Black Swan Lake

The campaign for this small public open space in Bundall began in 2014 and has attracted the support of thousands of people, appalled that Council is giving this lake to the Gold Coast Turf Club to fill and use as a car park. Black Swan Lake is a haven to over 50 species of birds as well as other wildlife,andis an important green space for the neighbourhood.
Public open space in Gold Coast City is constantly under threat from some in the business sector, who see such land as open to commercial exploitation. There have been many examples of businesses wanting to develop public open space for their own personal profit. As many Councillors support business in these endeavours, it is left to the environment and community sectors to remain vigilant and campaign to retain essential green spaces in the city.
Black Swan Lake is both a symbol and real example of this disturbing behaviour.The community is very distressed about the wildlife losing their homes, as they will either have to find another habitat, be physically removed or euthanized.

My lovely cygnets

How it all began:

The original contention by Council was that the Gold Coast Show, then relocated to the Turf Club from Parklands, would need additional car parking. However this excuse for giving away public open space to the Turf Club no longer applies as the Show will not continue at this site. In 2016 Council virtually gifted this public land to the Turf Club for rent of $1.00 per year over 10 years. The land would be worth many millions of dollars.

What is Happening Now:

Gecko is actively supporting the Save Black Swan Lake campaign being led by Wildlife Queensland, Gold Coast and Hinterland Branch.  A second application in 2018 to infill the lake was recently granted following the withdrawal of the first application in 2017 due to “Council error”, in other words the process by Council of granting this application was found to be seriously flawed. The infill work has not started yet and Wildlife Queensland have been able to organise members and others to continue to:-

  • Watch at the Lake every day for over a year.
  • Be a presence at Council meetings on a regular basis to keep the matter in the forefront of Councillors minds.
  • Get the story into the local media
  • Explore options for legal action and
  • Refer the matter to the Department of Environment and Science.

These tactics have been successful to date in preventing the infill though there was a brief period this year when a small section of the Lake was filled.

Pen black swan sitting on her nest

You Can Help:

Relaxing swim on the lake

Conflict of Interest by Councillors

In addition to this there has been questions about potential conflict of interest by the Mayor and some Councillors in making this decision, when they are members of the Turf Club and Division One Councillor Donna Gates was elected to the Turf Club Board in 2017.

These serious matters have been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission and they are currently investigating the whole process.

The public support for saving the Lake has been overwhelming, with 38,000 people signing a petition to stop the infill and return the lake to the wildlife and the neighbourhood.

Regrettably the majority of Councillors are not responsive to the community’s views.

Despite this, Gecko has written a letter of objection pointing out that:-

  • The assessment should be as a material change of use allowing public objections as it is public open space.
  • No decision should be made until the completion of the Crime and Corruption Commission investigation and their decision.
  • That the limited environment report submitted is 2016 is out of date as it fails to mention the sighting of the migratory bird, Latham’s snipe. This bird is protected in Australia under international agreement with China, Japan and Korea.
  • Further, a threatened tree species recently listed under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), Casurina glauca fringes the lake and may be adversely affected by the filling.
  • This report also claims Black Swans are not breeding there despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
  • There has never been a hydrology report done to determine the impact of filling the lake on drainage of the surrounding areas.
  • The contaminated runoff from nearby stables, has never been addressed and if the Lake is filled this will be diverted to the adjacent canal in which local people fish and set crab pots.

This campaign will continue until this vital piece of public green space is restored to the community