Ormiston koala trees face destruction as locals express anger at Council

More than 30 angry protesters turned out in Ormiston last week to speak against what they felt was Redland City Council's abandonment of an established koala corridor on a block of land marked for development.

The council voted unanimously at its September general meeting to approve the development application for 223-231 Wellington Street, Ormiston, but did not protect 20 koala food trees that stand along the land's southern boundary.

As Redland City Bulletin reported recently, a council spokesman said the trees were not protected because their location conflicted with infrastructure and future housing and had limited east-west connectivity.

Protester Adelia Berridge, whose residential property backs onto the trees, said she felt "gutted" by council's decision, as she had written to Redlands Mayor Karen Williams, Deputy Mayor Alan Beard and Cr Wendy Boglary (Div. 1) in January this year, requesting their support in protecting the trees in any development plans.

"They had plenty of warning that we wanted these trees protected," she said. "There is wildlife in these trees.

"We have (Council's) wildlife officers out here -- they have right of entry onto our property --  and they do the wildlife count regularly. They know this is a live koala habitat."

Nearby resident Barry Yates said it was "irresponsible" of the council to not protect the trees before approving the development application.

"The value of Australian native flora to the area is invaluable," he said.

"What we've seen over the 12 years we've lived in Ormiston is a progressive stripping out of the native flora, and the fauna has gone with it.

"Specifically, the degree of infill that is occurring and the council is promoting is destroying the character of the locality."

Cr Boglary, who voted for the application, attended the protest and acknowledged the residents' anger at claims the development application did not have a public consultation period.

A council spokesman, however, said although the development application was code assessable under the planning scheme, it did not prevent residents from having their say on the application.

"Residents have the opportunity to have their say on all applications before council and several residents did provide feedback on this specific application with four public comments received, which were considered when council made its final decision," he said.

Cr Boglary encouraged residents to "get involved" with the city's planning scheme and to write to the mayor with their requests for increased environmental protection.

Redland City Bulletin attempted to contact the developer to ask about plans for the trees, but no response had been received by the time of going to press.