Gold Coast Bulletin article, 15 March 2013

The Federal Government has unlocked the door to a development in the Gold Coast-Brisbane growth corridor with a ruling that Gainsborough Park, a $100 million residential estate at Pimpama, does not pose a threat to the area’s koala population.


Boyd Sargeant, Director of Planit Consulting, which acted for Gainsborough Park developer QM Properties, said the ruling was the first since projects in the corridor were brought to a standstill after the koala was listed last May as a threatened species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.


“A number of projects in the Coomera region were frozen, awaiting tree clearing advice after identification of the koala as a threatened species in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory,” said Mr Sargeant.


“Government studies had found that koala numbers had fallen 43 per cent in Queensland since 1990.


“Hopefully, the approval we gained for Gainsborough Park will pave the way for more approvals.”


Mr Sargeant said Gold Coast City Council surveys had discovered about 500 koalas in the Coomera area.


“Also, Council’s East Coomera conservation project has led to more than 100 koalas being relocated to secure habitat areas,” he said.


Mr Sargeant said the approval process required developers to submit detailed studies of the habitat of the sites, of koala numbers in the area and steps to be taken to protect the animals.


The government decision has prompted developer QM Properties, linked to racing industry identity Jon Haseler who owns Glenlogan Stud at Jimboomba, to call tenders for site works at Gainsborough Park, which has been in the pipeline since 2004 when its 66 hectare site on Kerkin Road South was bought for $11 million.


It will comprise more than 700 homes, 509 on traditional urban lots, and some 200 townhouses and/or apartments across a number of medium-density sites.


It will include 17 hectares of parkland as well as a neighbourhood centre.


The site abuts the northern limit of the Coomera Town Centre, which covers land earmarked for intensive development under a Gold Coast City Council and Queensland Government strategy for the area to house up to 200,000 people.


The town centre will feature retail outlets, dining precincts and offices, and community, transport, health and education facilities.