Your help is needed to watch over some important bushland. Gecko would like local residents who walk in the general area of southern Palm Beach near the dog beach and Rockview Park to keep a watch on the bushland on this sand spit that fronts the lagoon and advise us if there is any action to remove trees in this bushland. You can contact Gecko on 5534 1412.

On 25 February, a meeting was held in Councillor MacDonald’s office between Council Officers, Gecko Environment Council and Councillor MacDonald.

The Council officers outlined their plans for a path or boardwalk through the centre of the bushland on the western side of the Palm Beach Spit and to also provide picnic spots of either grass or wooden platforms within this bushland for the benefit of users of the spit and lagoon. The officers stated that only dangerous trees and weeds would be removed. An ecological study has been done by Biome. No changes are to be made to the bushland on the eastern side of the central path on this spit.

Gecko raised objections to this plan to disturb the bushland and was advised that it would go out to public consultation later this year.

Our Objections:

• The bushland under consideration for a path and picnic place is small and has taken decades to reach its current state of integrity and is developing into a littoral rainforest, a type of vegetation now rare on the Gold Coast.

• This small piece of coastal bushland is an important local habitat for birds, lizards and invertebrates as well as providing stability to the sand dunes and visual amenity for the community. The local Yellow-tailed black cockatoos fly to this bushland whenever the Banksia trees are in seed and this is an important food source for these birds.

• The integrity of this small patch of the bush will be severely compromised by the construction of a boardwalk or path through it along with picnic spaces. Any disturbance will increase weed species and picnic areas are likely to result in increased rubbish. There is already a problem with some dog walkers leaving full poo bags hanging from trees or left on the ground.

• Council has spent many thousands of dollars on rehabilitating this bushland so it makes little sense to now destroy its integrity for the sake of a few people having a place to picnic when there is ample space nearby.

Background to Currumbin Creek natural areas:

During 1979 and 1980 the community led a vigorous and successful campaign, against the Belke-Petersen Government of the day, to stop Lend Lease developing the entire north bank of Currumbin Estuary with condominiums, a shopping centre, and marina. This proposal would have seen the total destruction of the Palm Beach parklands and Tarrabora and Beree Badalla reserves that the community enjoys today.

The sand spit was to be relocated to an area opposite Currumbin Rock. Following the success of this campaign these reserves were protected by legislation and are under the trusteeship of the Gold Coast Council. Later when the Palm Beach Bowls Club closed the community were consulted about the future of what is now Palm Beach Parklands and the Dune café and community room was leased to the Currumbin RSL, while the pirate ship playground was constructed and has proved to be extremely successful. This latter is now being redeveloped.
This spit has had a controversial background firstly with the construction of the rock wall to stabilize the entrance and stop the creek wandering north as it had done forever. This was also done to protect the two high rise buildings, Royal Palm and Princess Palm which were built contrary to the city plan of the time.

The area known as Rockview Park, immediately in front of these two towers also has a controversial background as attempts were made by the developers and body corporate to incorporate this public land into the tower grounds for the exclusive use of the unit owners and users. A community campaign was launched and this attempt was thwarted. However there are still those within the towers who object to any planting in Rockview Park as it might spoil their views. Some exercise equipment has been placed in this park, but there are no seats or picnic shelters despite the fact that there is a great expanse of mown grass suitable for this use.

Over several decades Council has invested in the rehabilitation of the spit with planting and weeding by contractors.

The bushland which is now there is reported to be at a stage of transitioning to a littoral rainforest, a form of ecology that is now rare on the Gold Coast.

At present there is a very small patch of littoral rainforest at Narrowneck that would have been destroyed for a surf club extension had not the community intervened and requested and received support from retired Councillor Baildon who stopped this proposal and arranged for funding for the rehabilitation of this patch.

Council is currently engaged in replanting a littoral rainforest on the northern and central parts of the Federation Walk Coastal Reserve, which is supported by the community.