David Norris, Pottsville
There are three Tweed councillors who I believe are not worthy of your readers’ vote at the next council election. Namely Crs Longland, Polglase and Byrne, who along with Cr Youngblutt refused to second Mayor Katie Milne’s motion for a council report into a koala underpass at Coronation Avenue, Pottsville. [Deputy Mayor Bagnall was absent due to illness.] As a result, sadly there was no discussion or voting on this issue.
Mayor Milne’s background notes in the agenda stated: ‘This section of Coronation Avenue at Pottsville crosses a narrow but vital wildlife corridor between Pottsville’s koalas to the north and south. The corridor has been squeezed to a critical pinch point at the road interface and is recognized as a blackspot for koalas. The koalas on the coast are in serious jeopardy and need the best possible option to reduce mortality at road crossings.’
The $50,000 offset for trees cut down during construction of the Pottsville Medical Centre was flagged for an underpass. Council chose signage instead, claiming an underpass would not fit. This was proven wrong but council would not hold up roadworks to correct the mistake. However, at a senior planning meeting it was revealed that an underpass could be installed once the roadworks were completed.
Cr Longland was voted in at the 2012 council election on a promise of ‘policies that ensure our natural assets are preserved’. Refusal to second a motion so that an underpass could be discussed and voted upon at the August Council meeting is yet one more instance where he has backflipped on his 2012 election promise. He is now running on the promise of being a ‘middle ground’ man. Our endangered koalas need more than middle ground decision-making.
Tweed Coast koalas are at the crossroads. They will not survive a middle/bottom line approach to koala protection by councillors and council management. Koalas are part of our community, and the community has the power to save them from extinction. Please vote for a candidate with a proven track record of standing up for the koalas at the next council election.