Thursday, March 13, 2014

Town Plan States Biodiversity Areas Should Not Be Impacted 13/03/13

The Charles and Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve at Highfields is listed as an area of Biodiveristy Ecological Signifigance and is stated as such on the Highfields/Meringandan Town Plan created by Toowoomba Regional Council with consultation of local residents in 2013.

In the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme, The "Areas of Ecological Significance" and "Areas of Ecological Significance Buffer" in the Biodiversity Overlay correspond to parts of the code which is Section 8.5.1 of the other scheme report (see attached). As the code shows, impacts on these areas should be avoided, or if that is impossible, then impacts must be strictly minimised, and preferably offset.

In this case of the proposed footpath along the edge of the Charles and Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve and then through it, the Environmental impacts could be avoided if Council employed some lateral thinking and developed a better plan for the whole area.  

The Local Town Planning Scheme was an expensive and time-consuming project decided after consultation with local residents and Toowoomba Regional Council in 2013.  While Council is likely to be able to legally ignore its own planning scheme it is totally hypocritical for it to do so.

See screen prints of attachments from the Town Plan and the Planning Scheme re Biodiversity areas and the Charles and Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve (which is un-named on this plan and called "Treed Section behind recreational Centre")  The fact that this area is not named is also questionable, when other biodiversity areas such as Williams Park and Franke Scrub have names. It is presumed that this is because the Rogers Reserve is not listed as an official park or Reserve as it was intended, but as freehold land.

See links here to view the Town Plan and Planning scheme by TRC for yourself:

Read more and download the Town Plan for Highfields & Meringandan Here:

  1. Key natural areas - The LP area contains regionally and locally significant natural areas and biodiversity. The escarpment is a key natural area for this LP area. Access — pedestrian, cycle and possibly bridle trail — to and along this green spine will be strengthened with a series of recreation and open space nodes proposed along this edge taking advantage of the views and amenity. Other locally significant natural areas are:
    1. Franke Scrub
    2. William Park and the drainage corridor to the north
    3. The treed area behind the Highfields Recreation Centre (aka Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve)

Town Planning Scheme of Toowoomba Regional Council stating the Biodiveristy areas of overlay code which relate to the areas of ecological significance map by TRC below.
Areas of Ecological Significance and Areas of Ecological Significance Buffer shown on the TRC Regional Planning Scheme.

The Toowoomba Regional Council Planning Schemes can be downloaded from the TRC Website here:

We suggest you look at Page 36 on the Part 8 - Overlays section of the Toowoomba Planning Scheme which clearly outlines the restrictions placed on a Biodiversity area.  

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