Environmentalists Challenge Development of Luxe Retirement Eco-Village Abadi Gaia in Goodna

Abadi Gaia, a planned development consisting of a luxe retirement eco-village and aged care facility across five hectares of bushland in Goodna, has been met with strong objections from locals and environmentalists.

PGS Invest Pty Ltd lodged the development application (DA 11756/2021/MCU) with the City of Ipswich for Abadi Gaia, which means “Mother Earth,” in July 2021. Its approval is still under review following a public notification from May to June 2022.  

Billed as the “world’s best-designed eco-retirement village,” Abadi Gaia will comprise 189 independent living units and a dementia facility with 81 beds and 15 special disability units. The facility will also have a hub and piazza precinct with restaurants and community venues, like a gym, sauna, business centre, and library. 

“Abadi Gaia Adult Residential Village is an active resort retirement, aged care & dementia and SDA facility in keeping with, and enhancing the environmental attributes of the site, presenting a quality in design concept and build intended as a hallmark in retirement excellence, offering benefits not only to residents and tenants but also serving the greater community,” the company said. 

Abadi Gaia
Photo Credit: DA/Ipswich CC

However, the location of the residential village is also along a passageway for the endangered koalas. Members of the Bellbird Park Preservation Group said that the development would impact the animals navigating through the bushlands. 

“This site represents a critically important linkage role as part of a Koala Corridor stretching from Ric Nattrass Environmental Park, through to the Church Street Reserve, and further on to the Redbank Rifle Range. These sites are within the Redbank Urban Consolidated Area as defined within ICC’s 2017 Koala Conservation and Habitat Management Plan,” Terry Winston of the preservation group said. 

Abadi Gaia
Photo Credit: DA/Ipswich CC

“The proposed development will have a detrimental impact by restricting the Koala movement trying to navigate through a Corridor that not only runs parallel to the High Voltage Transmission Power Lines, but has a minimal width varying from 45 metres (narrowest) to 51 metres.

“The fact that over 1,700 Non-Juvenile Koala Habitat Trees will be cleared as a result of this proposed development is not justifiable in this set of circumstances.”

However, Adam Slijderink, the head of PGS, believes that the multi-million dollar development will improve the koala habitat as provisions have been included to add more trees in the area. 

Prior to submitting the development application, the PGS team reviewed environmental reports from 2007 to current to know the risks to wildlife. As he understands it, koalas have not been using the corridor for years due to a lack of vegetation, and their project will fix this gap.

Mr Slijderink, a globally recognised builder, is also an environmental specialist, who is dealing with his own health and disability concerns and is expecting his health to deteriorate in the next five years. Thus, he understands the need for such a specialized facility in Ipswich.

The preservation group, however, said that tree replanting will not be enough as endangered species do not have enough time to wait for the trees to grow. They are hoping that the Council will also buy part of the bushland and work with the developer to completely rehabilitate the surrounding.