The Mon Repos Conservation Park could be enlarged by more than 40 hectares to further protect nesting turtles.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has lodged a development application with Bundaberg Regional Council seeking to add more land to the park.
The application seeks to dedicate a 42.1 hectare parcel of land, owned by Bundaberg Sugar, as a “protected area”.
While the land in question is currently zoned agricultural, the application states “the conservation values associated with the proposal outweigh the loss of agricultural land”.
“The proposed development would assist with the protection of the adjoining Mon Repos Conservation Park (and the associated sea turtle nesting and sea turtle activity) though its expansion,” the application states.
“To date, the opportunities for the additional land include revegetation of the freshwater creek and wetland system, plantings for light source shielding from Bundaberg and the surrounding area, and low impact [car] parking options.
“DES would also undertake the revegetation of Proposed Lot 1 with species to assist in light source shielding from surrounding development.
“The proposed development would also result in a reduced impact on the wetland.”
DES is currently negotiating a contract of sale for the freehold land with Bundaberg Sugar Ltd, with the lot “identified as the least productive part of the site”.
A “conservative timeframe” to undertake the process has been identified as being 12 to 18 months.
The application said the principal aims of the westward expansion of Mon Repos Conservation Park are to enable:
- Revegetation of the freshwater creek and wetland system located in this area to restore the full positive impact for turtle nesting success that this freshwater system has on the dune and beach water table; and
- Revegetation of the additional area with species suitable for increased light source shielding from surrounding and future development, to reduce the impact of artificial light sources on sea turtle nesting and sea turtle activity.
“The proposed expansion would provide significantly greater protection to the wetland and dune system and sea turtle nesting and sea turtle activity by widening this vegetated ‘buffer’ of conservation park from approximately 150 metres to over 500 metres.
“The DES envisages a staged approach to the continuing development of the Mon Repos Conservation Park.”
The future use and works would be subject to obtaining relevant permits, according to the application, the nature and timing of which have not yet been determined.
The application is currently with Council’s development group for assessment.
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