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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Koala habitat or industrial precinct?

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Andrew Bennett, Murwillumbah. 

I have been watching and reading about the Pottsville Men’s Shed debacle for a very long time and decided to travel with a friend to see the proposed sites of Black Rocks Sports Ground and Lot 3 Centennial Drive in Pottsville.

As we drove through the elaborate security gates at BR, entered the remote and isolated sports ground we quickly understood why this area should be retained and restored into a wildlife corridor in order to protect and encourage the survival of the remaining koalas which inhabit this delicate area. We could not understand why the Men’s Shed group would even consider this site due to remoteness, isolation, security risks, no parking and worst of all the semi-industrial nature of the proposal within the boundaries of a threatened colony of koalas and the only natural osprey nest in the whole Tweed coast.

We then visited the proposed site at Centennial Drive Pottsville. It became very much a ‘no brain’ exercise: this site would be perfect. Central to Pottsville, close to existing and supporting infrastructure, the SES, Rural Fire Services and across the road from the Bowls Club (perfect). The existing, temporary Men’s Shed is about 100 metres away at the primary school.

The outcome and decision from our excursion would be the most sensible, practical, less costly, secure and non-threatening site is at Lot 3 Centennial Drive, Pottsville. The Black Rocks sports field should be revegetated and protected for the sake of all endangered species and the enjoyment of the people.

The Men’s Shed is a great concept and service to all concerned and has a lot of community support – just consider the consequences of the location.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you, Andrew, for checking out first-hand what the Men’s Shed debacle is about. The consequences of moving to Black Rocks will be diligent surveillance of all men’s shed activities by environmental groups who will provide evidence to authorities of any harm which may be inflicted, or have the potential to inflict, on threatened species which inhabit the site.

    The Office of Environment and Heritage has recommended that ‘a monitoring programme must be established for the duration of the approval period to monitor changes to the incidence of matters that could impact threatened species’. Environmental groups will forward any evidence of harm to threatened species to OEH and will lobby for immediate relocation of the shed.

    Don’t our senior male citizens deserve a stress-free socially inclusive location which has the whole of community support? This will never happen at Black Rocks. It’s time for the Men’s Shed to work with Mayor Milne, Deputy Mayor Cherry, Councillors Byrnes and Cooper, who are doing their utmost to come up with a permanent centrally-located site in the best interests of the Men’s Shed, the community and the koalas.

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