Mundy Creek urban bushland at risk

Mundy Creek_1

Backed by Castle Hill slopes, a precious remnant of native bush lives on in Garbutt – but for how long? Photo courtesy Mundy Creek Catchment Care.

A precious haven for birds and other wildlife, tucked away close to the airport and city heart, may be lost to a housing development ironically bearing the title of “Haven”. We do not oppose Stage 1 of this development, currently going ahead on adjacent land, but we are most concerned that expansion will engulf this remnant of the old coastal woodlands associated with the wetlands of ‘old’ Mundy Creek and Rowes Bay.

The Mundy Creek Catchment Care group has been in discussion with Council over this, and other issues related to the development, for a considerable time. They are now appealing for more public support. It is not well known outside of those who treasure it locally but on a recent visit I found it alive with raptors, curlews, ibis, magpie gees, mixed flocks of lorikeets, many species of honeyeaters and tiny red-backed wrens in the grasses. And that’s just the birds! As you will see it is also of cultural importance to indigenous people and has been used as a cultural and educational resource with school students.

Please read the text below which is reproduced (with minor editing) from that written by the catchment care group, and then sign their petition. If you want to take it further, email or phone the Townsville City Council via Cr Tony Parsons (Chair of Planning and Development Committee) or Deputy Mayor Vern Veitch.

Mundy Creek Catchment Care group is extremely concerned about the planned destruction of a number of old growth trees that are part of the Mundy Creek wetlands.

Mundy Creek Catchment Care group is a local community group with members of all ages, cultures and backgrounds, working together at Mundy Creek in Garbutt. This site has benefitted from a wide variety of community-based environmental projects over a period spanning 17+ years. Our goal for the overall area is to regenerate, revitalize and maintain the ecological and cultural values of Mundy Creek.

Afternoon sun lights the pandanus. Photo courtesy of MCCC Group.

Afternoon sun lights the pandanus. Photo courtesy of Mundy Creek Catchment Care.

The woodland block, where the old growth trees stand, has council approval for a high-density housing development of 200 houses. This will mean the clearing of this woodland, and the loss of the old growth trees, and many native shrubs and grasses. This does not need to happen – the old trees can happily co-exist with such developments!

We have communicated our concerns to the developer (Ellis Developments) and Council. No changes have been made, so we’re now seeking the support of the community to speak up, sign this petition and help us to protect these old growth trees.

The old trees are paperbarks (Cloudy teatrees – Melaleuca dealbata) and eucalypts (Stocking gums – Corymbia tessallaris), estimated to be of a considerable age.

These trees bring cool summer shade and vibrant, bird life and colour, providing natural habitat for local species. They hold stories, being the oldest, living witnesses of change and growth that we have in our community. They are part of the story of Townsville and of our ancestors. We cannot afford to lose them.

We realise that we can’t stop development of the broader land; however, we believe it is a reasonable expectation that some of these old trees be protected. That’s not a big ask for a development of this size. Surely the trees are worth protecting!?

One of the grand old trees that may be at risk. Photo courtesy of Mundy Creek Catchment Care.

A grand old tree at risk. Photo courtesy of Mundy Creek Catchment Care.

If left standing, these trees would help soften the hard concrete vista that this high density, urban development will create. With sensible landscape design and interpretive signage these old trees would bring meaning and value to the lives of future residents of the ‘Haven’ development, and the neighbourhood as a whole. This more balanced approach to development is fast becoming the norm, world wide, why not here in Townsville!

Local Aboriginal elder Russell Butler told us,  “The block of land contains many old trees that are sacred to us and the many animals that use them. We call these trees ‘buju’, meaning ‘friend’. We have to look after them, like we would friends and family because they provide us with shelter, shade and housing material…. These trees have cultural heritage significance and values to the Townsville Traditional Owner groups, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba peoples and need to be preserved.”

You can click on Mundy Creek Catchment Group to read more about their work and/or see more photos of the threatened area here. And you can go and look at the area for yourself. Driving towards the city along Percy Street (just before it becomes Bundock St), turn left into Harold Street to the point where it meets a little-known section of Hugh Street. (NB If you are coming from the city, then turn right into Harold Street). You can park here, and follow a dirt track, past the end house in a row of about 6 houses, towards the trees – you will see the Castle Hill PCYC buildings over to your right. You can walk through the trees as I did (closed shoes and long pants advised) but don’t go on to the active construction area.One last thing (yes, I might have mentioned it before!) PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION – thank you!


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