Planned township 'threat to koalas'

THE number of koalas on the Tweed Coast has fallen to about 300 and would take a further battering if a proposed new town of 10,000 people was built at Kings Forest, west of Casuarina Beach, according to a councillor.

Greens Party councillor Katie Milne is, along with a number of other conservationists, warning that measures to protect the koalas currently living around the Kings Forest site seem insufficient.

Council officers have also called for a better koala management plan at the site.

Ms Milne said the area was perceived to have one of the most important koala populations on the Tweed Coast because it had bushland links with the Koala Beach koala population.

Quoting extracts from the Koala Habitat Atlas of 1996, Cr Milne said “while the actual size and status of the current Koala population for the study area (in the Tweed Coast area) remained speculative, considered calculations ... produce an estimated koala population of well below 500 and realistically between 200 and 300”.

She said the authors of the document had concluded some of the koalas “should be considered highly vulnerable to endangered with poor prospects for long term survivorship”.

She warned that possibly more than half the viable koala population on the Tweed Coast lived at Kings Forest, but development there could affect both those koalas and the ones at Koala Beach due to “the inter-connectivity” of the groups.

She said concerns had also been raised that koalas at the Kings Forest site had not shown signs of breeding for the past four years.

“This would indicate these koalas are already at their limit of endurance and cannot absorb any further impacts,” she said.

The NSW Department of Planning is considering a development application for the Kings Forest township.

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