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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Turf thief hits Pottsville koala-zone site for third time

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The koala crossing at Pottsville. Thieves have been targeting the work site, stealing 10 cubic metres of turf. Photo supplied.
The koala crossing at Pottsville. Thieves have been targeting the work site, stealing 10 cubic metres of turf. Photo supplied.

Tweed Shire Council is appealing for public help to stop the ongoing theft of freshly laid turf on roadside verges at Pottsville where a second koala crossing has been built.

Over the past month, the thief has taken up to 10 cubic metres of turf from the Coronation Drive work site three times.

Council crews have completed work on the site, its second Koala Zone in the Tweed, but cannot call the job finished as the thief continues to steal the turf.

Council has asked if anyone sees people acting suspiciously or a vehicle stopped at the work site at night, to take note of the make and model of that vehicle and number plate and report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Council on 02 6670 2400 or after hours on 1800 818 326.

The koala crossing in Coronation Avenue, Pottsville, is the second in the shire branded with the distinctive green and yellow markings.

It has been applied to the new surface of a 300m stretch of road that passes through a low-lying area in Pottsville, separating two known koala habitats along a narrow vegetation corridor.

The decision to install the koala zone coincided with the scheduled upgrade of that section of road.

Council installed its first koala zone on Clothiers Creek Road, Clothiers Creek, in November 2014 and has since collected evidence that shows they do work.

The effectiveness of that zone has been measured via traffic counters recording the speed of motorists.

A council spokesperson said that since installing the branded koala zone, there has been a positive trend of proportionally fewer motorists travelling at speeds above the posted limit: 60 per cent in January 2016 as opposed to 75 per cent before the zone was created.

The Koala Zone branding was paid for via a one-off offset contribution of $50,000 for the removal of some trees in Pottsville by a private developer some years ago.

The road upgrade included construction of a slow point median to force traffic to reduce speed at that critical koala crossing point. The speed limit on the section currently is set at 50kph.

Two solar street lights are yet to be installed to assist motorists to see any koalas that may be on or approaching the road.


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