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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Give koalas what they need

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The Black Rocks sports field has serious safety issues. It is in an isolated location 300 metres within bushland, and is a haven for those with ill-intent, as has been demonstrated by ongoing vandalism, obscene graffiti, break and enter, marijuana cultivation and hooning at this site.

This is not an appropriate place to allow children to run and play.
According to Council’s Open Space Infrastructure Policy, sports fields/open space should be ‘located central to community, allow safe and easy access, where possible adjacent to schools and overlooked by houses for casual supervision’. The Black Rocks sports field does not fit this criteria.

It also was not considered a suitable site for a sports field by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (Item 16, Council Agenda 6/11/2002) when they stated that the sports field’s location would ‘sever the wildlife corridor and koala habitat, and create human disturbance where it currently does not exist’.

The Tweed Shire Sports Fields Strategy 2015 identifies minimal projected population growth (3000) between Cabarita and Wooyung (excluding Dunloe Park urban development) to 2031, with a trend away from organised sport on the coast.

Dunloe Park is to provide sporting infrastructure for its expected 6,000 people within that footprint. Based on statistics in TSSFS, actual demand calculations reveal that there is a four-hectare oversupply of sporting infrastructure in the southern precinct which includes Pottsville.

There are currently four sports fields in Pottsville, and Dunloe Park sporting infrastructure will be easily accessible to Black Rocks residents.

According to koala expert Dr Steve Phillips the Black Rocks koalas need to be left alone to rest and recover to sustainable levels, not to be disturbed by human-related activities.

The resident Black Rocks koalas’ primary food source (which grows naturally on higher ground) is located in a thin strip sandwiched between the urban footprint and the sports field, where there are inadequate buffers from impacts.

Let’s give these koalas what the experts say they need to survive: a large safe undisturbed habitat block by revegetating the Black Rocks sports field.

David Norris, president, Threatened Species Conservation Society, Pottsville

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