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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Koala survival versus pride and power games

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Tweed mayor Gary Bagnall should be applauded for having the fortitude and concern to try and get some sensible support for a critically important issue as koala protection on the Tweed Coast.

He is driven to take action because he is not getting reasonable decision making from his pro-development opponents on council.

Below is a part of a note sent by the NSW government’s Office of Environment and Heritage sent to the general manager of the council in regard to the koala Black Rocks issue, which really does encourage the initiative of persons to go the extra mile if there are dangerous decisions being made, which is what the mayor did.

‘Please note the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 contain intervention provisions which may be exercised if in the opinion of OEH there is any action proposed which is likely to result in harm to a threatened species, population or ecological community’.

Those who love living in the Tweed area for its beauty, wildlife and lifestyle should think very carefully about whom they vote for next time, for if such self important councillors continue to overrule so many important matters the area will no longer be the lovely place it is now, and there would be no doubt that the future of koalas in the Tweed would be under threat.

Let’s look back at the sports field area and its inappropriate location and how this actually came about.

A revealing look at what a past council did to suit their own agenda and not listen to the bodies advising on the more suitable locations and why this site was definitely not a suitable area to be earmarked for a sports field, right in the middle of a koala corridor in the first place.

Below is part of a comment written by the Geo Link supported by the National Parks and Wildlife September 2002:

  • Landuse recommendations proposed by GeoLINK (Figure 3) are supported by the Service except for the location of the 4ha sports field. The Service has recommended that this sports field be located outside of the subject site. This is to maintain the integrity of the wildlife corridor and significant koala habitat which would be severed by the proposed access road and infrastructure of the proposed sports field. It would also create human disturbance in this area where it currently does not exist.

This is why, we the community are seeing all this attention to the Black Rocks sports field today and why it has been such a thorn in the side to the present day council, because of the bad decision making of the then said council.

The councillors are supposed to

‘properly manage, develop, protect, restore, enhance and conserve the environment of the area for which it is responsible’

‘have regard for the long term and cumulative effects for its decisions’.

Let us appreciate the mayor’s efforts in standing up to the dreadful opposition he is facing among his own councillors, to make sure this doesn’t happen and hope that he will be remembered for the legacy of koalas still surviving and flourishing in the Tweed Shire for many years to come and not for their demise.

Koala supporters are urged to attend a public talk by koala expert Dr Steve Phillips at the Pottsville Community Hall at 2pm on Saturday.

Joan Doris, Highland Park

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