The Chronicle

Land buy explained

- TOM GILLESPIE

HABITAT conservati­on and potential tourism opportunit­ies were behind Toowoomba Regional Council making its largest land purchase since amalgamati­on.

Records reveal the council bought 130 hectares of land across two neighbouri­ng properties on the escarpment for $600,000.

The council bought the properties, one in Prince Henry Heights and one in Withcott, from previous owner June Ann Williamson in March this year.

It’s the council’s most significan­t land acquisitio­n since 2008, and caps off the organisati­on spending $48m of ratepayers’ money on 655 hectares of property throughout the past 10 years.

Environmen­t and community portfolio leader Councillor Tim McMahon said the decision to buy the escarpment land, which was made behind closed doors last year, was to help the council link Redwood and Jubilee Parks together.

“The decision to purchase the land was made on November 17, 2020 with the property valued by an independen­t registered valuer,” he said. “Council purchased this land as part of a long-term strategy to link Redwood Park and Jubilee Park.

“As part of this strategy council is aiming to bring regionally significan­t fire management trails into public ownership to further enhance bushfire protection for the communitie­s of Toowoomba and Withcott.

“Council also wants to facilitate the long-term developmen­t of a section of the adopted Trails Network Strategy – (the) Toowoomba Escarpment Trail.”

Mr McMahon said the council would investigat­e using firebreaks to help formalise links between Jubilee Park, Redwood Park and Prince Henry Drive Park through areas to the east of the escarpment.

“(This will) protect and enhance habitat conservati­on, ecological connectivi­ty, urban biodiversi­ty values and scenic viewpoints along the escarpment (and) facilitate the further developmen­t of significan­t regional parklands,” he said.

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