Lorraine Vass, president, Friends of the Koala, Inc.
I am troubled at reading some of the letters and articles in the Tweed and regional press in regard to the location of the men’s shed at Black Rocks. Whilst I appreciate that the concerns expressed are about the koalas’ wellbeing, my experience is that koalas are relatively stoic animals that are not particularly concerned about the presence of humans. What they are highly vulnerable to is the loss of their food trees, disease, motor vehicle strike, dog attack and wildfire, which is endemic among most koala populations, even those in relatively pristine settings.
With this in mind I worry that alternative sites are being suggested without, it seems, much thought for the welfare of koalas. The fact is that the area around Lot 3 Centennial Drive has most of the same attributes the opponents of the Black Rocks men’s shed complain of. This includes breeding koalas, core koala habitat, breeding bush stone curlews and an active osprey nest. However there is one crucial difference; the existing cleared area at Lot 3 is small and will almost certainly need to be expanded into core koala habitat to accommodate the men’s shed, sufficient parking and bushfire setbacks. How can this be better for koalas?
Also, from what I understand there have been at least three other similar suggestions made that would also require clearing of koala habitat or divert precious council resources away from improved koala management.
If readers really want to help koalas on the Tweed coast they need to ensure that prospective councillors commit to Council’s Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management (which is by far the most comprehensive and rigorous plan of the four in which I have personal involvement) and ensure it is properly resourced.