The City is about to embark on a massive spending spree to try and protect habitats for native animals, including koalas.
Gold Coast Council today announced the largest wildlife corridor land purchase scheme in its history, with $11 million being allocated from the budget to try and create wildlife corridors.
It’s understood at least 40 sites covering over 3515 hectares, from Numinbah Valley to Coomera, have already been eyed off for purchase.
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As a result, Gold Coast ratepayers will pay an additional $2.50 each into an open space koala habitat fund to support the land purchases, on top of the existing $1 per annum koala habitat program, that was introduced in 2018.
“We are growing at a rapid pace and it is imperative we continue to manage our green open space to care for our native fauna and flora,” Mayor Tom Tate said.
“This program will provide $11 million in the 2021-22 budget to buy key sites across the city, focusing on our critical wildlife corridors.”
Of the 40 sites, seven have been highlighted as a priority for immediate landholder approach with negotiations set to start next month.
“With the program focused on voluntary acquisition, Council has agreed that the administration can start negotiations with land holders,” the Mayor said.
According to Council, long-term benefits include “securing and restoring critical parts of the City’s wildlife corridors to link habitat areas on private and public land” as well as “connecting existing conservation reserves to provide opportunities for walking tracks and improved management”.
The initiative forms part of the city’s broader ‘Our Natural City Strategy’, with negotiations on a large parcel of land in the East Coomera population corridor continuing.
“Council has faced some hurdles as we attempt to buy this parcel of land but I’m confident we will have this resolved in the 2021-22 financial year,” Mayor Tate said.
“The 40 land parcels we have identified are spread from north to south of the city. We cannot publicly list the sites just yet as we don’t want to unduly influence the purchase price. However, we will advise the public as each site is purchased so they know how their funds are being invested.”