Council confirms developer can continue clearing koala homes

A DEVELOPER looks set to continue clearing "pristine koala habitat" at Tinana in the coming days, despite ongoing investigations into an alleged breach of the clearing permit.

Belela Pty Ltd, owned by property tycoon Ron Blyth, has moved in several new earthmoving machines to the back of housing estate Henderson Park.

While the 25 hectares of land was approved for clearing by the Fraser Coast Regional Council in 2011, the council is investigating allegations the developer breached its permit by bulldozing on July 9 without a flora and fauna spotter and catcher onsite.

The council has now confirmed it has no power to stop the developer from continuing bulldozing, as long as it is carried out in compliance with the permit.

It's yet another blow to wildlife conservationists, who were shocked when the clearing started without warning on July 9.

Natalie Richardson from the Fraser Coast branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland said while it was devastating, it was of some comfort to know there would be a spotter and catcher onsite and that the council had taken some positive steps towards koala conservation.

"I thought the work would be on hold until the investigation was over, but apparently that's not the case" she said.

"Last I heard (the developer) was looking at starting work again in the next few days."

She has described the area as pristine koala habitat that is home to up to a dozen koalas at any given time, as well as various native species such as wallabies and sugar gliders and endangered plants.

On Saturday she and volunteers from the Sunshine Coast Koala Rescue located four koalas in the area suffering from symptoms of chlamydia and they were taken to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for treatment.

"One of the residents out there said she'd had five koalas in her yard - that would most likely be caused by the disruption to their normal habitat."

For more information on the local koala population visit Koalas Fraser Coast on Facebook.

Several new earthmoving machines have been moved to the back of housing estate Henderson Park.
Several new earthmoving machines have been moved to the back of housing estate Henderson Park. Robyne Cuerel


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