Dec 3, 2008

Franke Road development plans

In recent weeks, some concerns have been raised regarding Council plans for Franke Road. We were told by the Engineer (Northern Region) of the Toowoomba Regional Council that a 70 or 80kph road was going to go straight across the gully containing the scrub. We were also more than a little taken aback to be told by the same engineer that he "saw no reason" why we shouldn't continue our work there, even though the scrub was earmarked for future destruction.
We now find that there has been a plan in place for some time, just as we were told in 2006, to divert the road around the scrub. Land had been acquired so that adequate space is available to build a road with curves designed for traffic at 50kph." We have always understood that some clearing of eucalypts on the eastern boundary of the road reserve will be required in order to move the road as close as possible to the eastern boundary of the road reserve.
It has been a positive experience for us, communicating with a range of people and resulting in wide-ranging support. As housing development expands, this piece of remnant scrub will become a special green space amenity for the area.
In a letter from the Mayor Peter Taylor, we have been assured that the Regional Council is aware of the conservation value of this Reserve which will be protected when the adjacent road is constructed. He commended our efforts in maintaining this area and we have been invited to meet with the Director of Engineering Services, on site, to inspect preliminary engineering design drawings.
We thank the Toowoomba Regional Council, Mayor Peter Taylor [Mayor], Cr. Bill Cahill [Environment portfolio], Toowoomba Field Naturalist Club, Friends of Peacehaven, Mark Schuster from Condamine Alliance, Rachael Pignat from Toowoomba Landcare and others for their interest and support.
We would also like to thank Steve Plant, Natural Resource Management Field Officer for the Toowoomba Regional Council (Northern Region), for advising us of the potential problem. The Crows Nest Shire Council recognised the conservation value of Franke Scrub at least two decades ago, and oversaw the formation of our group early in 2006 with Steve as our point of liaison. We are indeed grateful that he has continued in this role under the new council, and that he notified us as soon as he was made aware of the possible change in the road plan.
As housing development expands, this piece of remnant scrub will become a special green space amenity for the area.