The Pottsville men’s shed backers have been in a long-running dispute with koala conservationists since they were given a temporary five year lease to place a demountable on the Black Rocks Sports Field site by Tweed Council.
Local conservationists are concerned about how the increased use of the site will effect the already stressed koala population. They want the men’s shed to be provided with an alternative location.
‘We are saying lets put the men’s shed in a better spot,’ said Northern Rivers Guardians (NRG) President, Scott Sledge. ‘It (Black Rock sports field) is not a good location for them. There is no bus transport and you can’t walk there.’
Highlighting the need to look after the local koala population NRG have organised a community event aimed at highlighting the both the plight for an alternative site for the men’s shed and the need to protect koalas. The family friendly event will be held at Ambrose Brown Park, Pottsville, from 10am to 1pm on Saturday 11 March. Speakers will include NSW Greens koala spokesperson, Dawn Walker MLC; Mayor and koala conservationist, Katie Milne; Wildlife consultant and radio broadcaster, Gary Opit. Performances by local artists Melinda Menzies, Michael Manley, Sophia Fletcher are free to enjoy.
State government recognition
The state government has acknowledged the importance of this koala population to the health of koalas in the northern rivers region. In recognition of this they have supplied funds for planting more feed trees in the area. Some locals have suggested planting out the sports field for koala habitat due to the isolation of the sports field, its low use and the vulnerability of the koala population.
‘The koala population there is very fragile,’ said Sledge. ‘They have suffered a number of fires in recent years and other disturbances by dogs, cars and noise. There is occasional use of the site at the moment and in between uses it give the koalas time to recover. If you put in lots of human activity in the area in another five years time there won’t be a koala population there as the extra activity will cause a collapse.’
Win win solution?
NRG are highlighting two other possible locations for the men’s shed that are closer to town and have better access.
‘We want to create a win win solution,’ said Sledge. ‘We want a better location for the men’s shed and to have koalas protected.’
For more information visit the NRG website.