Bahrs Scrub locals fighting to preserve a 150-year-old tree and farmhouse are making their final plea to council and a developer.

The Moreton Bay fig tree and the homestead, which locals believe dates back to the late 1800s, have come under threat by a proposed 24-lot development that would see both demolished.

The farmhouse’s neighbour, Dennis McCauley, said residents were “fighting as hard as we can” to preserve the heritage spots.

“Especially for the tree, because it is probably one of the largest Moreton Bay fig trees in Queensland – the canopy exceeds 35 metres long – it’s huge,” Mr McCauley said.

“I built our house in 1980, and there is a flock of channel billed cuckoos who fly down from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, or somewhere up there, in the mid spring and they stay there until mid-autumn.”

He said the tree’s fruit was the birds’ main source of food.

“There’s all matter of other types of birds that are here, and a tree of that significance really shouldn’t be removed,” he said.

“You’re condemning them probably to death if you cut down this tree.”

He said preserving the block and making it a public space would provide a natural haven for nearby residents who lived in “new estates with no backyards”.

“Most of the residents in Carol Street are of the opinion that the land should be turned into a retirement village,” Mr McCauley said.

He said it could also be turned into a bed and breakfast with a cafe, or a spot for students at nearby schools.

“I was informed that if the development received at least 20 objections from locals, council has to go back to the developer and ask them what they will do about the objections,” he said.

The development received 39 objections.

Development consultancy firm Saunders Havill Group, on behalf of the proposal’s developer, PacificCorp, submitted a response to the objections.

“The Ecological Assessment Report (EAR), submitted at the time of lodgement, did not identify Ficus macrophylla (Moreton Bay fig) as a listed threatened species nor has it been identified as vegetation of concern,” Saunders Havill town planner Sarah Valentine said in the response.

“The site was assessed by two ecologists to ensure all vegetation communities and flora and fauna species were recorded.”

The response claimed the developer was prepared to “offset” the clearing of native vegetation by planting an equal amount of native vegetation, as per council policy.

Ms Valentine said 27.9 per cent of the site would be dedicated to council as green space.

“To ensure its enhancement and protection as an integral part of the greater environmental corridor,” she said.

“Rehabilitation will include weed management to allow for natural regeneration, the area will be planted with native trees, shrubs and groundcovers which reflect the site-specific Regional Ecosystem.”

Ms Valentine’s response claimed there were no heritage orders protecting the building, and it could therefore “be removed without requiring a permit”.

Mr McCauley and several other residents believed the tree had a heritage listing attached to it.

“If there is a heritage listing on the tree, then we have a very good chance of saving it,” he said.

“Do we really want to lose our heritage,” Mr McCauley asked.

“What we really need is for someone with foresight, some entrepreneur, to buy the land of the developer.

“Because I’m afraid that’s the only way we’re going to win this thing.”

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