|Historic Grandchester Railway Station waiting for the arrival
of 260 people on a steam train
A report was provided to the City Management and Budget Board meeting of 7 August 2012 concerning the delivery of environmental offsets in Ipswich. In line with the recommendations of this committee, Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Powerlink in June 2013 The purpose of this MOU was to facilitate the establishment of offset plantings, including a koala tree planting at Woolshed Grandchester Conservation Estate. This MOU outlines the general principles and collaborative approach agreed upon for such offset plantings.
The Steam Train Commeth
Powerlink has a statutory obligation to plant trees in order to offset the damage caused by clearing similar vegetation during power line construction. In order to maximise the community benefits from this, Council is working in partnership with Powerlink. In return for providing a suitable receiving site, Council will gain a planting of 11,500 trees in an area of approximately twenty hectares, which will be maintained for a period of five years, at no cost to Council. Since the signing of this MOU, significant progress has been made towards establishing a legally binding Deed of Agreement and also providing legal protection over the vegetation planted on this parcel of land through a Voluntary Declaration application under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. This type of protection mechanism is a requirement of environmental offset plantings. Powerlink have engaged SEQ Catchments Services to deliver and maintain this planting for 5 years.
The 11,500 trees planted in this project will link existing areas of habitat in the estate for native fauna including koalas. Council has an important role to play in the protection of the koala from regional extinction through habitat loss, and offset planting is a key method of expanding available habitat for this purpose. There is also potential for future community recreation at this site and the re-establishment of native flora and fauna will enhance this potential. Through offset plantings such as this one, Council is able to improve and expand the values of our natural area estate without the expense of planting and establishing the trees ourselves. The establishment of the Powerlink Koala Offset planting at Woolshed Grandchester Conservation Estate allows Council to expand and link areas of koala habitat at virtually no expense. This will improve the natural values of the city’s natural area estate for the long-term benefit of the community.
West Moreton Landcare President Bob Hampson, Jean Bray SEQ Catchments Community Program Manager with interested visitor.
As Ipswich and the region continue to grow, environmental offsets will become of increasing importance and land suitable for receiving offsets will become more valuable. It will be critical for Council to be strategic in its approach, and to undertake adequate forward planning to ensure a balance between competing interests and land uses is met. The development of a strategic, integrated framework that provides multiple benefits for many stakeholders will be required.
Building on the successful partnership initiatives with Powerlink, such as Greening Ipswich and Greenworks, Council can use this impending commercial arrangement as a keystone opportunity to position itself as a leader in delivering environmental offsets in south east Queensland. The properties identified in this report offer an area of suitable land that can meet a number of corporate and regional targets in one go, including conservation connectivity, protection of koala habitat, and provision of community open-space.
Ruth Lewis (IKPS) and Cr David Pahlke with a little one
West Moreton Landcare
Ipswich City Council (ICC)
Ipswich Koala Protection Society (IKPS)
Also present Simon Warner (CEO), Tony Costantini (Operations Manager) and Robert Smith (Chairman of the SEQ Catchments Pty Ltd Board).
Victor Attwood Deputy Mayor ICC – wore a couple of hats including member of the SEQ Catchments Board.