Members of a wetlands advocacy group in Logan, south of Brisbane, say they’re “devastated” the Queensland government has confirmed its gazetted corridor will be the future path of the Coomera Connector’s northern section.
- The Coomera Connector is set to be an alternative road to the M1
- Eagleby residents have opposed the project for two years
- They fear for the Eagleby Wetlands, a flood plain home to birds and reptiles
The project is set to ease congestion and provide an alternative route to the M1 between Loganholme and Nerang, but a local federal politician said it could be a “nationally important habitat” for migratory species, referring the matter to the Commonwealth.
A group of Eagleby residents has opposed the project for years, concerned about the impact on the Eagleby wetlands — a flood plain home to birds and reptiles.
“We were devastated. We have been working for two years,” said Marilyn Goodwin from the Eagleby Community and Wetlands Group.
“We are going to keep fighting against the project — we believe there are other avenues apart from the state government, if they won’t listen.”
“The creatures that live in this area, the birds, the animals, the insects … will they move house? Will they know where to go?
“This area is also a major flood plain, and as a flood plain it protects other suburbs further upstream.”
Another founding member Robert Livingstone said the state government had not listened to their concerns.
“We’re doing all things by the ABC’s, we’re not super gluing ourselves to roads or anything,” he said.
“It’s wrong and they made their decision a long time ago and they’ve decided they’re sticking with it.”
The group has an ally in Bert van Manen, the LNP’s federal member for Forde.
“I am very disappointed that the state Labor government has decided to proceed with Stage 2 of the Coomera Connector project as currently gazetted, in spite of the road’s potential impacts on the Eagleby Wetlands,” he wrote on Facebook.
Mr van Manen said he had been in communication with the federal environment minister, and there was scope for the northern section to be assessed under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).
“Referral under the EPBC would see a full assessment of impacts to matters of national environmental significance. If surveys demonstrate there are at least 18 individuals of Latham’s Snipe and/or at least 15 species of migratory shorebird at the Eagleby wetland site, then the Australian government would consider it ‘nationally important habitat’ for listed migratory species,” Mr van Manen wrote.
Announcing the preferred northern route on Friday, Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the community had proposed six other alternative routes, which were all considered.
“The existing gazetted corridor route is the most effective in terms of protecting the environment and also taking pressure off the M1,” he said.
“The community there have put forward lots of different ideas and I gave them an undertaking that they were looked at thoroughly, that they’d be looked at independently … we’ve done that work and we’ve kept our word.
“Now, I know some people won’t like the outcome of that.”
Mr Bailey said the Coomera Connector would be critical to easing traffic congestion between Logan and the Gold Coast.
He said key considerations for independent specialists assessing the alternatives were community and environmental impact, the proposed cost, and the ability to reduce congestion on the M1.
It is not clear how many properties will need to be resumed for the project, which is still years away.
The department’s project team will hold a series of “community drop-in sessions” for locals, beginning on Monday, May 10.