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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Black Rocks koalas a dot on the fringe

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My questions are still unanswered by the group calling for the Black Rocks oval to be closed about the bushland that runs from Blacks Rocks behind Pottsville Waters up to Pottsville CBD not needing protection.

Why is this group spending so much time and effort on just one gate which would only account for closing off less than two per cent of the least developed section of the bushland and paying no attention to the unfenced areas and poor gates from Black Rocks into Pottsville Waters to behind Elizabeth St and Coronation Drive, where there is a school and the CBD of Pottsville, where the threat to wildlife entering residential areas and roads, as well as domestic animals entering the bush, is far greater than it is in Black Rocks?

Why are the koalas at Black Rocks so much more susceptible to stress than other koalas? Koalas can handle a great deal, from being caught and moved to koala sanctuaries, being handled and viewed at these sanctuaries and zoos, living next to freeways and highways, even living and breading in my primary and high school in a Brisbane suburb only 10 kms from the CBD, and currently living around the Pottsville Primary School .

Why is it an oval with minimal use is too much for them? If it is, then why are members of this the group calling for the oval to be closed not fighting to close off the bushland around the other ovals in Pottsville that get a lot more human and pet interaction, Sea Breeze, Koala Beach, Round Mountain and the oval in the middle of town? If it was truly about koalas then these areas would not only be mentioned by this group, it would be their focus.

There will be 20,000 people moving to Tweed Shire over the next five years. If we look at the current population figures, 7.7 per cent of the population is high school aged and 8.3 per cent primary school aged. This would indicate that out of the 20,000 people, 1,540 will be high school aged and 1660 will be primary schooled aged. According to the councils latest report into sports services in the Tweed area, the sports field is required for the overflow from the Pottsville cricket, hockey and soccer clubs. Saying there is an oversupply of one sports oval so we can destroy over a million dollars’ worth of infrastructure shows a lack of understanding of the facts around the oval.

What was the point of spending 10 years and upwards of $17,5000 of ratepayers’ money on the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management if we pay no attention to it? Which has no mention of the Oval at Black Rocks being a problem or needing to be revegetated.

The koala plan states, ‘A large proportion of this KAP (271Ha) is cleared, however high quality food resources occur as remnant and regenerating patches, as well as scattered paddock trees in the south’.

On Dunloe Park: ‘Management focus within this precinct is retention and extension of habitat with a specific focus on creating viable movement corridors that link the adjoining KAPs to highly significant habitat west of the highway.

The group calling for the closure of the oval are not fighting to have these ‘large proportion’ of areas revegetated or make mention of them. They are trying to make the oval the corridor when it could be just a dot on the fringe of a major corridor.

They are not fighting to have the Men’s Shed removed from its position in the school, which is closer to koala habitat bushland then the 20 meters they are worried about at Black Rocks. Koalas have been photographed in the tree right in front of the Men’s Shed at the school. They are calling for the shed it to be placed at another oval and not worried about the issues they have raised even though that oval is surround by koala habitat.

A member of the NSW Rural Fire Service has said that the fire in the Pottsville wetlands was low intensity and slow moving and would have had little impact on the wildlife. But it serves the purpose of this group to call fire and say we have lost half of our koalas without any evidence.

The importance of the Pottsville Wetlands-Black Rocks koala population is testament to the outcomes of the Black Rocks by the Sea Individual Koala Plan of Management (IKPOM).

This plan has resulted in the protection and restoration of more than 100 hectares of koala habitat, the value of which is evident in the regular observations of koalas in the vicinity of the Black Rocks sport fields.

Feel free to question my motives. They are: to have a large koala corridor in balance with the sports grounds needed for the children and community to improve their health.

The Men’s Shed does a great deal for the community and could do more with a bigger site; they give a place for retired men to give back to the community and support each other if need be through metal and health issues.

Matthew France, Pottsville


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