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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Revegetating Black Rocks oval won’t save koalas

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The plan to revegetate Blacks Rocks oval is fundamentally flawed and counterproductive to the survival of Tweed Coast koalas.

Koalas only have to move 200m north from the 4ha site to be subjected to two of the main killers of koalas, roads and domestic animals. The plan has no mention of this problem and is not considered an issue for the koalas, but it is considered an issue by the plan that koalas encounter these around the oval, which has less houses, roads and human activity.

There is over a million dollars of infrastructure at the oval that would need to be ripped up, and would need to be rebuilt on a site that the council doesn’t own. That money would have to come from ratepayers and from koala projects where koalas are actually dying.

Taking information from Tweed koala reports, using your own opinion, estimates, and presenting them as facts on the Black Rocks oval, is just plan dishonest and highlights the misinformation spread by the group trying to close the oval. It would be great to have endless amounts of land and money to spend on koalas, but we don’t, so a balanced approach must be taken to get the best result, not focusing on the pet projects of a few. Spending millions of dollars on only four hectares out of the thousands of hectares of koala habitat in the shire is at best incompetent and selfish.

The Black Rocks KAP is approximately 271 ha in size, of which none were affected by the Christmas fire. To relate all information about this large area to just a four-hectare sports field is misleading. It’s also not surprising that nature would be better off without human infrastructure, but this is unrealistic, so it is important to get the balance right. Some 112 hectares of land was dedicated to koala habit when Black Rocks estate was developed, with 42 hectares for housing and four hectares of land for a sports field.

The council should be congratulated on such a balance in favour of koalas and nature. It’s no wonder that the Tweed Shire Council won the 2014 Green Globe award for its Koala Connections program, the state’s leading environmental award. Adding only four hectares to koala habitat will not save Tweed coast koalas just deprive our kids the right to play sport and a much needed home for the Pottsville Men’s shed.

Matthew France, Pottsville


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3 COMMENTS

  1. To : Matthew France,
    I am compelled to point out the “fundamental flaws” in your contribution – not (as you say) in the idea of Pottsville Oval revegetation.
    Firstly: The research of koala ecologist Stephen Phillips has concluded that “Revegetation of the Black Rocks sports field” would ABSOLUTELY be the best way to ensure koala survival (& he has stated this in public for all to see).
    You completely omit to say that this koala colony is a “SOURCE POPULATION”. As such it is integral to the survival of all remaining Tweed Coast koalas.
    The Tweed Council’s koala plan of management and its $millions of expenditure are utterly dependant on koala SOURCE populations and creating corridors between them.
    As you say – Council does not have money to throw away and without this surviving population it would be doing just that. It is by now common knowledge that the Tweed Coast koalas have ONLY 3 remaining source populations – Black Rocks/Pottsville being one of them.
    You talk about the 270ha of surrounding reserve – but fail to mention that the resident koalas are mainly clustered around a few food trees close to the sports field and the houses.
    You also talk with authority that Black Rocks Koala Activity Precinct was not affected by fire. Where do you get this information?? Anyone walking through this area today can witness extensive fire damage through large sections of the forest. How can you know that all “Koala Activity” areas where unaffected?
    A survey of coastal koalas & habitat is currently underway – surely we should let the experts inform us of the real situation of the koalas in this area?

    • Having a Men’s Shed located at the sports field at Black Rocks would be a positive for the local koala population. The 112ha’s of koala habitat at Black Rocks is about to substantially increase with the development of Dunloe Park. Areas of this land will need to be planted out with trees that are a food source for koalas. Koala groups and the community working with the Men’s Shed could create a base camp from which this work could be done. This would increase the number of trees planted and dramatically cut down the time it would take to plant the area out. The Men’s Shed would also be effective in providing passive surveillance against anyone thinking of acting in an anti social way at the oval.
      It would be short sighted to deny the approval of the men’s shed on the hope that the 4ha of land could be revegetated when it can be used to contribute in revegetating well over a 100ha for koalas. Revegetating the oval would also deny the children a much needed sports field and reduce the amount the Men’s Shed can contribute to the Pottsville community. Let’s hope the council thinks of the community needs, the health of our children and the long term needs of the koala population when they make their decision.

      • The fire was not in the Black Rocks KAP as the fire did not go near Kellehers Rd.
        From the “Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management January 2015”
        Black Rocks KAP
        “The precinct extends from Kellehers
        Road in the north, surrounds the Black Rocks IKPoM area and
        includes lands adjacent to Mooball Creek and the northern
        portion of Wooyung Nature Reserve. A large proportion of this
        KAP is cleared, however high quality food resources occur
        as remnant and regenerating patches, as well as scattered
        paddock trees in the south.”
        So the group is fighting to revegetate less than 2% of what could be revegetated and trying to destroy an 1 million dollars worth of infrastructure. Any trees planted will take time to be worth while to the koalas so lets get stuck in to the 98% with the help of a well placed mens shed to help.

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