News

Taupo Business Planning Retreat 2019

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In November 2019, our directors and staff travelled to Taupo, New Zealand for a business planning and strategic direction retreat. Held over 5 days, the retreat allowed us to analyse business success over the preceding 12 months, set a strategic direction for our existing and emerging areas of practice, and discuss systems and processes…… that’s was the boring stuff. 

The exciting stuff

Tourism and ecotourism projects such as Sheraton Mirage Resort, Big Pineapple and Takarakka Bush Resort have been keeping us busy and interested for some time now. With further projects in the pipeline, we took an opportunity to see how the Kiwis are delivering conservation outcomes in their eco-tourism projects.  

We met up with Tongariro River Rafting, the team coordinating the ‘The Blue Duck Project on the Tongariro River. The Blue Duck (also known as Whio), which has very specific breeding habitat (high quality, fast flowing reaches of rivers that are prone to flooding) has suffered a significant decline. 

Where suitable habitats remain intact pressure from human interaction and hydro schemes are an issue, but the greatest threat arises from predation by stoats and rats. This is where the Blue Duck Project is making a unique contribution to the species’ recovery. 

On the Tongariro River, much of the Blue duck breeding habitat cannot be accessed by land but is passed daily by the company’s guided rafts. It was soon realised that Tongariro River Rafting was ideally placed to assist in conservation and recovery of the Blue duck by providing access (to otherwise inaccessible) breeding habitat for culling of stoats and rats. The Blue Duck Experience was hatched 😊.

Since implementation of the program the team at Tongariro River Rafting has logged breeding success and noted the (increasing) number of adult ducks as they take tourists along for their rafting adventure. Their Blue duck trip provides further immersion in the conservation effort, with rafters checking and re-baiting predator traps in riparian areas. 

The Blue duck project demonstrates how ecotourism can be sustainably accomodated in sensitive areas, and how it can supplement the conservation efforts of government. We’ll seek to identify and incorporate similar win-win conservation initiatives on our projects back here in Queensland.

Cricket tradition

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Our annual day with clients and colleagues at the First Test

This is the fifth year of what seems likely to be a long tradition of taking our valued clients and colleagues to a day at the cricket. This year Pakistan was rolled on Day 1, leaving us with a very enjoyable day of Australian batting on Day 2. A great day was had by all.

QELA Conferences

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Annual Conference

28 South Environmental sponsored and chaired the legal session on the second day of the annual QELA conference, held at Twin Waters on 5-7 June 2019. 

Our principal environmental planner, Chris Cantwell also presented his paper in the Alternatives session – titled Revolutionary? The role of planning and environmental policy in wind farm investment in Queensland.  

Chris’ presentation was well-received and informed delegates of the current impediments to wind farm development in Queensland, despite a facilitative planning framework and market demand for wind energy.  Chris’ background in renewable energy development meant he was uniquely placed to provide insights from both a developer’s and consultant’s perspective. 

Get in touch with Chris for a copy of the presentation and paper – Chris@28south.com.au 

Regional Intensive

Mitch and Wayne attended the QELA regional intensive in Rockhampton.

The conference explored issues relevant to regional QLD with a focus on planning and economic growth, water resources, local government schemes and land uses.

The hands-on conference was well attended and provided an opportunity for our team to gain insight into regional matters that impact many of our projects and clients throughout regional QLD.

It was also a great opportunity to see the inside of many historic buildings (mostly pubs), visit Mt Archer, and undertake a night tour of the Mt Etna caves.

Recent Project Success

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Carseldine Urban Village

During 2017-2018, we coordinated ecological and bushfire hazard assessment for the Carseldine Urban Village, Brisbane. EDQ has recently received development approval for the project, and has commenced civil works for Stage S and 1. These first stages flag the commencement of an important transit-oriented development project. 28 South has played a key role in obtaining approvals for the overall Masterplan and subsequent development stages under the Fitzgibbon Development Scheme. We have been heavily involved in design of the development layout, particularly in regard to protection of important habitat; prepared flora and fauna management, and rehabilitation management plans; and advised on the provision of fauna movement infrastructure. We’re providing ongoing support for EDQ during the project’s construction phase. 

Cadmium Holdings v Gold Coast City Council – Planning and Environment Court Appeal 1483 of 2018 

We were engaged by the Appellant to provide expert evidence on terrestrial ecology matters in this appeal. The proposal (a unit development) sat generally within the footprint of an approved residential project, but sought to significantly increase development yield within this footprint. We were required to determine if the proposed development would cause any greater impact on the Site’s ecological values than the approved development. Significant comparative analysis of the two projects was required, and coordination with other experts was needed to mitigate and resolve potential new impacts. Our detailed work allowed rebuttal of opposing arguments and ecology was dropped as a reason for refusal before commencement of the hearing. The appeal was upheld, and the project is now progressing to detailed design. 

Petrie Mill Redevelopment Project

Following our successful involvement with Moreton Bay Regional Council in obtaining approval under the EPBC Act for the Petrie Mill Redevelopment Project, Petrie, we have recently been assisting Council in demonstrating compliance with approval conditions in light of ongoing decontamination activities on site.  Regular monitoring demonstrates that the site continues to maintain a growing and healthy koala population.  The project is on track to deliver a University of the Sunshine Coast campus, complemented by an innovation hub, transit-oriented mixed-use development, recreational precinct and significant conservation areas for the benefit of resident koalas and other fauna.