residents are shocked by the “decimated” leafy village

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Residents of a leafy village on the Sunshine Coast have started calling their community “Deforest Glen” after ongoing deforestation to make way for development.

The quiet little pocket of Forest Glen in the outback was brought to life by the sounds of forest logging that created upheaval.

The natural environment is one of the reasons many have chosen to live in the area.

But developers have undertaken what one local, Kate Kitchin, calls an “extraordinary” amount of legal land clearing over the past five years.

She said acres of mature trees have been abandoned as part of the last three developments:

  • Azure Masterplaned Collection of Boutique Villas (Owen Creek Road)
  • Greenwood Forest Glen (bounded by Mons and Parsons Roads and Grammar School Way)
  • Ingenia Lifestyle Nature’s Edge Expansion (Owen Creek Road)

Community outrage was expressed on social media when other large trees were recently lost on the edges owned by the Sunshine Coast Council.

They were located at the start of the Tanawha Tourist Drive to access the Nature’s Edge property.

“Residents understand the need for more housing options as the population on the coast grows,” Ms Kitchin said.

“But the lack of any community engagement for these huge developments and the large-scale clearing of mature forests in such a short time has ruined the character of this suburb and decimated wildlife populations.

“It’s quite sickening to see a majestic and beautiful tree, which took hundreds of years to grow, being cut down for no reason other than poor planning.

“The extent of the clearing of mature trees that we are talking about at Forest Glen has been extraordinary over the past 18 months.”

A spokesperson for Ingenia Communities said the company had “always been extremely diligent in adhering to any conditions set by the local council and worked closely with them and our residents to ensure the best results. possible for the community.

The spokesperson said the company had installed wildlife nesting boxes in the preserved bush to support existing wildlife and preserved a Moreton Bay fig around which an area of ​​green space would be maintained.

“We are currently creating a new entry point along Owen Creek Road. This has seen the removal of some trees which we appreciate may cause concern to residents, but the updated intersection will improve motorist safety in the area, and the final stage will see the planting of trees along the roadside. the road restored.

The national real estate company has taken over Nature’s Edge and The Village Forest Glen, along with the neighboring Forest Glen Holiday Resort, in a larger $65 million deal that also included a holiday park in Townsville in 2021.

Development of the expansion is expected to be completed by the end of next year, when Nature’s Edge total will be approximately 300 homes.

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Division 7 councilor Ted Hungerford said council approved the expansion of the mobile home park and retirement home in Forest Glen in June 2021.

The approval was subject to a full review by the council and the state government.

“As a condition of the approval, a significant area of ​​existing vegetation has been protected by covenants,” he said.

“However, some vegetation removal has been permitted around the existing Nature’s Edge entrance route to ensure the safety of people traveling to and from the grounds.

“In addition, an additional 9,000m² of vegetation planting – the equivalent of nearly 600 new koala habitat trees – will take place to compensate for what has been removed.

“A condition of this approval required professional wildlife observers to assess vegetation prior to removal and to be on site during the removal process.”

Further details on the application and development conditions can be consulted on the Website Development.i (application reference: MCU11/0175.08).

Artist’s impression of the entrance to Nature’s Edge.

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But Ms Kitchin said the former Big 4 caravan park had many well-established trees, all of which had disappeared.

“There are smarter options. Here we are witnessing a complete demolition of the existing landscape to create a blank slate for construction. We could look to many European cities for examples of how smart development takes their environment into account. »

Trees are being felled on council owned shoulders in Forest Glen. Photo: Kate Kitchin

Ms Kitchin said she feared for the native wildlife and birds that once lived in the trees – some of which had been forced into smaller backyards neighboring the developments.

His recent post on the Buderim Community Council page on Facebookalerting local residents to the removal of trees from the edge outside the Nature’s Edge development, garnered 97 reactions, 68 comments and 69 shares in one day.

This prompted Leigh Coxall to comment: “Totally ruined my childhood playground. Forest Glen is all highways and concrete.

Lu See replied, “I drove along the road past where the Big 4 trailer park was. Yesterday they cut down the big trees on the right. Today they stopped all traffic by chopping down the trees on the left. I started crying when I saw the destruction.

Other residents comment that the marketing associated with the developments mentions the surrounding lush rainforest vibe, but many trees on the plots have been “decimated” by bulldozers or felled.

As the trees were all on the developers’ land and permits had been granted, Mrs. Kitchin realizes that little can be done.

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But she hopes concerted community efforts and calls to the Sunshine Coast Council for better community engagement when planning new developments can underscore to developers the need to replant established trees – especially given the new biosphere status. designation of the Sunshine Coast as an international site of excellence. and an Area of ​​Natural Beauty.

“I hope that by highlighting what has already happened to Forest Glen…we can conserve the last pockets of mature trees that we have left. And make sure there remains a habitat for our unique occupants of the UNESCO Biosphere.

Cr Hungerford said that as part of the Sunshine Coast planning program the council had a plan for the development of the Sunshine Coast area, including how to accommodate the additional people choosing to live here.

“We believe that with a focus on protecting our environment, caring for our community, careful planning and good design, the council can help our region develop in a sustainable way while maintaining and protecting the things we love about our Sunshine Coast, including our livability and naturalness. assets,” he said.

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