Redland City Council in early talks to buy Ormiston koala habitat after outcry over clearing at Cowley Street

PASSIONATE ABOUT KOALAS: Residents protest for better protections for koalas after trees were cut down on Cowley Street.
PASSIONATE ABOUT KOALAS: Residents protest for better protections for koalas after trees were cut down on Cowley Street.

COUNCIL will start negotiations with landholders to buy properties in the Ormiston koala area after public dismay over the clearing of trees in Cowley Street.

Councillors voted in a confidential session in last week's meeting to try to negotiate a fair price to potentially buy land in the Ormiston Koala Safe Neighbourhood area, which stretches from Finucane Road in the south to the Wellington Point Shopping Village in the north.

It is bordered by Allenby Road to the west and extends east to the bay.

Council would consider buying land which adjoined existing council-owned or managed areas.

Deputy Mayor Julie Talty said council would start negotiations on a number of land packages in the Ormiston Koala Safe Neighbourhood Catchment area.

"The Local Government Act requires council to achieve value for money in any purchases, which has resulted in council not buying other land we have investigated previously," she said.

"While any privately owned land we are trying to buy is ultimately at the discretion of the owners of the land, we will commence negotiations on behalf of the community in hope of reaching an agreement with the owners."

Council had considered buying the site on Cowley Street, Ormiston where gums were felled in January, but it said the purchase did not go ahead because of financial impact and the fragmented nature of the habitat.

Tree clearing on the land prompted protests outside the council chambers in February, with residents calling for stronger protections for koalas.

Council said a historic subdivision on the site meant council could not prevent the trees being removed, which was also the case for a number of neighbouring properties where residents had lived for many years.

Division 1 councillor Wendy Boglary said she hoped council would be able to buy the identified parcels of land at a fair price to help protect future wildlife corridors and koala habitat.

"Ormiston and the surrounding suburbs has rich ecological value and we must work closely with the community to do all we can to protect it for future generations," Cr Boglary said.

Since 1993 council has spent more than $35 million from the Environmental Levy to buy more than 350 properties totalling 1313 hectares, the vast majority of which have been in Redland Bay and Victoria Point.

The environment levy per resident is $116.32 per year.