Kuranda Envirocare president Cathy Retter
Kuranda Envirocare president Cathy Retter

Conservationist’s development plan to ‘protect rainforest’

A LEADING conservationist says a plan to subdivide her property at Kuranda will protect the natural environment from developers, rather than allow them to destroy the rainforest.

Kuranda Envirocare president Cathy Retter and partner Garth Owen have applied for permission from Mareeba Shire Council to split their 2.88ha property along Kullaroo Close into six allotments.

Ms Retter has been helping lead the campaign against KUR-World, which has been proposed by Chinese developers Reever and Ocean Pty Ltd at Myola.

Cathy Retter with native fig saplings at a planting site near Myola. Picture: Brendan Radke.
Cathy Retter with native fig saplings at a planting site near Myola. Picture: Brendan Radke.

She said a team of locals obtained a development application for her block in 2013, for a group title of 15 houses on residential zoned land to establish a cohousing community.

However, since then, she said the project had been scaled down and in its place there was now a proposal for a "sensitive" subdivision.

"One of the primary objectives for our block, besides providing us with a nice place to live, was to preserve the regrowth forest next to the conservation park boundary," she said.

"As of right now, a developer would be allowed, on residential zoned land, to clear from boundary to boundary.

"On our block, that would have meant the removal of probably 3.5 to 4 acres of regrowth, which has now reached the stage of being essential cassowary habitat.

"We sought to covenant that area in both DAs."

She said, however, having a covenant over the area would not guarantee it would be protected from development.

"Covenants are not set in concrete as you know - see Adani (mine) and the black-throated finch," she said.

"So a sensitive subdivision for the site, with little chance of further subdivision by future owners is what we have designed.

"We figured, if we don't do it, another developer would have the opportunity to do it.

"This would not be a good outcome for the habitat.

"I am acting in line with my commitment to the Kuranda Envirocare membership statement."


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