The main thrust of Cornerstone's Platypus Environmental Management Plan was flawed. It suggested that it was unlikely that construction activities would do damage to platypus and their burrows. Moreover, this report took a minimalistic approach to the presence of platypus on the site and had no scientific evidence to support this assumption. Dr Carrick's report was a desktop study due to the fact he did not untertake a platypus survey of the site.
This was in stark contrast to the Obi Obi Campaign team's detailed scientific evidence that unequivocally demonstrated the presence of more than thirty active platypus burrow entrances on the creek bank. According to the independent survey using ground penetrating radar, several of these burrows extended at least 25 meters from the creek bank underneath the footprint of the constructed supermarket.
Impacts of Construction
Potential impacts of constuction on platypus and their habitat could not be adequately mitigated. Impacts included likely stress, injury, death, burrow destruction, vibration, noise, pollution and exposure to predation.
The footprint of the building extended to within 5 metres of the waterline and it was excavated to a depth of 2 metres. The ground penetrating radar survey indicated that the burrow depths varied between 0.6 and 1.5 metres. Therefore, excavation beyond any doubt exumed a significant percentage of the viable colony.
Risks of Relocation
The stress of handling, during any attempt at relocation, poses immediate health risks to platypus. Due to their territoriality, relocation of resident platypus would pose significant risks to their survival. In the event no animals were relocated, they were left to fend for themselves.
The platypus surveys indicated that this site was a hotspot for platypus. Stream morphology and bank formation constraints designated it a suitable platypus habitat. This unprecedented density of platypus burrows indicated that this site was vital platypus habitat. Protecting this key habitat was crucial to the survival of this specific platypus colony. The biggest threat to wildlife communities today is the destruction of habitats. Sadly, this continues to be the case.
Non Compliance Issues
The enacted Platypus Environmental Management Plan was a significantly diminished version of the original desk top platypus report done by Dr Carrick. Regardless of this, construction activities on 12th July, 2005 highlighted several areas of non compliance, including breaches of the conditions laid down by Qld Parks and Wildlife Service, Caloundra City Council and their own EMP. Nothing was done to prevent the destruction of the site. The construction went ahead...
Compelling video footage is available here.