$2.6 million puzzle piece locked in
  • Thursday 26 September 2013

Before Tom Petrie cut the first tree on the Sunshine Coast in 1862, the Region was home to 92 different types of vegetation covering over 310,000 hectares.

Today, just 151 years later, 56 per cent of that habitat has been lost.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said council’s environment levy land acquisition program is helping to protect what habitat we have left.

“Our most recent purchase is a unique 60 hectare property at the base of Mt Ninderry. This $2.6 million purchase expands the existing Mt Ninderry Bushland Conservation Reserve to more than 150 hectares, ensuring its long-term protection for future generations,” he said.

“This comes just weeks after another strategic purchase at Verrierdale.”

The Ninderry reserve contains important eucalypt and rainforest vegetation and forms part of the third largest core habitat in the region. It is home to a number of endangered and threatened plant and animal species, some known only to the Sunshine Coast, and is recognised as koala bushland habitat.

“The site’s environmental values, the fact that it is one of the most iconic landscapes on the Sunshine Coast and its indigenous cultural significance make this one of the most significant land parcels purchased by the environment levy so far,” Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

“When I talk about getting the balance right, this is a prime example. Just 16km away, the economic heart of the region is coming out of the ground, here, in Ninderry we are preserving the very thing that gives the Sunshine Coast its natural advantage—it’s about looking after every piece in the puzzle.

“Change has happened quickly on the Coast and in just 151 years we’ve lost over half our vegetation. Obviously that can’t continue and the levy is helping us achieve that; preserving the natural advantage for future generations.

“This purchase takes the area of habitat protected by the environment levy to around 930 hectares since 2008.”

Environment Portfolio Councillor Tony Wellington said council's Environment Levy is being used appropriately with the purchase of the Ninderry land.

“Through the Environment Levy Council aims to maintain, and where possible improve, the biodiversity of our region," Cr Wellington said.

"Protecting environmentally significant land and improving connectivity between core habitat areas are part of that aim.

“This parcel of land has some key attributes including 55 hectares of remnant native habitat containing three important ecosystems. It also houses endangered and vulnerable plants, and provides habitat likely to support at least three animal species listed as vulnerable: the Tusked Frog, Elf Skink and Koala.

“The purchase of this Ninderry property is a very exciting addition to Council's conservation estate.”

Division 9 Councillor Stephen Robinson said this is an exciting purchase all round.

“The local community can look forward to having a much larger conservation reserve right on their doorstep, and as a region we all benefit from the expansion of the existing reserve and its long-term protection for future generations,” Cr Robinson said.

“There is also a wealth of indigenous history associated with Mount Ninderry, which makes this purchase all the more important.

“The next step is to develop a long-term plan for the site that will consider management requirements and potential recreation opportunities.”