People power saves bushland
By ED SOUTHORN
IT'S finally happened - people power has secured public ownership of the Miami Bushland for future generations.
The five-hectare site had been set for sale by Queensland Health for probable private development, until a grassroots residents' campaign to preserve the bushland gained momentum.
After lobbying for more than two years, the Save Miami Bushland Campaign group was last week advised by a Queensland Government senior officer that the site has been formally gazetted as a State Natural Resources Department Environmental Reserve under the trusteeship of Gold Coast City Council.
The gazettal comes more than a year after Premier Peter Beattie announced in Parliament the Miami Bushland - estimated to be worth around $5 million - would not be sold.
Queensland Health was bequeathed the bushland more than 20 years ago as a possible public hospital site.
But after Robina Hospital was built and a plan fell through to swap the bushland with Councilowned land at Southport for a car park, the site was earmarked for sale.
Save Miami Bushland Campaign co-organiser Gary Height met with senior Gold Coast City Council officers on the site last week, to discuss weed eradication and improvement of a walking track which bisects the bushland.
The walking track is planned to be upgraded to link Keith Dudman Park on Anthony Drive at the eastern edge of the bushland with public open space accessible from Landau Court at the western edge.
"We're pleased we have finally got to this stage, now we can move forward," Mr Height said.
"A draft management plan has been put together and we are consulting with Council.
"We want to bring it back as close as possible to its original state."
Mr Height said the residents' group would be guided by Council officers and consult with Greening Australia on implementation of the management plan.
Thousands of people attended four rallies at Keith Dudman Park during the campaign to save the bushland - one of the last large, near-coastal forest plots on the Gold Coast.
An environmental report prepared by Greening Australia and Council identifies five "significant" plant species in the Miami Bushland, including the tall sawsedge bush, gahnia clarkei, the only known food plant of the endangered Swordgrass Brown Butterfly.
A public naming ceremony for the Miami Bushland is being planned for mid-May.
Further details will be announced.