Wildlife fencing will not be moved

Published 6:00am 13 December 2022

Wildlife fencing will not be moved
Words by Nick Crockford

Koala protection fencing at the site of a $19 million pedestrian overpass in Clontarf will not be moved, says the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

Campaigners had called for the proposed fencing to be moved away from the four-lane Elizabeth Ave (site fencing pictured above) to the western edge of Ray Frawley Fields, beside Hays Inlet.

It follows the death of a female koala on the road, opposite the work site and rescue of a male from the site days after trees were cut down for the overpass to link Clontarf Beach State High School and the playing fields

Stop Clontarf Overpass Action Group (SCOAG) met with TMR, Moreton Bay Regional Council, State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath and Cr Karl Winchester last Thursday.

A spokesperson for TMR said during the meeting “council’s green infrastructure program and how this integrates with the fauna fencing plan for Elizabeth Ave, was discussed.

“A council representative explained the science-based evidence and rationale behind the chosen fencing location - which will remain as per the current project plan.

Wildlife fencing will not be moved

“Requests by stakeholders for fencing on private land was raised, with council advising while TMR, local council, state and federal governments have no jurisdiction to install fencing on private land, there may be grant funding available for those who wish to pursue this avenue.”

The spokesperson said "permanent fauna exclusion fencing is under construction which was expedited following a recent koala death.

“Interim fencing will remain in place until permanent fencing is installed. We will continue to provide information to all key stakeholders as the project progresses.”

SCOAG says it has written to Yvette D’Ath, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth, and Karl Winchester urging them to “lead discussion” with local landowners over “adequate koala and native animal safety fencing to the south and north of Ray Frawley Fields”.

Local resident Sue Johnson, who has campaigned against the overpass, said “concerns” remained over the safety of native wildlife near and one the fields.

“We just hope the permanent koala fencing, fast tracked (by TMR) after the death of Andrea, is adequate to stop any further koala deaths,” she said.

Wildlife fencing will not be moved
Sign going up after the death of a female koala late last month.

“We know koalas continue to move around behind the Ray Frawley Fields and we have real concerns about koalas and other native animals that may get trapped on the fields and surrounding areas west of the permanent fencing.”

Koala Action Inc President Vanda Grabowski said: “Evidence and good science states the best location for wildlife fencing is as far as possible from main roads.

“To encourage a koala to move from its treed domain, cross open ground until they run into a fence, then have to turn around, cross that open ground again to get to the trees is ridiculous.

“That is simply unacceptable and would not be encouraged by anyone who knows anything at all about koalas.”

SCOAG has conceded the overpass “will proceed as planned, despite the efforts of community to be listened to regarding koala protection, the cost, and other issues.”

The overpass is scheduled for competition by July 2023.

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