Birkdale Progress Association criticises suggestion of Alma Park Zoo relocating to Redlands

NATURE: Pam Spence said koala habitat at Birkdale needed to be preserved.
NATURE: Pam Spence said koala habitat at Birkdale needed to be preserved.

THE Birkdale Progress Association has slammed a proposed zoo on the suburb's Commonwealth land, saying habitat should be maintained for the Redlands' dwindling koala population.

The 80 hectare site on Old Cleveland Road has been tipped as a location for the re-establishment of Alma Park Zoo, which closed its north Brisbane Dakabin facility in 2014. 

Birkdale Progress Association president Pam Spence said the world was moving away from the spectacle of caged animals.

"Do these people who are pushing for this to happen realise that a zoo is where animals are enclosed?" Ms Spence said.

Animals deserve better than being locked up and many people recognise this.

BPA president Pam Spence

A poll by Redland City Bulletin found about one quarter of people were opposed to the zoo. 

Bowman MP Andrew Laming said the zoo could be a game-changer for the Redlands but people who opposed it would also have their views heard. 

Mr Laming said a phone survey of about 2700 people found that about one in five would not support the zoo.

"Not an insignificant minority of people were opposed," Mr Laming said. 

"There's definitely people who don't want a zoo there and we'll be mindful of their views as well."

Ms Spence said wallabies, gliders, lizards and insects shared the habitat with koalas.

Koala habitat was being cleared at a shameful rate and the land should provide an opportunity for tourists to experience animals in their natural habitat, she said.

Ms Spence proposed a koala wildlife hospital be opened on the site and suggested Willard Homestead and a new radio museum on the adjacent lot as alternative tourism drawcards. 

She said the Birkdale Commonwealth land needed to be left as natural bushland for koalas to have a safe, protected home. 

KOALA HABITAT: Council is angling to buy 80 hectares of land in Birkdale.

KOALA HABITAT: Council is angling to buy 80 hectares of land in Birkdale.

Mr Laming said he supported the view that koala habitat should remain and said the zoo could have a focus on koala rehabilitation. 

"The zoo... exists within that koala habitat (and should) act as a haven and a refuge for koalas," he said. 

The zoo could offer new jobs and an economic boost to the region.

"At the moment people are just going past to go to the Gold Coast," he said.

"Under the new arrangements they will potentially stop and stay."

Mr Laming said while the concept of a zoo was being discussed, there was no certainty of its location.

Mayor Karen Williams had previously said council was focussed on acquiring the land and if successful, would engage with the community in deciding on its use.

Ms Spence said for the welfare of all animals, bushland should be preserved as much as possible.

"We don't need to cover it with more built environment," she said.

"Don't we care enough about the future of our unique animals?"