No easy answer but developer works to save koala habitat

TIME is running out to save a portion of koala habitat at Henderson Park as developer Ron Blyth, the Fraser Coast Council and local environmental groups come together to search for a solution.

Preparation work has begun this week to clear stage four of Henderson Park housing estate at Tinana, with Mr Blyth saying he has done everything he can to try to sell the land to the government and council.

Development has been on hold for the past 12 months after populations of koalas were found across three blocks of land, which are valued at $400,000 and so far remain untouched.

During the 12-month extension, Mr Blyth said he presented a number of strategies to council and other government bodies to invest in the land, but none were accepted.

"I've sent proposals to State Government, Federal Government, the local council and environmental protection agencies with plans to have the land purchased and used as a tourist spot," he said.

"At this stage we need somebody, either council or the state, to bring money to the table so we can work to keep this area as green space.

"I'm willing to negotiate a land swap and I've offered the land at a discounted price just to cover the losses."

However, Mr Blyth said come September when the extension runs out, he will have little choice but to develop the land.

Despite environmental groups opposing the development at Henderson Park from the start, Natalie Richardson of Koala Care Fraser Coast said she believes Mr Blyth's push to save the blocks of land is genuine.

"Ron has been really good when it comes to working in with us and trying to make it a win-win for everyone," she said.

"We're aware he has approached the local council, the State Government and different government bodies but no one has come to the table.

"There is the opportunity there with three allotments that the council has been offered to buy that still have really good vegetation on them.

"Council really needs to step up."

Councillor Chris Loft said while he realises the importance of maintaining the blocks for vegetation, council was in no position to purchase the land.

"We would like to see it made into a tourist attraction so that people can come and see the koalas but it's about money," he said.

"There is no way council can afford this on its own so we're looking for partnerships, certainly State and Federal government need to come on board."



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