The BlueCare stain on Noosa’s reputation – time to reset

The controversial BlueCare development and Glossy Black Cockatoo habitat destruction at Sunrise Beach continues to be a major reputational embarrassment for Noosa, our Council and for the developer BlueCare.

But we might, just might, now have an opportunity to reset.

The latest development in this saga allows Council the opportunity to reduce the damage by protecting some of the threatened habitat due to the failure of the ‘offset’ program.

A nearby so-called ‘receiving’ site to be used to grow replacement casuarinas has now been determined to be unsuitable due to contamination from an old dump site.

This is a golden opportunity for both the developer and Council to reach a compromise more acceptable to the community.  

The developer could dedicate that part of the development site on the North-East corner of Lot 9, where a considerable number of the Glossy Black trees are located, as a ‘receiving site’.  This would both avoid some damage and further mitigate the impacts on Lot 9 to achieve a conservation outcome that counterbalances the significant residual impact from the development.

There’ve been suggestions of an alternative ‘receiving site’ for offset planting, but this would only add to the time-lag before the offset becomes a viable habitat for the Glossy Blacks.

Equally unacceptable is any suggestion of the developer being allowed to make a token monetary payment as substitute for destroying the habitat of an endangered species.

The community would see this for what it is; a payment of ’30 pieces of silver’ to get away with damaging our environment and reputation.

It’s now possible that the developer may seek to change the Development Approval, despite the fact that its own time-wasting and non-compliance so far is the cause of its predicament.

BlueCare is required to commence work on Lot 9 – the retirement village – by 19 December but cannot commence clearing the site because of the lack of a suitable offset habitat site.

Such an application would not be a minor change under the Planning Act, as any change will increase the severity of the known impacts of the development.

Under the Environmental Offset Act of 2014 the first object of the environmental standards is for the impact to be avoided, then mitigated, before considering the use of offsets for any remaining impact.

In other words, if there is now to be a change to the approval it must be on the basis that damage to this important and limited food source for an endangered species must be avoided, not just offset.

Bluecare have squandered the last eleven years and failed to establish the offset habitat, required under the Development Approval (DA) to protect the Glossy Black cockatoo habitat. 

This failure has increased the environmental impact of its development at Grasstree Court.

We now wait for Noosa Council and BlueCare to grasp this moment to do the right thing.

There’s no better opportunity for common sense, ethics and leadership to prevail. We can only hope.


Leave a Reply