Eurobodalla Shire Council says it expects to start clearing more vegetation at the Batemans Bay Water Gardens and around Catalina as early as next week in preparation for the flying fox dispersal attempt in winter.
“We are in uncharted waters here as we try to address this horrendous situation,” Mayor Lindsay Brown said.
“We are going against all the professional advice but we still need to give this our best shot. Unprecedented impacts require an unprecedented response.”
Cr Brown said that council had on Friday lodged the necessary application with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to allow the removal of trees and other vegetation that “will increase the existing buffers between the flying fox camps and residents’ homes, as Council gets ready to start dispersal activities.”
"We are going against all the professional advice but we still need to give this our best shot. Unprecedented impacts require an unprecedented response."- Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown
He said this followed Council’s work this week to clear vegetation, where permitted, around the Water Gardens.
“Council staff have worked closely with OEH to expedite the assessment process, and as a result of this close working relationship, we expect to have an approval for the vegetation removal by the middle of next week,” Cr Brown said.
“This means the clearing work could start as early as next week.”
The Mayor explained that while this first stage of work is underway, Council is simultaneously finalising the comprehensive dispersal plan.
“The final dispersal plan will respond to the feedback we have received from the community and from the OEH, who under NSW Government legislation are required approve our plan,” he said.
“This work is progressing as quickly as possible so that council can commence the dispersal activities as soon as we can during winter.
“For the dispersal to have a chance of working, we need to get the planning right, and that is what Council is doing right now in partnership with the OEH.
Cr Brown said that a coordinated response was needed, and warned against people taking things into their own hands.
“As well as being illegal, it makes matters worse for residents and can reduce the effectiveness of dispersal attempts because the flying fox become accustomed to the noise and disturbance,” he said.
“I am urging people to wait for the coordinated dispersal. We are moving as quickly as we can.”