Residents living near the route of the Pacific Highway upgrade south of Ballina are outraged that wildlife will be killed as a result of poorly-designed wildlife fences.
Meerschaum Vale resident Suzanne Whiteman said residents in the area where upset that a new wildlife fence along Old Bagotville Road was a death-trap.
‘Some locals have observed wallabies caught on the road and smashing themselves against the fence trying to escape, another has seen three goannas trapped in the road,’ Ms Whiteman said.
‘They are scared with the vehicles coming up behind them, trying to get out but can’t. It’s just awful. How many injured wallabies have we got out there?.
‘The wallabies and goannas have entered the road where the fencing starts, and making it past the escape route near there, they have to go over a kilometre before the next escape route, if they don’t see it, they come to a cattle grid across the road, before an opening which they could get back into the bush.
‘The goannas wouldn’t go over the grid and wallabies could end up with broken legs if they get caught. This is just not good enough.
“There are trees right up against the fence which possums, gliders, and koalas could easily use to get over the fence and onto the road.
‘The area where the fencing is going is home to threatened Potoroos and Ground Parrots.
‘How many wildlife statistics do we have to record before the RMS does the right thing. It feels like we, the local community, have to be the enviro-police, to bring these things to the attention of the broader community to get some action. The frustrating thing is they are paying all these people to provide them with this advice.”
Another local resident, Debbie Clements of Buckombil Mountain said ‘this is just the beginning of the end for our wildlife, there is so much more to come, more fencing on Wardell Road, the existing Pacific Highway, compounds, batching plants, borrow sites, the alignment itself, with a huge increase of traffic, up to 900 truck movements a day according to the RMS. How are the animals suppose to move around with all this going on? The animals are already being displaced, disorientated and possibly, probably, injured. They have to be highly stressed, like the human residents living in the area, but no-one is monitoring this. No-one from the RMS cares’.
‘Now that they have flagged the area on Wardell Road that will be fenced, we can see that trees we know koala use will be cleared, and trees that they use they will no longer be able to get to. All this for a fence that’s suppose to look after the koalas, not stress them. Seems like I’m in a bad dream or reading the most depressing satire of all time. I don’t understand,’ Ms Clements said.