Cr Alan Hunter told the Byron Residents’ Group that the West Byron development is not the ‘relevant’ issue to the survival of koalas in our region. Instead he put forward a motion to investigate establishing a koala/wildlife sanctuary which could be used for a ‘breeding program’ and ‘tourist facility’.
I say yes! There is a critical situation facing our 240 remaining coastal koalas. But they already have a sanctuary. It is their natural habitat in Byron Shire – of which West Byron is the vital link through which they range from Brunswick to Broken Head.
Where does Cr Sol Ibrahim get his information from when he says that ‘No koala habitat will be destroyed’ as a result of this development? Of the core koala habitat identified a third is to be cleared for housing and shops. The developers acknowledge: ‘the suitability of this habitat for koalas is likely to diminish’ and ‘vegetation/habitat may require removal’.
I’m sorry Sol but the problem of domestic dogs and congestion from people/houses/traffic makes a mockery of any claims to seriously protect koalas.
Council has drafted a Koala Plan of Management. It makes no mention of a sanctuary which would involve the removal and translocation of koalas from their traditional habitat (West Byron perhaps?). Instead it aims to increase the total area of koala habitat to ensure a permanent free-living population over their present range and reverse the population decline.
The development proposed for West Byron could not meet the plan’s aspirations and would place its vision in jeopardy.
Yvette Steinhauer, Byron Bay