Among friends: Jenny Hayes and her koalas were at home at the World Environment Day at Knox Park, yesterday.
Among friends: Jenny Hayes and her koalas were at home at the World Environment Day at Knox Park, yesterday. Blainey Woodham

Group spreads word on koalas

HUNDREDS of families, retirees and young people turned out at Knox Park in Murwillumbah yesterday to enjoy the sunny weather, talk about the climate and learn more about the challenges facing their environment.

An assortment of environmental, green and music groups plus Tweed Shire Council took part in a market-style celebration to mark World Environment Day and sell their wares or causes.

Among them was Team Koala, whose spokeswoman Jenny Hayes had a stream of supporters backing her campaign to make the proposed Kings Forest township south of Kingscliff more koala-friendly.

“We are not aiming to stop the development,” Ms Hayes said of the township which is planned to have 5000 homes.

“We are aiming to have a koala-friendly development.”

Ms Hayes said current plans, which are believed to have prompted about 15,000 submissions to the NSW Department of Planning, did not provide any underpasses or overpasses to allow the area’s koalas to cross a four-lane road, or bush corridors through housing areas.

Dozens of people signed form letters calling for the underpasses and overpasses, wildlife corridors and 40 km/h speed zones which Ms Hayes said were recommended for the new township by local koala expert Dr Stephen Phillips, who had extensively studied koalas at the site.

The festival was co-ordinated by the Murwillumbah-based Caldera Environment Centre. Speeches included an address by Professor Janis Birkeland from the Queensland University of Technology on “positive development”.



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