The Queensland government has compulsorily acquired a 148ha site at Currumbin Waters to create one of Australia’s biggest eco-parklands.
The site, known as Martha’s Farm or Martha’s Vineyard, on Piggabeen Road, had been earmarked for a 350-lot residential estate.
It was put on the market in mid-2020 by retirement village operator Aveo Group and picked up by brothers John and Bruce Neumann of the Neumann Group for $15.2 million in May of this year.
The Neumanns’ approved plans included developing 38ha of the site with the remaining 110ha set aside for open space, including wetlands, walking and cycling trails, picnic areas and lookouts.
At the time of its approval, the developer said its proposed estate would “relieve pressure on the Gold Coast’s growing housing crisis”, where a chronic land shortage has contributed to soaring property prices.
In August, the state government announced it would compulsorily acquire the site ahead of the state election to “protect the important koala habitat and other local flora and fauna on the site”.
The Neumann Group, however, decided to move ahead with its already approved Verdana Currumbin project, launching an expression of interest campaign in mid-November with reportedly more than 200 people registering interest in the estate.
Minister for state development Steven Miles said the state government had been at an impasse with landowners to purchase the site since the start of the year.
When an agreement could not be reached, the land was compulsorily acquired, he said.
“The community’s message was clear, they asked us to protect and preserve this beautiful property and its unique, natural features and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Miles said.
Miles said the developer would be compensated for the land in accordance with the Acquisition of Land Act 1967.
The state government is now planning an eco-parkland comprising recreational facilities, local koala habitat including fodder eucalypt plantation, eco-tourism facilities and recreational trails through the 46ha forest.
“Community consultation on the future of the site will be key,” Miles said.
“The next steps will be seeking initial community views on the site and how it should be used to ensure that the project will deliver on community needs.
“We’re aiming to get this under way in the next few months.”