Nobody knows the anxiety of losing their home better than the people of Palmcrest Rd, Alberton.
They’ve been the silent barometer for the state government’s decision to go ahead with the M1 Connector road, cutting through Eagleby Wetlands.
Some of their houses have been bought by the government.
In the case of Peter Stephens, he recently decided it was time to get on with his life, installing a pool for his disabled daughter.
Now, he feels it’s a matter of when the negotiators come knocking on his door to repossess his house.
The route is proposed to cross the Albert River east of Eagleby, connecting to the M1 and Logan Motorway at Loganholme.
It was considered in comparison to six other alternative routes by traffic planners and environmental specialists, although a group set up to save Eagleby Wetlands has been preparing a legal argument to counter the state government assessment against federal law.
They argue there are endangered animals living in the wetlands that would be threatened by the road.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Coomera Connector would be critical to easing traffic congestion between the Gold Coast and Logan.
Stage 1 of the road between Nerang and Coomera has been joint-funded by both state and federal governments.
But Member for Forde Bert van Manen is vowing to do his best to block the current route.
State member for Macalister Melissa McMahon is happy with the route, but wants adjustments to ensure it’s further away from homes.
The state government claims alternate routes would have impacted wetlands north of the Logan River.
And community proposals to connect the new road to Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road would impact more properties.
“Concerns have been raised by some community members about the preferred route’s impact on the wetlands next to Eagleby,” he said.
“To avoid those impacts, one of the alternatives put forward by the community was to build the new road further east, through Gilberton and Alberton area.
“Assessments found that option would impact a larger portion of more environmentally sensitive areas, including RAMSAR wetlands to the north of the Logan River and a Koala Priority Area.”
Mr Bailey said the government would now focus over the next 18 months on the northern section of the Coomera Connector to determine a staging plan for future works between Loganholme and Coomera.
There would be four information sessions at Beenleigh, Cornubia, Carbrook and Eagleby.
Bert van Manen
“I have lived in this community for my entire life and I treasure the Eagleby Wetlands as much as everyone in our community. While I appreciate the need for the Coomera Connector, I will never support a road that negatively impacts our ecologically significant Wetlands.
“TMR have told the Eagleby Community Wetlands Group that the road will proceed as gazetted. Given this, it seems odd that TMR’s website states that public consultation on the assessment of alternative alignments for the Coomera Connector near Eagleby is open for comment until Wednesday 30 June 2021.
State Member for Macalister, Melissa McMahon needs to talk to her Minister to clarify the department’s position – have they made a decision or not? And if they have, then why are they wasting time and money holding pseudo consultations?”
“I have been in communication with the Federal Minister for the Environment about protecting Eagleby Wetlands. There is scope for Stage 2 of the Coomera Connector to be assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). 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.”
The Eagleby Community and Wetlands Group is greatly disappointed that the State Government has chosen not to hear the voices of this community and plans to proceed with their road that will encircle Eagleby to meet up with the Logan Motorway.
We are told that TMR will hold another round of ‘community consultations’. The question is – is there a point to this when they so clearly have a desired outcome?
Our research has clearly demonstrated the value and environmental importance of the Complex Eagleby Wetland System and the surrounding Floodplain which is a protective barrier to mitigate flooding upstream to Beenleigh, Waterford and Holmview.
It has also clearly demonstrated the opportunities in this area for eco-tourism such as river activities, bird watching and glamping with all of the job creation necessary to support those activities.
If the State Government won’t listen then we’ll have to keep working towards a Federal outcome.
I welcome the release of the much-anticipated review of the proposed alternate routes and the independent environmental review.
The community has had many questions about the gazetted route and why other options weren’t taken. I hope the information released today gives people some understanding of the number of factors involved in selecting a route that has the least impact on the community.
Wherever this route goes it will have a significant impact on the Macalister electorate, both in the natural and man-made environment. I am supportive of selecting a route that minimises the impact on our community.
I still hold the view that the current route sits too close to the Eagleby residential areas and I will continue to fight for a minor variation to the route that moves the road further away from people’s backyards.