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Byron Shire
July 30, 2021

Hooning at Black Rocks not exaggerated

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Hope is a fragile thing in 2021. With the current pandemic and the uncertainty in so many aspects of life, our hope is being shadowed by fear. It is profoundly affecting our humanity.

I refer to recent media editorial in which Cr Barry Longland is quoted as describing reports of hooning at the Black Rocks sports field from a nearby resident as somewhat ‘exaggerated’.

If Cr Longland is referring to my reports, all hooning incidents have been factual, not exaggerated, and were accompanied by photographic evidence. These hooning incidents include motor vehicle, motor cycle, trail bike, mini bike and go-cart burnouts along the access road and sports field adjacent to koala habitat.

Last year there were two Black Rocks koala deaths due to the stress-related disease another sick Black Rocks koala remains uncaptured and in urgent need of treatment.

According to koala expert Dr Steve Phillips ‘it may already be that the levels of disturbance at Black Rocks are already contributing to elevated levels of disease’.

The resolution at the last Tweed Shire Council meeting included: ‘Council to bring a report to a future Council meeting with recommended options to address the impacts of hooning behaviour on the entrance road to the playing fields’.

It does not require a report on the illegal entry of dogs into the sports field site, even though council has been provided with documented evidence of numerous  incidents.

The proposed replacement of the koala/dog-proof gate with a koala grid (which allows vehicle access day and night) will not prevent dogs being transported into the site by motor vehicle. It will also give easy access to hooning and other evidenced koala-impactive activities such as model aeroplanes crashing and golf balls hit into koala habitat, shooting, home-made spud-cannon launching, fire-lighting, doof parties, etc.

Upon the recommendation of the koala experts in council’s  Koala Advisory Committee, the koala/dog-proof gate was installed in September 2014. Only five months later, four councillors voted for its removal.

Cr Longland is reported to have based his motion to remove the gates on complaints by 50 people in Pottsville.  What about the 2,263 people (416 from Pottsville and another 750 from the Tweed Coast strip) who signed a submission requesting that the koala/dog-proof gate be locked both day and night?

What about the 264 people who recently signed a petition in Cr Longland’s home town of Uki, requesting that the koala/dog-proof gate should not be removed?

What about the 7,000 submissions which have been lodged with council requesting greater protection of threatened species on the Tweed Coast?

Council has also been inundated with emails calling for the the motion to remove the gate to be withdrawn.

Why aren’t our Councillors Longland, Polglase, Youngblutt and Byrne listening to the broader community who want all protective measures in place to give our iconic koala a chance of survival on the Tweed Coast?

David Norris
, Pottsville


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