Nature-based thinking around the future of Birkdale Community Precinct


With Birkdale Community Precinct rich in protected ecology and environmental values, Redland City Council is encouraging people to consider the area’s natural assets as they imagine and share their ideas for future uses of the land.

The precinct sits within an ecological corridor along the lower Tingalpa and Coolnwynpin Creek catchments and links with a broader network of conservation reserves and protected areas, with almost two-thirds of the precinct being protected by an environmental covenant.

Mayor Karen Williams said the 62-hectare site had potential for a huge variety of community uses, providing they were respectful of the land’s ecology and environment.

“The protections mean the precinct’s habitat, wildlife and heritage will be safe and the community keeps the beautiful greenbelt we now see wrapping around the meandering Tingalpa Creek. I want to make it really clear that these areas are preserved for future generations and will be enhanced and connected to make areas of outstanding ecological importance to our wildlife,” Cr Williams said.

“That doesn’t exclude the community from being able to access and enjoy these beautiful areas in the future, as some low-impact ‘tread-lightly’ ideas that are respectful of their environment are possible. The community will always be the custodians of this protected conservation area which covers almost 40 hectares of the precinct, so how can it be best enjoyed perhaps through education and discovery opportunities?

“It brings to mind such endeavours as interactive nature walks, both day and night-time, and small scale, eco-friendly stay options, such as camping, glamping, perhaps even tree-house accommodation that help facilitate citizen science projects.

“These are just a few of the possible uses and we invite the community to help build the future by sharing their ideas for the site with us. The precinct offers wonderful opportunities for us to transform this site into an environmentally and family-friendly conservation and recreational area that we can all be proud of.”

Cr Williams said Council had undertaken extensive environmental and cultural studies and had implemented management plans for the precinct to protect its unique values.

“There is also the opportunity to enhance habitat connections throughout the site and beyond which is really how we can elevate the importance and quality of the ecology on the land beyond just a single patch,” she said.

“Some of the precinct’s areas that fall under a Community Facilities zone have minimal identified environmental values, allowing potential community uses amid the naturally wonderful environment across the precinct.”

Division 10 Councillor Paul Bishop said one thing COVID-19 had reminded us all of was the importance of people reconnecting – with themselves and family, within nature.

“In my view, the Birkdale Community Precinct site continues to remind us of the lessons that nature has been offering well before and since European arrival,” Cr Bishop said.

“Set within ancient land and cradled in the curves of a beautiful creek, this area offers an amazing opportunity for individuals and families to reframe our appreciation of economy, ecology and land use planning, as we reconnect with bountiful ecosystems within this place.”

Lat27 director Damian Thompson said reconnecting with nature had become even more critical in recent times as we travelled less and focussed more on our own back yards.

“This site presents an incredible opportunity to connect locals and visitors alike with the unique, largely unknown ecological attributes of this stretch of Tingalpa Creek,” he said.

Mr Thompson was one of five urban design and landscape architecture teams who created ideas boards for the precinct based around themes inherent to the site. His theme was Ecology and Environment.

A June 2020 study of the site’s ecology, commissioned by Redland City Council, discovered 219 flora species on the precinct, of which 146 were considered native species, and a total of 38 fauna species.

Future uses for the area will nurture and continue protecting these flora and fauna species.

The existing native vegetation identified in the report included native foods such as brush cherry, berry saltbush, ruby saltbush, native asparagus, kangaroo grass, warrigal greens (New Zealand spinach) and wombat berry.

For more information about Council’s community consultation on your input into possible future uses for Birkdale Community Precinct, visit yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au – see expert urban designers’ ideas, watch the videos, read the fact sheets, take a virtual tour of the precinct, and have your say.

Two open days when the community will have the rare opportunity to tour the site firsthand are planned for Friday April 16 and Saturday April 17, from 10am to 4pm. Full details on yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au

Consultation closes on Tuesday 4 May 2021.