Flying foxes, birds and trees are why community members have objected to the auction of a plot of land in Bega zoned for residential development.
The 3.12ha site on East St, Bega, comes up for auction on June 7, but it is adjacent to the Glebe Lagoon – the home of a 20,000-strong flying fox colony that usually roosts in the trees between October and May.
The state government-owned land is also the site of about 40 angophoras that are used as roosts by visiting birds such as parakeets, wood ducks, kookaburras and dollarbirds.
If the land were to become a residential area, coordinator of monthly flying fox counting activities Hugh Pitty was concerned of a similar situation to Batemans Bay where the town’s colony has caused distress to those in nearby houses and $2.5 million has been announced to help with their dispersal.
Considering the amount of funding to be spent in Batemans Bay, Mr Pitty estimated the government could spend at least three times more than what it would raise from the sale of the land to address the problem of people living right next to a flying fox colony.
“If the flying fox colony was there when the auction was being done then the conflict would be obvious to any potential purchaser,” he said
Nearby resident and former manager of Bega Diaspora Café Michael Cortis proposed Bega Valley Shire Council purchase the site and add it to the Glebe Lagoon reserve, to protect the area’s flora and fauna.
“It could become a small arboretum or botanic gardens, something to feature the local flora and fauna of Bega that is rapidly disappearing,” he said.
The site’s angophoras, which he estimated to be around 200 years old, were important to bird life and he was concerned birds would stop visiting the area if the trees were cut down. Mr Pitty was writing letters to council and the state minister for environment about adding the site to the adjacent reserve.