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Controversy comes home to roost on council bat-flip

Flying fox photo from Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld member who lives at Crows Nest. Photo Contributed

UPDATE: Council's decision to move two flying fox colonies away from the community continues to stir up controversy.

A roost in Kearneys Spring Park and another in Oakey Creek both face eviction as council seeks permits for their dispersal.

Toowoomba wildlife wrangler Nathan Garrod of Chimera Productions took to Facebook to plead with council to reverse its decision.

Many others have applauded council for the move.

"There is clearly no danger to the public and the dilapidated attraction should be dismantled and revamped in a new area," Mr Garrod stated.

"Another idea - why not turn the Kearney Springs attraction into a free wildlife appreciation and education attraction, just like the Ipswich council runs a free wildlife attraction in Queens Park in Ipswich?"
What you had to say online:
  • So how much did TRC pay those environmental consultants for their dim-witted decision to move live steamers and recompense the motel? Clearly they were putting the bats interests ahead of a safe and hygienic human environment while also expecting the humans to foot the bill. And who cares if the bats come back. Just chase them again. Eventually they will get the message that they are unwelcome in towns and find an alternative home out in the bush where they do the most good. - Chronicle_Reader, Toowoomba 
  • In my view, the Toowoomba Regional Council is encouraging more bats to roost in Toowoomba. With each water retention basin and water habitat the Council builds, the more bat colonies will prosper. I recon Cr. Sue was right when she said yesterday... the bat colonies will move on to the next local area that suits them. - Davemck, Newtown 
  • And if the bats choose Laurel Bank, Picnic Point, Japanese Gardens or Queens Park instead? - Neverold, East Toowoomba 
  • That's a shame - without flying foxes, there would be no koalas and no gumtrees since they are their only pollinators. Protecting such an important species should really be more important than some first-world luxury such as a miniature railway. - Twba82, Kearneys Spring 
  • Okay, so the flying foxes are evicted (how) and flutter off to a new area, all's looking good for a few days then lo and behold one morning all the cute little flying foxes decide that they prefer to be living back in Kearneys Springs. But wait, council has just spent $500,000 of ratepayers' money to kick them out. Now what? - BloggerofOakey, Oakey

Toowoomba Live Steamers will stay at its Kearneys Spring home while a colony of bats will be relocated.Kevin Farmer
EARLIER: Toowoomba Regional Council has performed a last minute "bat-flip" and will not evict a miniature train group overwhelmed by flying foxes in Kearneys Spring Park.
Instead, more than $500,000 could be spent to evict the bats.
A second roost in Oakey Creek will also be kicked out after reports of its impact on a neighbouring motel.
Council last week made a tentative decision to leave the roosts alone, find a new home for the Toowoomba Live Steamers and compensate the owners of Kelly's Motel.
The option was recommended by environmental consultants hired by council.
Mayor Paul Antonio and Cr Chris Tait were overseas during last week's meeting.
Their votes yesterday swung the final count to 6-5 in favour of seeking permits to disperse the flying foxes.

Council has decided to seek permits to disperse a flying fox colony at Kearneys Spring Park.
Chris Calcino

Females only rear one baby a year.
"The biggest problem at the moment is that female flying foxes will abort their young if they are under stress," she said.
"We are getting concerned about the population.
"Each council seems to have its own colony that is an issue and they are being harassed everywhere they go."
Ms Abraham was involved in a similar dispersal effort in Pittsworth in April which was, at first, hailed as a success.
She said flying foxes were already returning to their former roost.
"In Pittsworth, the animals were disturbed by lights and noise as they came back in the morning from their fly-out.
"That moved them to different areas of the town, so the people involved headed to the next spot to scare them.
"That won't be possible in Toowoomba - it's a large city and they will not be able to watch where they are going.
"They will form into little groups in people's back yards until they work out somewhere permanent.
"That place could be much worse than where they are at the moment."
Toowoomba Live Steamers president Graham Johnston said the group did not mind which way council voted, as long as the solution was quick.
"The timeframe is going to be the telling factor," he said.
"Council can't muck around too long."
Moving both colonies could cost as much as $1.08 million.

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BatsRule!: Controversy comes home to roost on council bat-flip
Controversy comes home to roost on council bat-flip
Controversy comes home to roost on council bat-flip
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