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Byron Shire
October 4, 2023

Men’s shed can co-exist with koalas

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Matthew France, Pottsville.

For those who would like some simple information about the Black Rocks oval / Men’s Shed issue.

I am disappointed at what is essentially a simple issue, once again becoming unnecessarily complicated.

On one hand you have a group that believes that koalas cannot live with any human interaction what so ever.

On the other hand a group that believes that koalas can live with a Men’s Shed 20 meters from their closest habitat.

This is based on the knowledge that koalas are most commonly seen in and around the Pottsville Primary school with its 700 students, bells going off and the current home of the Men’s Shed, than any other location in Pottsville. The school is on the edge of the Pottsville KAP which is 331 ha’s in size. Koalas have the opportunity to move away from this noise and human interaction but choose not to. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has thousands of people, trains and playgrounds making more noise than the Men’s Shed ever could. The koalas are happy and undisturbed by the noise and human interaction. My kids, like many even had a picture with a koala. The Pottsville wetlands KAP with is 331 ha’s, has a 3 km stretch which is unfenced backing onto housing, a second school and the CBD of Pottsville. Koalas are regularly seen alone this stretch. Koala groups are unconcerned with the impacts from the noise or human interaction of this stretch, even though road strikes and dogs attacks are the two main killers of koalas. The Men’s Shed will be using tools that any person can use in the hundreds of homes in Koala Beach which is considered a success in regards to koala habitat.

I constantly hear people need to educate themselves on environmental issues. I am currently studying education and am father of two. I can tell you that if you what to educate anyone you have to give them the opportunity to learn through participation.

I am very much looking forward to a koala group joining with the men’s shed so I can take both my kids to plant koala food trees at the Black Rocks KAP, which according to the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management ‘is approximately 271 ha’, ‘large proportion of this KAP is cleared’ and so they can learn about the environment and koalas. This would help build a deep knowledge, love and respect of the area and its environment. This project would be a very big positive for koalas, the environment and the community. If people really cared about the environment their main priority should be to educate the next generations.

The biggest disappoint in this whole issue is that some try and break this down to you are ‘Pro Men’s Shed’ or you are ‘Pro koala’.

I am both. It doesn’t have to be a choice.


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  1. The simple matter is, we all want the blokes to have their ‘men’s shed’ just not in an endangered koala habitat. The men’s shed have other alternative sites and have never formally applied for any of them. Why do you think that is? The ulterior motive is quite obvious.

  2. The relocation of the Men’s Shed will be great for Pottsville as their current tenure in a demountable at the local Primary School is coming to an end. They can continue their good work for the community. Working with Koala groups is a great initiative. I know there was another site put forward in town but I understand that the Pre school, Rural Fire Brigade and SES have all expressed an interest in that particular site over the last few years.

  3. The ulterior motive is not obvious to me. If once again people are trying to link the men’s shed to a developer, the oval and it surrounds can not be developed.
    I am not a member of the men’s shed. I have just seen the positive impact this group have on each other and the community with the work they do.

    • Matthew France you say the oval can’t be developed yet the Men’s Shed IS A DEVELOPMENT – why else would a DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION for them be approved? The Men’s Shed want 1ha out of the 4ha field meaning it would take a quarter of the area! So why are people in Pottsville freaking out that they would lose their sports field to the koalas when in fact they are losing it to the Men’s Shed and any other development application that is lodged and approved?


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