REASONS DON’T STACK UP
The decision by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) to not approve the sale of Lot 84 on SP204459 to the Douglas Shire Council (DSC) on behalf of Paws and Claws Homeless Animal Society and Boarding Kennels Inc. is appalling and unfounded.
The DSC has been in discussion with DNRM for over 12 months with regard to acquiring this block of land and has already spent considerable resources in doing so.
Over the past 12 months there has never been any indication that there was a problem with developing a homeless animal shelter on the site.
The department is also aware of the current circumstances of Paws and Claws, in that they had to vacate their previous facility in September of this year due to the owner wanting to develop the land.
The Paws and Claws Homeless animal shelter has no place to call home. The need for this local facility is of utmost importance with the RSPCA facility in Cairns about to close and another facility undergoing major renovations, thereby limiting the number of animals they can house.
At the eleventh hour, the Department has deemed that the land is now not suitable as it supposedly contains significant and sensitive environmental values, incorporating wetlands, of concern regional ecosystems and essential habitat for the endangered Southern Cassowary.
This area is not cassowary habitat. It does not support the type of vegetation for cassowaries to survive and in the 28 years that I have lived in the Douglas Shire, I have never seen or heard of anyone else seeing a cassowary at or near this site.
I concur that the land has environmental values (as do most blocks of land) but these should not prevent a strictly conditioned development approval for a fenced animal shelter. It could be argued that there is the potential for more environmental damage from marauding dogs and cats if the sale of the land and the building of this facility do not go ahead.
If the State Government is now so concerned about protecting cassowary habitat from further development, it should provide some substantial funding to buy back the remaining undeveloped blocks of land north of the Daintree River, which definitely is cassowary habitat. In the meantime it should get on with selling this land to the DSC so that Paws & Claws are no longer homeless.
Roisin Allen, Shannonvale