Council goes batty over Rotary Park

Lismore City Council this week voted to proceed with its attempts to try and relocate the large number of flying foxes which have in recent years made Rotary Park their home, despite the fact there is no guarantee of success and the cost of the relocation could run as high as $125,000.

To date $13,000 has been spent preparing information for relocation applications to the state and federal governments.

According to a council report the cost of the relocation is hard to estimate, however the report states it would be prudent to allow $100,000 in this years budget.

The move copped criticism from some councillors who pointed out that in other places attempts to relocate bats had been largely unsuccessful, with bats merely moving to nearby properties, thus causing more chaos.

Cr Vanessa Ekins moved that instead of submitting applications to the state and federal governments to relocate the bats, Council should spend $20,000 on building artificial bat roosts along with tree planting at Currie Park using the Green Corps team.

She said the bats had roosted at Currie Park for 100 years until they recently moved to Rotary Park where they have been causing problems for local residents.

She said any relocation attempt seemed doomed to fail because the bats had nowhere else to go and Council could be financially committing itself to a bottomless pit.

In Surfers Paradise they spent $16,000 on tree planting and within days the bats had started to go there, she said.

Cr Brian Henry moved that Council hedge its bets and proceed with the relocation process, while also committing $20,000 towards the rehabilitation of Currie Park.

Really nobody knows (the outcome of relocation attempts) and we would not be spending excessively by having other options running at the same time, he said. We may have our application refused anyway. Why not progress all these matters jointly? It gives us the best chance of a result for the bats, the bat lovers and the people.

Cr Peter Graham said he was concerned about dead money.

I would like to see something come back to to Council to say the $20,000 will be viable before we spend it.

Cr Henrys motion was carried 8-4.

Rotary Park neighbour Doug Parkinson who spoke at the beginning of the meeting said he was very disappointed.

To me its ridiculous to spend money on artificial perches, he said. If they wont nest in dead trees, why will they camp on artificial perches?

Mr Parkinson said the noise and smell from the bats, which he estimated numbered up to 50,000, was severely impacting on his quality of life.

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