Daniel Strudwick Thursday, November 1, 2012
FLYING fox colonies will not be forced out of the Cairns CBD even though Mayor Bob Manning thinks the animals are bad for business.
About 20,000 spectacled flying foxes roost in the trees around the Novotel Oasis Resort and Cairns Library, and the hotel's owners want them gone.
Cr Manning supports the push to relocate the animals by cutting down the trees around the resort and library, which would require permits from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. "It's a commercial problem for the city," he said, pointing to the noise the bats make and the effect of their excrement on footpaths and cars.
"For investors, it's an issue."
But most councillors yesterday voted against seeking the permits from the State Government, fearful the bats would move to other large trees in the city or suburbs.
"The Novotel obviously have the resources to apply to the State Government, but what about Mr Smith in North Cairns and Mrs Jones in Parramatta Park, where all these flying foxes will end up?" Cr Rob Pyne said. "Worse still, what if they end up at Cannon Park ... where their droppings could cause Hendra virus?"
Opinion is divided among visitors to the city centre, with some marvelling at the spectacle of the colonies flying overhead and others put off by their odour and appearance.
The colonies would likely move to large trees around Fogarty Park, the Shangri-La Hotel or Shields St.
Cr Manning said the council should keep relocating the bats until they have settled in a suitable place. But conservationists warn the animals would suffer with every habitat lost.