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.
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.
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:-
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.
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:-