It was a sad day for koalas at the last Tweed Shire Council meeting. A men’s shed was approved at the Black Rocks sports field only 20 metres from koala habitat where koalas have been sighted, against the recommendations of koala expert and leading ecologist Dr Steve Phillips.
Council’s report reveals that the doors and windows are closed at the men’s shed at Pottsville Primary School because the noise and dust affect students. Will the three roller doors and windows be closed so that koalas are not impacted?
Dr Phillips has recently conducted a study which provides evidence that koalas respond adversely to loud noise and has established a link between disturbance and stress-related disease. This study has been peer-reviewed and will be published in January.
Crs Longland, Polglase, Youngblutt and Byrne voted not to defer the approval until the findings of this study are published.
The Threatened Species Conservation Society (TSCS) has received both scientific and legal opinion that a challenge in court is appropriate should the Men’s Shed DA be approved.
At the community access I raised a number of legal issues on behalf of TSCS and respectfully requested that approval of the Men’s Shed DA be deferred until these issues were investigated.
Crs Longland, Polglase, Youngblutt and Byrne voted down mayor Milne’s proposed amendments to increase bushfire protection.
The Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study 2015 was also approved. It paints a grim picture of further koala decline, with only half the sites surveyed having significant koala activity.
There is little hope for the koalas north of Koala Beach, and to the south koala activity is ‘stable’. However, this simply means that activity levels are as low as they were in 2011.
The TCKHS 2011 study found that under council’s watch the Tweed Coast koala population declined by approximately 50 per cent within the previous decade. Decisions being made are set to decimate the remaining koala population.
Please remember these names: Longland, Polglase, Youngblutt, Byrne and vote them out at the next Tweed Shire Council election.
Dave Norris, president Threatened Species Conservation Society