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Residents fear for bushland in 'batty' flying fox solution

FLYING foxes might be driving them batty but many Coolum residents are horrified that the Sunshine Coast Council might devastate a well-known wildlife reserve to get rid of the mammals.

The 350m by 40m wide Cassia Wildlife Corridor, which runs between Cassia and Santa Monica Avenues, is home to thousands of flying foxes.

Residents have complained about smell, noise and health issues but now many fear the "solution" will be worse than the problem.

Greg and Margaret Onions have lived with their family in the shadow of the wildlife corridor since 1980.

The privacy and the natural aspect of the corridor influenced their decision to move there.
They agree with the council's plan to use "non-lethal dispersal techniques" such as smoke, fogging machines, noise and lighting.

But they and others are concerned that an over-reaction by some residents has pushed the council into a three-stage management plan that will, as stated in a letter to residents, "escalate through each stage dependent on the success in dispersing the flying fox roost".

Stage three includes "removal of 100% of trees within Cassia Wildlife Corridor".

Mr Onions agrees there is a bat problem.

"Most of the people want to get rid of the bats but they don't realise that it could go right to cutting every tree down," he said.

"The only way they're going to get rid of the bats is to cut every tree down, and we don't want that to happen."

Stage one of the management plan proposes non-lethal dispersal techniques, the removal of all native and non-native trees and shrubs around the entire corridor to create a 3m buffer zone, and the elimination of all groundcover throughout.

But Mr Onions believes creating the 3m buffer zone will do nothing to get rid of the bats, leading to an escalation to stage two.

"The bats won't even notice that," he said.

Stage two steps up the destruction with removal and trimming of 80% of trees".

Mr Onions urged residents concerned about the destruction of the corridor to let the council know their feelings.

Coolum councillor Steve Robinson said the management plan would not be debated until May 23.

He said he suspected that councillors would agree only to stage one.



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BatsRule!: Residents fear for bushland in 'batty' flying fox solution
Residents fear for bushland in 'batty' flying fox solution
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