Safeguarding a coastal paradise

ENVIRONMENTALLY MINDED: Division 9 Councillor Steven Robinson, Mayor Mark Jamieson and environment portfolio holder Cr Tony Wellington.
ENVIRONMENTALLY MINDED: Division 9 Councillor Steven Robinson, Mayor Mark Jamieson and environment portfolio holder Cr Tony Wellington. Contributed

AT THE base of Mt Ninderry sits a parcel of land that has some of the most magnificent views of the Sunshine Coast.

A waterfall trickling down the side of the land is the lifeblood of the 60ha spot, which is home to eucalypt and rainforest vegetation and one of the Sunshine Coast's last remaining koala habitats.

Now the Coast council has snapped up the hidden piece of paradise at a cost of $2.6 million, with a commitment to preserve the important piece of land.

Before Tom Petrie cut the first tree on the Sunshine Coast in 1862, the region was home to 92 different types of vegetation covering more than 310,000ha. Today, just 151 years later, 56% of that habitat has been lost.

Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the council's environment levy land acquisition program was helping to protect what habitat we had left.

"This purchase expands the existing Mt Ninderry Bushland Conservation Reserve to more than 150ha, ensuring its long-term protection for future generations," Cr Jamieson said.

The latest purchase from a private seller comes just weeks after another purchase at Verrierdale. The Ninderry reserve contains important eucalypt and rainforest vegetation and forms part of the third largest core habitat in the region. It is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, some known only to the Sunshine Coast.

"The site's environmental values, the fact that it is one of the most iconic landscapes on the Sunshine Coast and its indigenous cultural significance make this one of the most significant land parcels purchased by the environment levy so far," Cr Jamieson said.

"When I talk about getting the balance right, this is a prime example. Just 16km away, the economic heart of the region is coming out of the ground. Here, in Ninderry, we are preserving the very thing that gives the Sunshine Coast its natural advantage. It's about looking after every piece in the puzzle.

"This purchase takes the area of habitat protected by the environment levy to around 930ha since 2008."

Division 9 Councillor Stephen Robinson said the purchase was important on many levels.

"The local community can look forward to having a much larger conservation reserve right on their doorstep, and as a region we all benefit from the expansion of the existing reserve and its long-term protection for future generations," he said.

"There is also a wealth of indigenous history associated with Mount Ninderry, which makes this purchase all the more important. The next step is to develop a long-term plan for the site that will consider management requirements and potential recreation opportunities."

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