|Cr Danny Thompson|
0400 249 374
Within the current legislative framework, the regional director Office Environment and Heritage, Andrew McIntyre told Singleton Council on Monday night they have three options when in comes to the problematic bats in Burdekin Park.
Live with the flying fox colony, but this comment was met with opposition from the packed public gallery. Dispersal, or conducting a dispersal in conjunction with tree removal - or “heavy lopping”.
He warned dispersal is a massive undertaking with unpredictable consequences. Recalling a past failed attempt that resulted in the bats populating trees near the Singleton Hospital and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service refusing to land there.
“You will be very lucky if they disperse to a preferred place,” Mr McIntyre explained.
Advising, if Council do decide to go down the dispersal path they should get approval for not only the park but anywhere else in town the bats may go. He attributed the current overloading of the trees in Burdekin Park to an influx in the population of the Little Red Flying Fox.
“The Grey-headed flying fox usually inhabits the park but the bats that are overwhelmingly there at the moment are the Little Reds,” he said.
According to the department the last influx like this was in 2012 and, experts believe this is because of the unusual warm weather. And, this is happening right across the eastern seaboard.
Mr McIntyre’s presentation triggered about two hours of heated debate over how to move forward but eventually two motions were passed. They concentrate on achieving legislative change through various means including the formation of a delegation to meet with state and federal ministers, reviewing and amending Council’s current management plan, as well as closing Burdekin Park permanently until it is safe. However, this means the already struggling Singleton Museum will remain closed.