Flying rats take over city centre
By BIANCA CLARE
NARELLE DON is not normally a violent person.
But the seagulls that terrorise her customers while they're trying to enjoy an outdoor lunch in the Coffs Harbour City Square are driving her insane.
"Some days I just feel like shooting them," Ms Don, the owner of Mum's Snacks, said.
"If my customers turn their back for a second, in come the rats with wings and off goes the food.
"They're also dirty creatures.
"They mess on the tables, chairs, umbrellas, customers and their food.
"I clean the mess up but a minute later it's back again.
"It's getting to the point where it's embarrassing. Something needs to be done."
The owner of The Star Fish Cafe, Nathan Corcoran, said the persistent pesky seagulls were costing his business money.
"When the seagulls ruin a customer's meal or drink, we have to replace it at no cost."
Mr Corcoran said he had approached Coffs Harbour City Council to ask for assistance in controling bird numbers within the City Square, but he was less than impressed with their response.
"They basically told me to clean my tables faster," he said
"We already hover over customers waiting for them to finish their meal. What more can we do?
"I think the council has their head in the sand."
The owner of That Fabulous Delicatessen and Cafe, Margo McKillop, said she felt the same about the council's suggested solution to the seagull problem.
"I would like to see the council supply retailers with visual bird deterrents to hang in the trees," she said.
"I have done the research on the internet and they are available for no more than $35."
A Coffs Harbour City Council spokeswoman said the problem was the availability of food for birds to enjoy when it is left on tables.
"Cafe owners have been told to their clean tables as fast as possible and advise their customers not to feed the birds," she said.
Acting president of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Sonja Wallis said it was important for diners and business owners to keep in mind that they are in a coastal town.
n Can you think of a way to get rid of the scavenging seagulls? Let us know. Email email@example.com.