Enough is enough: Council vows to fix our bat problem

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is determined to rid Ipswich of its bat problem.David Nielsen

THE STATE Government wouldn't help, so Ipswich City Council will go it alone and create a larger buffer zone between houses and flying fox colony roosts at Yamanto.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was hopeful the plan - which will see council create a 35m to 50m buffer to help reduce noise, smell and general disruption to residents in Beechwood Dr and Box St - would ease the grief caused by the colony to long suffering residents.

Council will fund the work, estimated to cost between $55,000 and $80,000.

Cr Pisasale said the plan would be enacted with flying-fox ecology and breeding cycles in mind.

"We've looked at key breeding and birthing times, but importantly we've looked at an outcome that benefits residents," he said.

"The number of complaints about this colony has increased significantly - residents have had enough and as a council we're taking action and putting our people first.

"Somerset Regional Council has taken a similar approach at properties in Esk, and Lockyer Valley Regional Council has had success with vegetation removal at Laidley.

"I am really disappointed we've got no help from the state and federal government, but the people have had a gutful of talk and we are putting our money where our mouth is.

"I've had a lot of support from the bat associations and we want to work with them to manage it."

Council's environment boss David Morrison said work would be undertaken between May and August.

He said clearing of roosting habitat trees in residents' yards by council was authorised under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and that the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection would be notified before work begins.

"We are calling it a trial where we are potentially going into private properties, with their permission, and cutting potential roosting trees while the flying foxes have migrated," he told the QT.

"We will hopefully encourage them to use the creek line only as their roosting area.

"This is very serious.

"I visited there a year ago with Cr Pisasale and there were people almost in tears.

"If you are a shift worker or a young mum trying to get 40 winks during the day the noise and smell was unbearable.

"It was if the bats were being given more protection than humans.

"We asked the state government to go 50/5o with us on this trial but they said you can do it by yourself.

"We will be picking up the tab with them supervising."

Bat Rescue's Sue Morris attended yesterday's council meeting to hear more about the bat issue. She has provided a submission to council after monitoring the bat colony at Yamanto.

She said she appreciated that some Yamanto residents have flying foxes living disruptively close to their houses.

"I do support the idea of creating a buffer zone, however many of the main roost trees are actively supporting the banks of Deebing Creek," she said.

"The creek is in a narrow, steep gully at the back of houses, is often dry but fills up during heavy rain. Cutting down trees here, or excessively trimming them could lead to resident's backyards disappearing into the creek in the next heavy rain."

She said she was "genuinely trying to help with solutions for both bats and people" but had concerns about any chopping down of colony trees which she said would "not achieve much more than unnecessary destruction".

"Unless you're willing to eradicate all trees in the area and all feed trees within 10 to 20 km, flying foxes will keep returning as their movements are dictated by food sources.

"Most dispersal attempts achieve nothing more than driving the animals into less desirable locations."


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Enough is enough: Council vows to fix our bat problem
Enough is enough: Council vows to fix our bat problem
Enough is enough: Council vows to fix our bat problem
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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