De­vel­oper in­ves­ti­gated over man­grove clear­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

A PROM­I­NENT lo­cal de­vel­oper is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Re­source Man­age­ment in re­spect of an al­le­ga­tion his con­trac­tor de­stroyed pro­tected species on a prop­erty at Yule Point.

Two State Govern­ment agen­cies launched in­ves­ti­ga­tions last week af­ter re­ceiv­ing com­plaints from a neigh­bour that John Lor­dan’s con­trac­tor had al­legedly de­stroyed pro­tected species, ploughed tracks through to the beach and tres­passed on the neigh­bour’s prop­erty at Yule Point.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

The state in­ves­ti­ga­tion is be­ing led by DERM, with as­sis­tance from the Depart­ment of Em­ploy­ment, Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment and In­no­va­tion.

“DERM is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­leged unau­tho­rised clear­ing of veg­e­ta­tion at Yule Point,” DERM’s North Queens­land re­gional ser­vices di­rec­tor An­drew Buck­ley said.

“The depart­ment con­sid­ers il­le­gal clear­ing of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion to be a se­ri­ous mat­ter.”

Mr Lor­dan’s neigh­bour Linda Lane is fu­ri­ous at what she calls “whole­sale de­struc­tion” of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion on Mr Lor­dan’s prop­erty and a neigh­bour­ing state re­serve.

Ms Lane also al­leges Mr Lor­dan’s new beach ac­cess track drives straight onto her block.

“Some­one has driven a dozer straight across state land and crashed onto my land,” she said. “It’s just not on.” Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Val Schier said she had vis­ited Ms Lane, and was concerned by what she had seen.

“I stopped in Yule Point on my way to Moss­man last week,” she said.

“It ap­pears that some­one has tres­passed on her land and bull­dozed a road.

“It ap­pears that some­one has been try­ing to gain ac­cess to the beach, and has tres­passed on pri­vate land and re­serve land.

“I wit­nessed habi­tat de­stroyed, in­clud­ing or­chids, ferns and trees.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers are pre­par­ing a re­port in re­spect of the al­le­ga­tion con­cern­ing habi­tat de­struc­tion.”

Di­vi­sion 10 councillor Ju­lia Leu said it was crit­i­cal man­groves are pro­tected and state and coun­cil’s pol­icy and reg­u­la­tions in re­la­tion to man­groves are en­forced.

“We need to do ev­ery­thing we can do ev­ery­thing we can to pro­tect them be­cause they are breed­ing sites for prawns and other com­mer­cial ma­rine species, and they pro­vide pro­tec­tion from tsunamis and cy­clones,” she said.

“Stud­ies have found wet­lands and in­fra­struc­ture sur­vive much bet­ter af­ter cy­clones when man­groves are pro­tected.”

In March 2007, Mr Lor­dan was fined $1000 for clear­ing man­groves and hibis­cus from one of the blocks he owns at Yule Point.

Mr Lor­dan, who owns sub­stan­tial land­hold­ings and sev­eral busi­nesses in Port Dou­glas, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

“You need to get your facts straight,” he told the Gazette.

How­ever, Mr Lor­dan would not dis­cuss the re­cent work done on his prop­erty.

Un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion: some of the al­leged land­clar­ing

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