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Byron Shire
March 31, 2023

Koalas in strife as council votes against dog ban

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[author]Steve Spencer[/author]

Tweed Shire councillors yesterday refused to accept a staff recommendation that dogs be banned from the proposed new Kings Forest ‘mini-city’ development.

The refusal was probably on the cards after Tweed mayor Barry Longland last week said without any scientific evidence that allowing domestic dogs into new housing estates may help reduce koala carnage by keeping the slow-moving marsupials away from roads.

Cr Longland admitted it was unproven theory that the sound and smell of domestic dogs, even while safely locked in a backyard, could be a deterrent to roaming koalas but says he hoped it would stimulate debate on how best to protect koalas from car accidents.

At the council meeting yesterday, despite shying away from the complete ban, Tweed councillors did request the state government’s department of planning consider the koalas’ situation before giving final approval to the development.

Their recommendations included:

Keeping all dogs enclosed in fully fenced and self-closing-gated yards.

Provision to enable additional patrols and compliance by council rangers to police the restrictions by a sinking fund, provided by the developer, and a different rate payable by future property owners who also own a dog at Kings Forest, in perpetuity.

The development by the department of a list of dogs that are historically known to be aggressive, predatory by nature and/or have a propensity to dig and tunnel and/or a propensity to develop a ‘pack mentality’ and that those breeds form a list of banned dogs at Kings Forest.

Ensuring all swimming pools and surrounding fencing is designed in such a way that should any koala accidentally fall into a pool, provisions are there for a koala to remove itself by way of steps, ropes and the like, as it is a fact that koalas do fall from trees into swimming pools.

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