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'Save our platypus"
says local resident

by Cameron Outridge

A resident is hoping a platypus may serve as a secret weapon in his community’s bid to alter or stop a developer’s plans to build a supermarket on the banks of the Obi Creek.

Jon Woodlands, who rents a Queenslander at the back of the Boxsells Saleyards block, said he filmed the platypus last week in the Obi Creek.  The footage shows the platypus and then pans to the supermarket site in the same shot.  A Planning and Environment Court decision last month gave developers, Cornerstone Properties, the green light to proceed with a controversial supermarket development.  “This platypus sighting might generate some energy and get them to re-think their design an leave the creek bank intact,’’ said Mr Woodlands.

“I understand this site is for sale and as a tenant I have to accept moving sooner or later.   But I just think developers might be able to protect some of this wonderful land. “I’ve seen a platypus there quite regularly over the past two years.’’ Trees also a big loss.  A nurseryman by trade, Mr Woodlands said there were some significant trees on the block.   Cornerstone’s application calls for the destruction of all trees on the site.

“There’s a moreton bay fig about 20m high and it’s a remarkable tree because it’s taking over a privet,’’ Mr Woodlands said.  “It’s a classic example because it’s a native specimen fighting back against an exotic.   The tree is full of orchids, stag and birds nest ferns at the moment.

“There are tree ferns, one which would have to be it’s about 25 feet high so it would be about 300 years old because they only grow a few centimetres a year.   “There’s couple of big bunya pines, hoop pines, blackbean and a silky oak.   I don’t know how they can consider cutting those down.   I just assumed they would at least leave the trees near the creek.  “There are three red cedars in there and a number of other rainforest species.   Half the time you wouldn’t know you’re in the middle of town.

“Surely this is not the place for a supermarket.   Surely they should build it elsewhere, if at all.  “I can’t believe developers can just move in and do this.   There’s so much wildlife around there.”

A Caloundra City Council survey for the recent Planning and Environment Court action identified 18 native plant species and 32 species of exotic plants (including 14 weed trees) on the block.   There were 37 trees in total with 14 mature specimens.   Judge JM Robertson agreed the site contained “significant native vegetation”.

However he said “despite drafters being aware of the classification of the site in the planning study done in conjunction with the formulation of the DCP (Development Control Plan) there is no reference in the Town Centre Precinct area strategy to significant vegetation on that site”.    He said the application for development therefore involved “permitted development” in the prevailing zone as the site is “entirely zoned local business”.

Judge Robertson said Cornerstone planned a large native tree planting involving hoop pine, silky oak, flame tree, quandong and lace bark “which in time will considerably improve the site’s visual amenity of the town”.

Jon Woodlands near the creek bank where he filmed the platypus.

A still from the footage Mr Woodlands filmed last week.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.