The claws are out
THE Douglas Shire Council has been ordered to consult environmentalists about a proposed animal shelter site before the government makes a decision on the property.
But the council has hit back, saying none of the six green groups had previously raised concerns about the Yule Point site for Paws and Claws.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu is seeking an urgent meeting with Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham, describing the handling of the situation as “atrocious”.
“I’m astounded that this is how the process has evolved, where council is instructed to seek the approval of a number of groups, at least one of which has provided the department with false information, before deciding whether to approve our request or not,” she said.
Cr Leu said that the council’s submission, arguing against the Natural Resources and Mines Department’s initial refusal, was proof enough that the proposed site was not ‘remnant rainforest that includes essential cassowary habitat’ as the Queensland Conservation Council had claimed.
According to the council, the conservation council (QCC) had “made false assertions to the department regarding the proposed site” ... and has urged the department to “‘immediately advise council that the land in question will not be sold for the Paws and Claws shelter proposal and will instead be protected as remnant rainforest and cassowary habitat”.
The council said none of the six groups had approached the council with any concerns about the previously identified parcel of land at Yule Point.
“Is this how the state government conducts its business these days — do major projects in Brisbane, Cairns or anywhere else for that matter require this to occur before a proper assessment of the facts is made?”
Cr Leu said that the council would comply with the minister’s directive but wanted Dr Lynham and relevant department heads to meet her on the site to discuss the proposal.
Paws and Claws president and shire councillor Michael Kerr said the job of the department “is to sort this out, not pass the buck or make us deal with groups that have already been seen to put false assertions forward on this issue”.
“As both president of Paws and Claws and a councillor I wholly support the mayor’s decision to make this public and take the action she has,” he said.
QCC head Dr Tim Seelig said “clearing rainforest habitat for a dog and cat shelter is totally unacceptable”.
“This is an appalling proposal, which should be thrown in the bin straight away,” said Dr Seelig. He said the proposal in Douglas was a sign of a broader problem attitude towards land clearing “which continues to spiral out of control”.
The council has been instructed to also consult the Australian Conservation Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, North Queensland Conservation Council, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and the Wilderness Society.
Paws and Claws President Michael Kerr.