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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Koalas and sportsfield don’t mix

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Australia’s leading koala expert, Dr Steve Phillips (with over 40 years of experience in koala matters), has announced that the Black Rocks sportsfield is one – if not the most – important koala recovery location on the Tweed Coast.

It supports the most southern currently known resident koala population, and is ideally placed to accommodate both north-south and east-west koala movement.

To date 2,256 concerned citizens have signed a submission in support of revegetation of the Black Rocks sportsfield (as recommended by Dr Phillips and three other ecologists).

This would strengthen the existing significant stands of primary koala habitat trees adjacent to the site and stop the koala-impactive activities which persist in the middle of a koala breeding area.

It is ideal for ‘gap filling’ in order to reduce habitat fragmentation and will create a strong effective habitat block crucial to the survival of koalas which need to range safely over long distances in order to disperse gene diversity and prevent in-breeding, disease and death.

A recent council study of Tweed sporting needs states that the current participation rate for Tweed residents equates to a demand for 1.3 hectares per 1,000 people.

These statistics indicate that there is an over-supply of four hectares of sporting infrastructure in the southern precinct, which includes the Pottsville area. This explains why the Black Rocks sports field is rarely used for organised sporting events.

Considering that the study reveals that there is a lifestyle trend away from organised sport on the Coast, there seems little need to retain or replace the Black Rocks sportsfield.

Population growth in this precinct over the next 17 years is expected to be negligible other than at the nearby proposed Dunloe Park residential estate. The Tweed Development Control Plan states that further sporting infrastructure is to be supplied within the Dunloe footprint.

I should also emphasise the amount of casual open space that is available in the Black Rocks area (other than the sportsfield).

There is a 20-metre wide fire trail/bicycle/walkway surrounding the entire Black Rocks by the Sea estate. The bicycle/walkway extends next to Mooball Creek most of the way into Pottsville. There are several pocket parks as well as access to Mooball Creek and a large expanse of beach, providing options for fishing, watersports and kicking/hitting balls.

This is a unique opportunity to provide a lasting legacy for our children. The Black Rocks sportsfield is owned by the people (council are caretakers on our behalf). It is up to us to decide on its future use. Given the challenges the Tweed Coast koalas face, they need the sportsfield site more than we do.

Dave Norris, Pottsville



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  1. As a tweed resident who lives here BECAUSE of the natural bushland and wildlife I must ask the question of HOW ARE WE HELPING OUR DWINDLING KOALAS? Im aware of a Govt funded project to vegetate koala corridors on private properties.
    Surely it would be a no-brainer to preserve these already existing koalas and their habitat in this pivotal spot at very little expense & effort??


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