11.3 C
Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Wanchap’s propaganda and actions betray shire’s koalas

Latest News

All fired up: former magistrate fumes at news of the world

How does one react to news of environmental vandalism, rampant domestic violence and mutilation of women without anger or distress?

Other News

Lismore City Council declares housing emergency, wants more units

A Lismore City Council housing survey had shown more than 60 per cent of residents were living by themselves or with one other person, Cr Ekins said, prompting ‘a real need for smaller housing or units’.

War The Bloody Hell Are You?

When faced with potential conflict, why are we abandoning the strategy that’s worked in the past for one that will definitely fail?

Father and son win first sailing race

Sixteen boats competed in the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s race day earlier this month in a 10-12 knot breeze...

Interview with Nick Sergi, producer of the Byron Music Festival

Nick Sergi, producer of the Byron Music Festival talks to The Echo.

Diverse and resilient

Andrya Hart, The Channon After statements and actions by some Rous councillors, I am left wondering how many refusals to...

Oceans 15 triumphant return

The Ocean Shores Aquatics team have returned home with some great results after a month-long stint at various State...

I consider Byron Shire councillor Rose Wanchap’s claims about West Byron to be misleading propaganda. I find it extremely worrying that someone with such a poor grasp of the facts is in a position of power to decide our future.  I can only try to redress the koala issue here.

Byron Council’s draft Coastal Koala Plan of Management (KPoM) identifies 12.8 ha of core koala habitat on West Byron, of which 4.6 ha has now been rezoned for development.

There were two surveys undertaken in 2010 for the developers that sampled part of this habitat. The one by Biolink (cited by Rose Wanchap) sighted two koalas (sex not identified). The Australian Wetlands survey sample sighted three koalas (one female).

Nobody has yet done a comprehensive survey of West Byron to identify the full numbers of koalas that use this habitat.

As noted by Dr Steve Phillips ‘The low number of koalas sighted does not necessarily reflect the actual number of koalas that are using the site and to imply that it does entirely misrepresents the local importance of the site to koalas’.

The Biolink report identifies koala records on the site back to 2007 (back to 1953 in the vicinity), and cites caravan park residents as regularly observing koalas, to conclude that there is a resident population.

It is outrageous for Rose Wanchap to intentionally misrepresent Dr Phillips’ Biolink report by claiming that the only koalas sighted were males and to pretend there is not a resident population. It is equally outrageous for her to imply that Biolink undertook a comprehensive survey.

With an estimated Byron coast population of only 240 koalas, the loss of any is significant, though the consequences could be far greater.

West Byron is a key link for movement between the north and west of Byron Bay. I am concerned that if this core koala habitat is cleared and surrounded by development then this link will be broken and surviving koalas to the west of Byron are unlikely to be able to survive in isolation.

Thanks to Wanchap’s misinformation and blocking of the draft KPoM we could lose the joy of seeing an occasional koala in our yards.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Business calls for Tweed train tracks to be kept ignored

More than 800 people had signed a petition calling for a new rail trail to be built next to, rather than in place of, the existing disused railway line running through the shire.

Resilient communities training on offer

‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword in Australia over the past few years, as communities across the country struggle to cope with fire, floods, and a pandemic.

Independent councillor fact-checks housing supply in the Byron Shire

Independent Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey won approval from fellow councillors last week for a new reporting regime she says will offer clarification on dwellings approved in the shire.

How to exercise more voting rights in council elections

Being a property owner in NSW isn’t just a financial advantage, it also means you have more rights to vote than non-property owners.