Anger over wildlife gates plan

Published 4:00pm 5 March 2024

Anger over wildlife gates plan
Words by Nick Crockford

Stop Clontarf Overpass Action Group (SCOAG) says it is “disgusted in the disgraceful decision” to not install automatic gates on to Ray Frawley Fields.

SCOAG says the current manual double gates - part of the koala protection fencing around the Silcock St fields - are being left open “up to 24 hours a day, every day”.

“We have Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and Moreton Bay City Council (MBCC) making the taxpayer/ratepayer-funded koala protection fence totally useless because the perimeter is not 100 per cent sealed off, 24/7,” SCOAG spokesperson Les Barkla says.

A spokesperson for TMR says: “a number of options” for the gates were “explored” as part of the $22 million Elizabeth Ave overpass.

“The final configuration of existing double gates at Silcock St was determined after a review of several options during the construction phase and after extensive consultation with CMB,” the spokesperson says.

Anger over wildlife gates plan
The Silcock St double gates with new mesh.

“The existing gates at Silcock St have been retrofitted with a new mesh and modifications have also been made to the existing kerbs at the car park entrance to ensure they support fauna protection measures when they are in use.

“These fauna protection works have improved fauna safety at this location.”

Councillor Karl Winchester (Div 6) says he discovered TMR had “stepped away from installing automatic gates when they responded to SCOAG and I was copied in on a response".

“I maintain the original concept, including automatic gates, would provide better overall protection for wildlife and that it should be a component of the completed works,” he says.

“I have written to the State Government voicing my concerns with the change and my strong support for TMR to revert back to automatic gates as part of the current project.

“I will continue to call for this outcome.”

Anger over wildlife gates plan
Wildlife warning sign on one of the current gates.

Benita Suckling, a candidate in Division 6 for the Local Government Elections, said: "I don't support the decision not to install an automatic gate at the Silcock St carpark for two reasons.

"The first is it was something initially agreed and the decision not to proceed seems to have been made with no formal consultation or notification to those impacted.

"Secondly, it renders the rest of the costly koala/wildlife fence around the perimeter essentially pointless by leaving a permanent gap quite literally large enough for a car to drive through let alone a koala.

"I am writing to the Mayor and Transport and Main Roads Minister requesting an auto gate be installed as soon as possible in keeping with earlier agreements."

Anger over wildlife gates plan
Sign on a nearby pedestrian gate from Silcock St on to Ray Frawley Fields.

Les Barkla says the fence “does not fix safety issues for local endangered koalas” and resident consultation on the gate decision has been “ignored”.

“Meantime our endangered koalas continue to be vulnerable because of poor planning, design and lack of consultation with experienced wildlife experts and community members,” he says.

“We have always said human and wildlife safety is a priority, but our alternative suggestions have simply been ignored.

“This perimeter fence is also a death trap for koalas as they have limited trees to retreat to from daily dogs-off-leash on Ray Frawley Fields, which Council Rangers have limited or no jurisdiction over.

“It just astounds me that wildlife warning signs (meant for humans) are seen as the solution and are expected to keep endangered koalas safe.”

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