment stage. I fail to see how a novelty sporting facility rates as a higher priority for the use of scarce public funds compared with the sorely needed upgrades to health, education and transport infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast.
With this proposal we the local residents and our local environment will be the losers while one fortunate business will receive a windfall of public finds to establish their private venture on public land.

CHANGE THE
INTERCHANGE
DESIGN


At no stage has there been any opportunity provided for the local community to have a say in regard to this proposal. The first the local community heard of this proposal was when Minister Dickson announced that he was calling for expressions of interest to develop and operate the facility. Currently the Meridan Plains section of the Beerwah state forest functions as a multiple use forest. Apart from the incompatible, unsustainable, unmanaged and often illegal motor cross riding, a diverse range of relatively compatible activities currently occur in this forest. These include apiary, foliage harvesting, sustainable timber harvesting, bush walking, mountain bike and horse riding, jogging, bird watching etc. These user groups have not been consulted about the proposed change in use, where will they go if the facility is built? These sustainable uses could continue to occur alongside the natural processes of the forest that provide important ecosystem services through such valuable natural assets as the palustrine and riverine wetlands that occur in the forest.

The proposal to change the status of this forest to a ‘recreation park’ in favour of one minority user group at the expense of all the above listed users without ANY consultation with local residents and communities is simply put -UNACCEPTABLE.

Previous community consultation that engaged all the major stakeholders through the SEQ regional forestry agreement process recommended that this area to be transitioned from timber harvesting to conservation estate in light of this areas’ considerable ecological values. This process was inclusive, transparent and backed by science.

This is a large parcel of publicly owned open-space that maintains much of its original natural attributes, our local community deserves the right to have a say in how and for what it is used into the future.

WHY SAVE
STEVE IRWIN
WAY
FOREST
and
How

GATEWAY TO
THE HINTERLAND
The forest-lined Steve Irwin way from the Caloundra Road interchange to Landsborough provides a natural backdrop for this popular tourist drive. It underlines the clean green image of, and forms the gateway to the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Any development that erodes this scenic amenity will detract from the appeal of the Sunshine Coast hinterland as a nature based tourism destination. People come here to escape the noise and fast pace of the city, to experience nature at its best.
Environmental Impact
Remnant vegetation clearing associated with new track construction; track widening and facility construction will result in significant habitat loss and ongoing disturbance to the species listed above as well as the many other ‘non-threatened’ animal & plant species that occur in the area. The construction and operation of this facility will result in the ongoing disturbance to both the habitats and species that occur throughout the site. Even if ‘buffer zones’ are instated, edge effects, noise disturbances, erosion and sediment impacts will result in a spiralling decline in forest health and carrying capacity of these habitats.

Operator to ensure compliance with SPRP’s during development and operation

The responsibility for protecting the environmental values of this site and managing the potential impacts will largely be the responsibility of the operator. This self-regulatory approach is simply unacceptable. Management actions to achieve compliance will often be cost inhibitive. The temptation will always be to avoid costly compliance works such as erosion and sediment control works in order to improve the profitability. The values of this site are too important to risk. What actually happens in the event of non-compliance with state planning regulatory provisions? What bond is the proponent willing to give up to the community to ensure that this irreplaceable natural asset is not irreversibly damaged?

Noise
Impacts
The operation of hundreds of trail bikes and other motor vehicles generates significant noise (especially 2-stroke bikes). Nearby residents and businesses on Old Caloundra Road, Steve Irwin Way and Hapgood roads will suffer significant noise impacts. Depending on wind direction, residents and businesses as far away as Glenview, Mooloolah Valley, Palm View and Landsborough will also be subjected to regular noise pollution.
Better locations
are available
Alternative, less sensitive, more suitable sites are available throughout the region. Many are better suited and have more compatible physical and geographical attributes for such a facility.

In the local area numerous alternative sites that are significantly less sensitive in terms of environmental issues exist. For example:-

• The pine plantation area immediately to the south of the proposed site.

• The pine plantation area north of Roys Road.

• The pine plantation areas contained in Beerburrum east State forest (east of the Bruce highway).

Air quality
issues
Dust clouds generated from intensive motor sport activity will also have an impact both on the natural environment and local residents and communities. This will be especially problematic during the dry months of the year.

Government vegetation mapping (Regional ecosystems) shows large areas of regional ecosystems 12.9-10.16 (Rainforest) and areas of 12.3.1 (Gallery rainforest).
Numerous threatened species (listed under both state & federal legislation) occur in the forest.
Matters of National Significance EPBC Act (1999). The presence of these matters requires the proponent to refer this development to the Commonwealth government for assessment according with the requirements outlined in the EPBC Act (1999). The relevant matters are as follows:-
• Presence of and likely impacts on a critically endangered ecological community -Lowland subtropical rainforest.
• Presence of and likely impacts on the vulnerable listed Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) population.
• Presence of and likely impacts on the vulnerable listed Wallum sedge frog (Litoria olongburensis) population.
• Presence of likely impacts on the local population of endangered Giant-barred frogs (Mixophyes iteratus)
• Presence of and likely impacts on feeding habitat for the vulnerable Grey-headed flying fox

Matters of state significance - there are also a number of matters of state significance that will be adversely impacted should this proposal proceed and require compliance with the Nature Conservation Act (1994). These are as follows:-
• Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)
• Wallum froglet (Crinia tinnula)
• Green-thighed frog (Litoria brevipalmata)
• Elf Skink (Erotoscincus graciloides)
• Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) and host vine (Pararistilochia praevenosa)
• Glossy-black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)
• Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaeholandiae)
• Square-tailed kite (Lophoictinia isura)

Other matters of ecological significance
• State government mapping identifies areas of essential habitat with this forest.
• There is an abundance of old growth habitat trees in the forest that provide habitat for both sedentary and seasonal hollow dependant fauna. These are an ecological asset of regional significance.
• This site is mapped as having very high nature conservation management priorities (SEQ NRM Regional Plan).
• This site is mapped as having high ecological significance for terrestrial and wetland areas (QLD Government HES mapping)

According to Biodiversity Planning Assessment (v3.5) this remnant forest:-
• Forms part of a bioregional corridor
• Contains a regional ecosystem that is one of the largest of its type in the SEQ bioregion
• Has ecosystem diversity in the top third quartile
• & contains core habitat for priority taxa
http://iconicforest.wix.com/sunshinecoast
Clearing of koala habitat for the interchange
- The forest contains large stands of Blue gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis ), Swamp mahogany (E. robusta), Tallowood (E. microcorys) and Grey Gum (E.propinqua) all key food species for Koalas.
- Indicative scratch marks on tree trunks,
- Sightings by neighbouring property owner and recent records by Caloundra based Sunshine
Coast Koala rescue and Australia Zoo staff confirm the presence of Koalas in the forest.
Centuries old habitat trees - There are a substantial number of old growth trees throughout the site. These trees are significant habitat features in the local landscape. They provide nesting opportunities for a wide range of hollow dependant species. These trees were standing tall over the forest when Captain Cook sailed past and named the Glasshouse Mountains, they cannot be replaced. Threatened species such as the Powerful owl and locally declining species such as the Greater Glider depend on such habitat trees for breeding.
There are also a number of large dead stags within the area to be impacted; these habitat trees are ideal nesting habitat for the vulnerable Glossy-black cockatoo that utilises the Alocasuarina spp in this forest for feeding.
27 March 2015
Show support for Mal Brough's plans which will result in an 80% reduction in forest clearing!
https://www.facebook.com/MalBroughMP
Sign the community.run petition:
https://twitter.com/MalBrough_MP
MESSAGE MAL
534 hectare motorsports facilty plus massive road interchange
This petition was presented to the government on the 4th August - here is the reply from Minister Dickson.
Video created in April 2014 to summarize the motorsports complex threat to the forest.
http://www.scec.org.au/two-massive-projects-one-special-forest-time-to-save-it/
Koala scratches are present on trees all throughthe forest
12.3.1 Nationally recognized critically endangered rainforest is located through all of the gullies in the forest between the quarry track and the main ridge track
A REPORT commissioned by the State Government found that land in the Mooloolah Logging Area was unsuitable for a proposed motorcycle park that would have a significant environmental impact.

The report's damning findings, which have been suppressed under Right To Information legislation, are at odds with claims by National Parks Minister Steve Dickson, who has talked down the 570ha site's environmental values

"This is not pristine rainforest,'' Mr Dickson said when announcing the motorcycle proposal.

"This is a degraded former logging area. They've been riding in here for 30 years.''

However, the report found the Mooloolah Logging Area to be highly sensitive in terms of its ecological habitat and biodiversity.

The park is also at odds with the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme and is likely to require assessment under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The report also found that the limited size of the land due to the terrain did not lend itself to a regional level off-road motorcycling park.

"A desirable site would be larger, with less of a gradient, with previous clearing and disturbance and with less ecological values,'' the report stated.

The report is also at odds with Mr Dickson's claim that "the area already has a number of logging trails, which can easily be converted for different types of off-road motorcycling, meaning there will be little impact on the surrounds".

Instead it found that a number of existing tracks were not passable in all weather and that costly erosion control measures may be required.

Sunshine Coast Environment Council was denied its request to read the document through Right To Information legislation. It ultimately paid nearly $700 in fees to be given just seven of 5000 pages identified as relating to the proposal.

Most of the those seven pages were drawn directly from Sunshine Coast Council's Difficult To Locate Sports, copies of which are freely available.

Mr Dickson failed to answer questions put to him on Monday by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

A spokesman however, referring to the Right To Information decision, said the release of information related to matters under consideration would not be appropriate.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell, asked if he shared the report's environmental concerns and whether he had urged investigation of other sites, answered through a spokesman.

"There is an EOI process underway and as such it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage."

Sunshine Coast Environment Council campaigner Narelle McCarthy said that any way you looked at it, the MLA was the wrong site.

She said SCEC recognised the need for an off-road motor sports park but it had to be in the right location.

"The million dollar question is why here?'' Ms McCarthy said.

"The response (in Parliament) to Peter Wellington's questions and our petition to simply cite the location as having good access in itself doesn't cut it.

"The government has fundamentally ignored a balanced and definitive report."

Ms McCarthy said the government had also ignored a 2012 report by the Department of Environment and Resource Management detailing the conservation significance of the Mooloolah Logging Area.

"Our objective is to have the proposal reconsidered and a transparent and proper assessment done of a suitable site,'' she said.

"The government could start by picking up on the work done by the Sunshine Coast Council.''

The government report obtained by the Sunshine Coast Daily found the "site could possibly accommodate an off-road motorcycling facility that includes the desired facilities, other than the full 50km of endurance tracks".

However, it was highly recommended that a number of detailed reports be undertaken.
WALK AMONGST THE GIANTS
LET MAL BROUGH AND MARK MCARDLE KNOW THAT YOU SUPPORT THEIR IDEAS FOR MINIMIZING THE IMPACT OF THE NEW ROAD INTERCHANGE ON THIS FOREST
WALK THROUGH THE RAINFOREST AND EUCALYPT FOREST
Hon. Mark McArdle
Member for Caloundra
07 5491 2780
caloundra@parliament.qld.gov.au
118 Bulcock St, Caloundra QLD 4551
https://www.facebook.com/MalBroughMP?fref=ts
Message Mal
DEMAND THAT THIS FOREST BE GIVEN ITS PLANNED NATIONAL PARK STATUS
#TellMal
1986 map
map of all the tracks
mud map
USEFUL
LEAFLETS

MAY 2013
MARCH 2013
Visit Mark
MOTORSPORTS COMPLEX
THREAT
ESSENTIAL WETLANDS
KOALA HABITAT
Save the Iconic Forest at the North End of Steve Irwin Way
Queensland’s Department of Transport & Main Roads plans to upgrade the Bruce Highway/Caloundra Road Interchange, commencing in 2014. The current plan will result in 24 to 30 hectares of extremely valuable forest (south west of the interchange) being clear felled. The remaining forest (in excess of 800 hectares) which forms part of a corridor of forest to the south will be severely impacted by fragmentation and edge effect. It will be divided by wide and busy roads. Huge amounts of fill are planned to be brought in to raise the road 8 metres above the ground. The hydrology and pH of the wetlands will be irreversibly changed. This will lead to the decline and loss of the unique iconic ecological values of this forest. This loss cannot be offset – an alternative road design is needed to avoid this destruction.

NATURAL TREASURES IN THIS FOREST

• Koala habitat, confirmed koala sightings and tree scratch marks
• Critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest
• Unique wetlands
• Endangered frogs - including the Giant barred frog and Wallum froglet
• Coxen fig parrot sightings
• Rare and important butterflies - including Gahnia clarkeii and Richmond Birdwing butterflies
• Centuries old growth habitat trees in abundance - essential habitat area for Gliders, Cockatoos, Parrots and Owls.
• Large dead stag trees – essential nesting sites for the Glossy-black cockatoos
• Rare plants - such as the Caustis blakei

TOURISM, RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL VALUES

• Wetlands that filter the rivers for our local fisheries
• Walking trails through a historic pioneer cemetery and site of an Aboriginal trade route, past giant trees that exceed 300 years in age and deep in to ancient rainforest.
• Gateway to the beautiful hinterland rainforests - a taste of the ancient rainforests that still endure the centuries

HOW CAN YOU SAVE THIS FOREST?
1. Write or email your concerns to your local politicians.

2. Write to the local papers expressing your concerns.

3. Keep up to date and sign our petition using the website and facebook page:

www.is.gd/savetheforest

800 HA NATIVE FOREST
RAINFOREST
ESSENTIAL WILDLIFE CORRIDOR
VULNERABLE
AND
ENDANGERED
SPECIES
WALKING TRAILS
CENTURIES OLD GROWTH HABITAT TREES
OUR FUTURE LOCAL NATIONAL PARK
Including the critically endangered ecological community -Lowland subtropical rainforest. 12.3.1
Unique wetlands that filter the Mooloolah River for our fisheries
A formal process was in place to turn this forest in to national park once the leases in the forest had expired.
• Walking trails through a historic pioneer cemetery and site of an Aboriginal trade route, past giant trees that exceed 300 years in age and deep in to ancient rainforest.
• Gateway to the beautiful hinterland rainforests - a taste of the ancient rainforests that still endure the centuries
VISIT THE
FOREST

REMOVE OTHER
THREATS

According to Biodiversity Planning Assessment (v3.5) this remnant forest forms part of a bioregional corridor.
Likely presence of Coxn fig parrot nesting hollows!
The proposed development occurs in an area of native forest that contains significant ecological values. These values are recognised in Commonwealth law, state law as well as in various state and local planning and policy documents.

There appears to have been a deliberate attempt by the government to downplay the ecological values of the site, for example the tender document (Expressions of interest, Development and operation of an off-road motorcycling facility in the Mooloolah logging area, Beerwah State Forest) in the property information section lists the various vegetation communities found within the site. However it neglects to mention that any rainforest occurs on the site. This is despite the fact the government’s own vegetation mapping (Regional ecosystems) shows large areas of regional ecosystems 12.9-10.16 (Rainforest) and areas of 12.3.1 (Gallery rainforest).
The tender documents also fail to mention the fact that numerous threatened species (listed under both state & federal legislation) occur in the forest. Furthermore in an attempt to downplay the ecological values of the area Minister Dickson has on numerous occasions referred to the site as the ‘degragaded’ (sic) Mooloolah Logging area’.
Matters of National Significance EPBC Act (1999). - there are a number of matters of national significance that will be adversely impacted should this proposal proceed. The presence of these matters requires the proponent to refer this development to the Commonwealth government for assessment according with the requirements outlined in the EPBC Act (1999). The relevant matters are as follows:-
• Presence of and likely impacts on a critically endangered ecological community -Lowland subtropical rainforest.
• Presence of and likely impacts on the vulnerable listed Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) population.
• Presence of and likely impacts on the vulnerable listed Wallum sedge frog (Litoria olongburensis) population.
• Presence of likely impacts on the local population of endangered Giant-barred frogs (Mixophyes iteratus)
• Presence of and likely impacts on feeding habitat for the vulnerable Grey-headed flying fox
Matters of state significance - there are also a number of matters of state significance that will be adversely impacted should this proposal proceed and require compliance with the Nature Conservation Act (1994). These are as follows:-

• Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)
• Wallum froglet (Crinia tinnula)
• Green-thighed frog (Litoria brevipalmata)
• Elf Skink (Erotoscincus graciloides)
• Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) and host vine (Pararistilochia praevenosa)
• Glossy-black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)
• Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaeholandiae)
• Square-tailed kite (Lophoictinia isura)

Other matters of ecological significance
• State government mapping identifies areas of essential habitat with this forest.
• There is an abundance of old growth habitat trees in the forest that provide habitat for both sedentary and seasonal hollow dependant fauna. These are an ecological asset of regional significance. Even if the majority of them are retained the noise and disturbance levels will severely limit their viability as ongoing breeding sites.
• This site is mapped as having very high nature conservation management priorities (SEQ NRM Regional Plan).
• This site is mapped as having high ecological significance for terrestrial and wetland areas (QLD Government HES mapping)
According to Biodiversity Planning Assessment (v3.5) this remnant forest:-
• Forms part of a bioregional corridor
• Contains a regional ecosystem that is one of the largest of its type in the SEQ bioregion
• Has ecosystem diversity in the top third quartile
• & contains core habitat for priority taxa

Ecological Impact

6 aboriginal scar trees have recently been identified in the section of forest to be impacted by the rod interchange
Full transcript