Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass (centre) gets presented with a cheque for the Building Appeal by McLeans Ridges community garage sale organisers Gail Wergs (right), and Heather Dunn, with Heather’s three children Patrick, Oliver and Jessica.
Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass (centre) gets presented with a cheque for the Building Appeal by McLeans Ridges community garage sale organisers Gail Wergs (right), and Heather Dunn, with Heather’s three children Patrick, Oliver and Jessica.

Community rallies for koalas

Thanks to the efforts of koala-loving community members, the Koala Care and Research Centre Building Appeal has been kick started with a donation of more than $1500.

The money was raised last year by McLeans Ridges residents who held a community garage sale at the local hall.

While it’s a drop in the bucket of the $1.9 million needed to build the new Koala Care and Research Centre, Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass said it was very welcome indeed.

“In terms of the big bikkies, we believe that funding with have to come from the government but the more community donations we receive the more it illustrates how much a facility such as we envisage would be of value to the community,” Lorraine said. “That will surely help us attract government grants, so it’s just fantastic.”

The planned new Koala Care and Research Centre will feature new and improved enclosures for sick and injured koalas who need care, as well as indoor/outdoor education facilities for visitors, more room for volunteers, and the ultimate goal of a specialised wildlife hospital.

At present koalas have to be taken to Currumbin Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital or the Australian Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah, so a hospital in Lismore would mean less money being spent on transport and less stress for the koalas who need treatment.

“It would be great if the local schools could come on board with fundraising,” McLeans Ridges resident Heather Dunn said. “School children are very lucky to have koalas in the local area, but even in McLeans Ridges we’ve noticed less koalas due to a loss of habitat. A new facility would be great for community education.”

Heather and fellow garage sale organiser Gail Wergs thanked the McLeans Ridges community for turning up to their fundraiser and both the 561 Alphadale and Eltham Siding restaurants for donating raffle prizes.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Koala Care and Research Centre Building Appeal can visit www.friendsofthekoala.org or send donations to Friends of the Koala Inc., PO Box 5034, East Lismore, 2480. Please clearly indicate they are for the Building Appeal. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.


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