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Dispersing the flying fox camp in the Batemans Bay Water Garden and surrounding areas is expected to cost $6.2 million and require 70 people.
Eurobodalla Council will consider a draft flying fox dispersal plan prepared by environmental consultants EcoLogical Australia at its meeting on Tuesday.
The report states that a successful attempt at dispersal is highly unlikely to be achieved at this time and that the risks and costs will be substantially lower if the dispersal is attempted when the camp is smaller, suggesting February 2017 as a more suitable time.
Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) ecologists were on Friday in the affected areas and confirmed that the number of flying foxes are naturally starting to decrease. They anticipate this will continue as the weather cools and the local food source declines.
In a report to the May 10 council meeting, mayor Lindsay Brown is recommending a brief consultation period for residents and local agencies, such as Essential Energy and NSW Health, to comment on the plan, and that a community survey be undertaken during that time to gauge the broader community’s understanding of the flying fox issue and the level of support for dispersal.
The mayor is also recommending the Batemans Bay Water Garden be closed until further notice to prevent people entering and disturbing the flying fox camp, which in turn impacts nearby residents.
Once endorsed by the council on Tuesday, the draft dispersal plan will also be submitted to OEH and the Australian Department of Environment for their review and comment as part of the consultation.
Feedback from the community and advice from these agencies will be considered in preparing the final dispersal plan.
As required by Australian and NSW Government legislation, the final plan will be submitted to OEH for assessment and approval.
If councillors agree on Tuesday to the public exhibition period, residents will be able to respond in writing to the draft dispersal plan until close of business on Friday, May 25.