Bats in the belfry camp near Woolgoolga lake.
Bats in the belfry camp near Woolgoolga lake. Rob Wright/Coffs Coast Advocate

New strategy for flying foxes

FLYING fox camps may cause controversy in the community but the Coffs Harbour City Council have come up with a strategy for better management of the protected animals.

The Coffs Coast is home to three permanent camps with the Woolgoolga Lake Camp listed as a nationally important site for the species.

Flying foxes play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal and are protected in NSW.

"Loss of feeding areas and roosting habitat means that flying-fox camps are appearing more frequently in urban centres, creating conflict with residents who are concerned about possible health issues, noise and odour,” a statement from Coffs Harbour City Council said.

To help minimise the effects for residents, Council has now adopted the Coffs Harbour LGA Flying-fox Camps Strategic Camp Management Plan.

The plan includes long-term and short-term strategies for the management of flying-fox camps.

Actions include:

- Establishing a complaints tracking system within Council,

- Ongoing maintenance of existing buffers at Coffs Creek and Woolgoolga Lake,

- The production of a detailed Vegetation Management Plan for Barcoo Court and related management of vegetation within the Council easement on the northern side of Barcoo Court,

- Ongoing community education and communication with neighbouring residents prior to, during and following implementation of management actions,

- Education regarding possible property modifications,

- Investigation of service subsidies,

- Identification, rehabilitation and protection of flying-fox habitat.

Council said a number of the actions from the plan such as ongoing communication with neighbouring residents are already under way, while grants are being actively sought to get other aspects of the strategy in place.

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