Management plan for Gordon Park flying foxes still in pipeline

GORDON PARK: The rainforest canopy has been severely damaged by the flying fox colony.
GORDON PARK: The rainforest canopy has been severely damaged by the flying fox colony.

An on-site meeting last Thursday with the passionate volunteers caring for the remnants of the rainforest at Gordon Park, Nambucca Heads, led to the inevitable discussion about what the future holds.

Thanks to a grant the preparation of a management plan is underway but not yet complete.

Cr John Ainsworth said he had a problem with the whole undertaking because he was “not aware of any plan that had worked so far” and wondered if there really was “anything practical” to be done.

Cr Anne Smyth she hoped some solution would be found.

“We need the plan before we are able to get any funding – we need to do something for the residents, the flying foxes and the forest,” Cr Smyth said.

Cr Janine Reed said she hoped the plan would also take into account the heritage aspects of the site, including its old well.

Cr Brian Finlayson said the plan would at least show the council had done its best to try and solve the problem.

“The legislation protecting the flying foxes is very clear and harming them carries horrific fines … the name of the game really is to accept they are there and leave them alone.”

COUNCIL AGENDA – Letter from the Gordon Park Rainforest Committee of Management

Request for On-Site Meeting regarding Condition of Gordon Park Rainforest and Boardwalk and the Future of this Asset

During the last year in particular, the damage to the area of rainforest under the flying fox colony has been considerable. That includes the boardwalk. Without a canopy the weeds have proliferated exponentially and the task of clearing the boardwalk and surrounding areas with a view to the public returning to enjoy this forest asset is currently beyond the present volunteer work force.

At our committee meeting on 23 February, as a matter of urgency, it was moved that we ask for an on-site meeting with Councillors, Council staff (including Paul Gallagher, Grant Nelson, Tim Woodward), the ecologist charged with writing the draft Flying Fox Management Plan, our committee members and forest workers.

The objective of this meeting is to enable everyone to gain an appreciation of the present condition of the forest and boardwalk, and the conditions for working in the forest. This assessment will determine what future action is deemed necessary for the good of the forest, for the good of the workers, and for the safety and benefit of visitors should the plan be to continue to work towards the re-opening of the forest for the enjoyment of the townspeople and tourists.