People power puts stop to car park plans

Lake - Kendall Gilding

LAKE PROTEST: Dozens of angry residents gather to voice their concerns  IMAGE: Kendall Gilding (7News) SOURCE: Twitter

PEOPLE power has put a stop to plans to turn a Bundall lake into a car park for the Gold Coast Show.

Dozens of angered locals gathered at the 2.75 hectare lake behind the Gold Coast Turf Club in protest on Tuesday morning, including area councillor Lex Bell and former councillor Susie Douglas.


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Amid concerns the controversial move would displace thousands of local birds, Gold Coast City Council ordered the Turf Club to stop filling in the wetlands area immediately.

Councillor Bell said he didn’t normally speak at protest meetings, but this morning’s peaceful stance was an exception.

“A number of people, particularly wildlife protectionists, were present, concerned over proposals by the Turf Club to fill in what was a swamp but is now a lake being inhabited by bird life,” Cr Bell said.

After speaking with councils property officer and Mayor Tom Tate, Mr Bell said the matter had now been put on hold.

“It’s not just on hold temporarily for this week, it’s on hold for some months until the matter can be properly addressed,” he said.

OUTRAGE OVER PLAN TO FILL BUNDALL LAKE

Former councillor for the area Susie Douglas said the Turf Club had a huge amount of land which could be utilised.

“There was a lot of passion there at this morning’s meeting,” she said.

“It is a beautiful lake with a lot of bird life and is right there in the heart of the equine precinct.

“This is an area that you have to protect for the wildlife and to go in and dump a whole lot of dirt without any environmental studies being done seems the wrong way to go about it.”

Despite Councillor Bell requesting nearby residents and users of the Turf Club be surveyed, no community consultation was held.

Trucks filled with soil started arriving at the site off Ascot Court on Friday, prompting a group of horse trainers to block their path.

Leading trainer Gillian Heinrich said the Turf Club had only notified them of the controversial decision the afternoon beforehand.

Gillian’s horse stable backs onto the wetlands which is home to an array of wildlife, including nesting swans (pictured).

Black Swan

CONTROVERSIAL MOVE: Mother swan guards her nest of six eggs at the wetlands site near the Gold Coast Turf Club. IMAGE: The ABC

“It seems to me that the dirt was just going to be dumped and the birds would have had to fend for themselves,” Ex-Councillor Susie said.

President of Wildlife Queensland’s Gold Coast branch Sally Spain is outraged and has also joined the fight.

“We are absolutely astonished and many of the local residents who use, admire and walk by this lake are furious at the way this has been handled,” she said.

“We’re shocked to find that no alternative thought has been put into finding a car park on the Turf Club site elsewhere.

Sally said a similar proposal to fill in a natural lake in Brisbane was stopped on the grounds of animal cruelty.

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