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Koalas ?at risk

Martha Schmahl (left) and the Rutland Street area residents are determined to protect their trees.
Martha Schmahl (left) and the Rutland Street area residents are determined to protect their trees.

By DAVID MOASE

MARTHA Schmahl understands why the land adjoining her neighbourhood is attractive to developers ? she just wants whatever work goes ahead to change the area as little as possible.

Mrs Schmahl and her North Bonville neighbours are worried Coffs Harbour City Council is going to go back on promises to protect nearby koala habitat by approving a new housing development.

The residents gathered this week to make their feelings known and to call for sympathetic development.

"If I owned the land I'd like to develop it too, but we don't want to see the area destroyed," Mrs Schmahl said.

She brandished a list of the wildlife she regularly sees around her house, which apart from koalas includes kangaroos, goannas and a dozen different types of native birds.

The land adjoining Rutland Street, on the southern side of Lyons Road, contains swamp mahogany and tallowwood trees and is recognised in the council's Koala Plan of Management as prime habitat.

It is now the subject of a development application for a 19-lot subdivision.

Another local resident, Bruce King, says the residents are not trying to stop the development going ahead.

"Let them develop and let them get their profits but the koala habitat needs to be pro- tected by the council," he said.

"The council has mapped this area as prime koala habitat and the adjoining residents purchased their land on the understanding the trees would remain."

The council passed its North Bonville Development Control Plan on Thursday night.



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