Poona Lake  -  Development Site 'P'

As stated on the home page, Poona Lake is unique and fragile. It is loved by many people for its intact, undeveloped natural beauty.

Constructing 10 x 38mtre2 private luxury accommodation units within the lake catchment (see green masked area on image) disrespects and threatens the character of Poona Lake and the needs of its existing visitor base. 

The long green line on the map image indicates the road construction needed to service the planned unit site. This road would cut across and down a sand slope inside the lake catchment. It would be used daily to service tourists' luxury requirements. Erosion and weed delivery inside the lake catchment could not certainly be avoided.

The potential for severe impact to this site and its surrounds from additional fire, and from fire risk management, would be substantial if not inevitable.

The project managers have acted to avoid all attempts to get useful answers about evidently serious site issues. An extensive set of questions on all aspects of the development project was submitted to the Department on Oct. 12, 2021. Very specific and serious concerns about the Poona lake development site were asked. All were effectively avoided and remain unanswered.

Read the full Q&A here. 

Two examples from the Q&A list:

Large blackbutt trees stand over the cabin sites. These present serious risk of limb fall. We have asked if trees will be cleared to eliminate this evident risk. Responses have not given a straight answer.

The Poona Lake site is in deep shade under the blackbutt trees. We have asked for explanation of how the proposed solar power supply will work in the shade and what will be the necessary schedule for generator operation given that heavy shade. The Department's response avoided the question.

These two Q&A's are quoted below in full.

It is not possible that these site issues are not yet decided at this advanced stage of site planning. Refusal to provide the requested detail is dishonest. It clearly indicates concealment of intent to clear the large blackbutt trees on and near the Lake Poona development site. This will be required to address limb fall liability and to enable solar panel function on this site. The action will be justified after it is done. It should be properly scrutinised beforehand.

Loss of these large Blackbutt trees would be catastrophic to the integrity and value of the Poona Basin. Govt. reports characterise this Blackbutt vegetation community as being not environmentally significant. This is a terrible oversimplification. It disregards the exceptional integrity of this example of the vegetation type. It also ignores its structural importance to the Lake catchment.

This degree of development impact, and the lack of rigor and honesty toward inflicting it, is NOT eco-tourism.

If the project was genuine to eco-tourism principles it would locate the camp site at the start of the proposed road, thus removing the need for road and campsite disturbance inside the Lake catchment.

 

Government response dismisses this suggested alternative due to the small amount of extra walking distance. Yet they are happy to add even greater walking distance, and impact, to access postcard views at the Noosa River site.

This project sells glamour at the cost of precious natural values.

It is property development, not eco-tourism. 

Submitted Questions re limb fall:

  1. The Site Selection History report provided with the EPBC referral explicitly identifies issues with limb fall liability at the current chosen Poona Lake site. What measures does the CGWEP propose to manage this clearly evident risk and liability?

  2. Is the clearing of large trees within the accommodation lease or along the proposed new vehicle access track to the Lake Poona site prohibited under the terms of the project contract, or would it be allowed if deemed necessary by the proponent, or by relevant regulatory bodies for client safety?

Government Response

  • DES will require design and operational consideration of branch and tree fall prior to final project approval.

  • It is the preference of DES and the Kabi Kabi People that large trees at all sites be avoided for cultural and ecological reasons, and that site and structure designs build around large trees and branch fall constraints.

  • Clearing of any large trees on any site will require further consideration by DES and the Kabi Kabi First Nations People, and may trigger additional approvals from local, State and/or Commonwealth authorities prior to final project approval.

Summary

The site is marked out ready for cabin placement. The pattern and scale of overhanging tree limbs and associated risk is clearly identifiable. The response demonstrates either inept project planning given its advanced state or a deceitful avoidance of disclosure of known intent.   

Submitted Question re solar power and site shade:

  1. How will the proposed Lake Poona site be powered given the heavy canopy cover and shaded ground condition? How often would diesel-powered generators need to be used to ensure power for hot showers, cooking etc.? Based on what evidence?

Government Response:

  • Preliminary project designs indicate that the CGWEP may employ an on-site (rooftop) solar power and battery storage system.

  • Tree canopy shading has been identified as an issue for power generation, and has been suggested to be resolved through a combination of technological solutions (employing solar panels which can continue to function when partly shaded) and capacity and occupation restrictions (to allow batteries time sufficient time to recharge between visits).

  • The development will likely require a backup generator on site due to food storage on site, and to provide backup charge to the battery system during prolonged low light events (i.e. successive heavy cloud days).

Summary:

The Poona Lake site is in deep shade. The response avoids this evident fact and avoids all of the consequent issues that are explicitly raised in the question.

Read the full set of questions and responses.

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