Vigil for bulldozed bushland calls for change
ENVIRONMENTAL warriors from the 1980s stood shocked in front of hectares of felled old-growth forest at Peregian while behind them heavy machinery clunked and clanged.
Nearly 100 people answered a Facebook call from Angela Wilson, the Greens' Sunshine Coast Council Division Nine candidate, to attend a vigil so that the destruction did not go unmarked.
Among them were Christine Bennett and Fran Anderson who in the 1980s fought to save Mt Coolum from development, leading to the declaration of the Mt Coolum National Park.
The trees were felled immediately before Christmas to make way for more housing lots and commercial space.
The developer, Aveo Group, said: "All work was carried out in accordance with development approvals."
Ms Anderson said: "That this is still going on is just ludicrous.''
Should the Sunshine Coast focus on keeping the region green?
This poll ended on 13 January 2016.
Yes. The landscape is a huge part of why people have chosen to live here.
No. Why should we put plants ahead of people?
It is possible to have development without ruining environmental values.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Ms Bennett said the pair helped to preserve Mt Coolum in part because scribbly gums were so precious.
"They take so long to mature. It takes 50 years before they can produce seed,'' she said.
"We are seeing a tremendous loss.
"No one wants another Gold Coast but it is heading that way. This is very sad with the loss of wildlife and habitat. You can replant trees but not animals.''
Ms Anderson said she had been shattered to hear the vegetation had been lost in what was once Queensland's richest area of biodiversity.
"They don't seem to ever learn,'' she said.
Noosa Greens convenor Steve Haines said it was important that while it was too late to save the trees, that those who allowed it to happen be held accountable.
He said the development application had been snuck through with the community left unaware of the damage to be wrought.
Mr Haines said evidence for that could be found in that only one submission was made opposing the project.
"There was no community consultation by either the council or the councillor,'' he said. "This hurts us. It gets to our hearts."
Ms Wilson told the gathering she would have preferred to be there fighting to save the trees than to be there in requiem.
She said the destruction needed to set a precedent for what should never be allowed to re-occur.
Greens mayoral candidate Tony Gibson described it as an example of the way the council operated.
Passing motorists tooted horns in support and one shouted: "Proud of you guys. Heal the Earth."