On the 27 March 2021, a rally was held at Redwood park to raise awareness around the negative impact that the proposed mountain bike track and associated activities would have upon the Redwood eco-system. Over 60 representatives from local ecological groups and members of the public attended the rally.
Redwood Park contains the last remnant dry rainforest in the Toowoomba region after every other remnant dry rainforest was destroyed by development. Redwood Park covers 243 hectares of bushland which is made up of grey ironbark, brushbox, river oak, birds nest ferns orchids, Moreton Bay fig, Broomstick wattle, blue gum and grass trees. This vegetation is home to a diverse collection of animals including goannas, white headed pigeons, brown cuckoo doves, eastern yellow robins, double bar finches, eastern whipbirds, scrub turkeys, Rufous fantails, and black-breasted button quail.
While all the animals residing in the Redwood Park are valuable, it is significant to note that the black-breasted button quail has only recently reappeared in the park. These birds are unable to fly, are quite shy and their inability to quickly get out of the way makes them extremely vulnerable to mountain bikes speeding through the park.
Part of the concerns raised by community members attending the rally was the inconsistency between the proposed mountain bike track and festivities within the park, against the Toowoomba Regional Council’s Green Infrastructure Strategy (GIS).
Toowoomba’s Green Infrastructure Strategy (GIS) sets the direction and initial actions to support a step change in how green infrastructure is valued, protected and enhanced across the Toowoomba Region so that it becomes business as usual in the near future. (p.7)
Any kind of step-change in the way we do things requires more than just funding a few projects. It requires a shift in mindset, a change in expectations, commitment to collaborate and a long-term investment in building both the knowledge and the will to deliver better outcomes. (p.23)
The GIS goes on to state that ‘our natural setting is unique and a strong part of our identity and needs to be both protected and celebrated’. (p.15).
If the council approves the mountain bike track, they will be acting in opposition to the GIS. They will not be showing that they value or will actively protect or enhance green infrastructure. The approval will devalue the forest and endanger the ecosystem. If Redwood Park is really a part of our identity which needs protection and celebration, TRC should act protectively and dismiss the mountain bike proposal.
DDEC agrees with the attendees of the Redwood Park Rally. We believe that Redwood Park is a valuable asset in the Toowoomba region. We recognise that a mountain bike track through the park would destroy much of the vegetation, expose the area to increased pollution and threaten many of the vulnerable birds which are currently thriving within the park. DDEC calls on the Toowoomba Regional Council to act in accordance with the GIS and find another more suitable area for the mountain bike track.