"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site

Published 10:47am 25 November 2022

"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site
Words by Nick Crockford

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW

Campaigners have called for “this destruction” to stop after a koala was reportedly hit and killed today on the opposite side of Elizabeth Ave, Clontarf, to the site of a new overpass.

Les Barkla, from Stop Clontarf Overpass Action Group (SCOAG), said the female was known to local koala experts, eight years old, tagged and had been named Andrea.

It happened just three days after a swathe of trees (more than 40 claims SCOAG) were cut down beside Elizabeth Ave to make way for the controversial $19 million overpass.

Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has been contacted for comment.

"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site
The overpass site on Elizabeth Ave where the trees have been removed.

The bridge will link Clontarf Beach State High School with its ‘western campus’ – the playing area before the Ray Frawley Fields.

“This is atrocious. Horrendous,” Mr Barkla said. “It’s a perfect example of why we have been fighting this. The destruction has to stop.

“If those trees were still there this koala would have had a chance to survive.

“Experts said the koala was looking for somewhere else to go because the trees were not there.

"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site
A graphic produced by SCOAG today showing the location where Andrea the koala was found.

“This is not about the construction company. They are contractors doing their job. And we are definitely not against (road) safety.

"We believe there were alternatives (to the overpass), but there was no consultation.”

Mr Barkla said SCOAG believes the bridge could have been built in a different position, close by, where there were no trees.

He said fencing should have been at the bottom of the Ray Frawley Fields site, not beside the four-lane Elizabeth Ave.

Plans for the overpass, 35m south of the King St intersection, first appeared nine months ago and angered local residents.

"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site

SCOAG was formed, describing it as a “white elephant” and more than 500 signatures were collected on a petition.

At the time, SCOAG said it was “furious about the inconsistencies and lack of transparency” surrounding the project.

Les Barkla, said the group was “really frustrated” and wanted answers about potential loss of koala habitat (12 sighting/rescues and two deaths since September 2019).

Funding was fast-tracked through the Australian Road Safety Program, split 80:20 by the Federal and State Governments, as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery.

The project followed a request by Clontarf Beach State High School to improve safety for its students.

"Horrendous" koala death near overpass site
A graphic by Transport and Main Roads illustrating the work being undertaken at Elizabeth Ave

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