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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Pottsville koala-gate move sparks outrage

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The koala/dog proof gate is always open during the day, allowing motor-vehicle hoons, unleashed dogs and other koala-impacting activities to take place there.
The koala/dog proof gate which stopped motor-vehicle hoons, unleashed dogs and other koala-impacting activities at the Black Rocks sports field.

Luis Feliu

A move by a Tweed shire councillor to unlock gates protecting koalas around the Black Rocks sports field south of Pottsville has outraged koala campaigners.

Tweed Shire Council’s first meeting for the year next Thursday is expected to be packed out by koala supporters to hear debate on Cr Barry Longland’s controversial notice of motion to remove the entrance gates ‘as soon as possible’.

Cr Longland claims that the trial of locking the gates at night has been a ‘failure with significant negative impacts for the public’ and says ‘the removal of the gates as a matter of priority will restore access to public open space for the benefit of Tweed residents’.

But Team Koala says any backflip on Tweed councillors’ decision last year to close the gate at night when koalas are more likely to be on the move will ‘shake the community’s confidence’

Team Koala president Jenny Hayes said the area had been a magnet for hoons, particularly at night, which was the main reason for having it locked after hours.

Cr Longland, in his first notice of motion for the year, also calls for a staff report to look at options to address the impacts of ‘hooning’ behaviour on the entrance road to the playing fields.

But Ms Hayes has dismissed the move saying Tweed Coast’s endangered koalas w’ill be dealt yet another blow’ if Tweed Council backflips on its decision to install the night gate.

‘The endangered Tweed Coast koalas already pushed closer to extinction by a recent fire are facing yet another threat, this time from people who should know better, Tweed councillors,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘If Cr Barry Longland’s motion to remove a gate from an open space area at Black Rocks succeeds, then yet another step to extinction will have been taken.

‘The people actively engaged in protecting the last of Tweed Coast’s koalas had negotiated a compromise with council, leave the gate open during the day and close it at night when koalas are more likely to be on the move. The area had been a magnet for hoons, particularly at night.’

‘This sort of backflip will shake the community’s confidence in council. We all heavily rely on councillors to protect our lifestyle and to do the right thing by the environment.

‘I beg councillors to leave the gate in place and don’t backflip on the decision they had made to open the gate during the day and close it at night,’ Ms Hayes said.

Cr Longland, who originally voted to keep the gate locked at night, is expected to get support for his move from the National Party-aligned Crs Warren Polglase, Phil Youngblutt and Carolyn Byrne.

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  1. Barry must be going for the bogan vote.
    “Significant negative impacts”? Sure Barry…
    As for koalas, I guess he hasn’t read the rest of the Council Papers for this meeting, including the report on koalas at Black Rocks. It says the main “compliance issues” [which is code for: “the inevitable cock-ups from a poorly thought through policy”] include “gate closures, dogs, other prohibited activities and daytime vehicle use”. It also notes the Compliance Unit has “limited resources” [code for “can’t do a thing”].
    I also see the Scientific Committee has made a preliminary determination to support a proposal to list the Tweed Coast population of the koala as an endangered population under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. With Barry about, you can see why!
    But the main thing he seems to have overlooked is why a boom gate was originally put there in the first place… Hoons!
    So hoons, thanks to Bogan Barry, we’re back where we belong – its wheelie time at the sports field! Thousands of dollars damage and costs to ratepayers…But don’t worry about it. Barry doesn’t.
    I think we can guess how Shrek and the Donkey will vote. Princess Fiona? She has moments of reasonableness but I am not betting the Monaro on her voting against it.
    Barry did his dash with one side of politics with his decision to sack the GM. He’s done his dash with the other side with his decisions on koalas.

    T Clark

  2. There will be a march for Black Rocks koalas Monday 19th January. We meet at council steps at noon and proceed through Main Street. Please join us if you think Cr Longland is making a big mistake with his motion.
    Also we will meet prior to the council meeting Thursday 22nd January at 3.30pm, same place. Bring placards.

    The koalas are in dire straits. Another one there was recently found with chlamydia. And we just had that fire at Xmas … how much more can they take before they become extinct?


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