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Cairns city bat park plan is “fantasy land” says Councillor Richie Bates

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http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-mp-rob-pyne-backs-plan-to-buyback-city-site-for-flying-foxes/news-story/e3a74cac42304252fb27f4d5d3771f06

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"A plan for the State Government to buy back a block of land in the Cairns city centre to create a haven for flying foxes has been described as “fantasy land” by a Cairns councillor."
/oo\

A PLAN for the State Government to buy back a block of land in the Cairns city centre to create a haven for flying foxes has been described as “fantasy land” by a Cairns councillor.

Cairns MP Rob Pyne has controversially backed a proposal by the Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland to ask the government to reacquire the vacant block at 163 Abbott St to be replanted as a park and used as a secure and expanded roost area for the local colony of flying foxes.

The property, the former site of Cairns Central School, is to be developed into a $100 million hotel and residential complex.


Division 5 Councillor Richie Bates said Cairns needed the hotel development, proposed by the GA Group, to go ahead.

“The reality is a new hotel in Cairns is a gamechanger,” he said.

“It’s the first time we’ve had an economic climate that can support construction like this and we should be doing all we can to try to make it go ahead.

“I think the idea that the State Government intervenes to buy a block is fantasy land, really.”


He agreed, however, with Mr Pyne’s comments that it would be an issue where the flying foxes would go once construction got under way at the site.

“We need to deal with that and it’s a serious matter,” he said.

“But I think the idea of the state stepping in and buying (the property) is probably just an idea that came from the environmental groups in town and (Mr Pyne) has jumped on the bandwagon and said ‘yeah, let’s do that’.”


Mr Pyne took to social media on Monday night responding to dozens of readers who criticised him about his support of the flying fox park proposal.

Commenting on the Cairns Post’sFacebook page, the independent Member for Cairns wrote that “the bats are an important tourism attraction” for the city and that “tourists love them”.

In response to comments that the flying foxes were ruining Cairns, Mr Pyne replied that the animals would “be on the endangered list in a few short years” unless more protective measures were taken.

“So many southerners come here,” he wrote.

“If you don’t like the place, why did you all bloody move here?

“Why should we change to suit a whingeing minority?”

Originally published as Pyne’s plan just batty

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Megabats and Microbats: Cairns city bat park plan is “fantasy land” says Councillor Richie Bates
Cairns city bat park plan is “fantasy land” says Councillor Richie Bates
Cairns city bat park plan is “fantasy land” says Councillor Richie Bates
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