A management plan for the flying-fox camp at Black Gully was adopted by Council at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Wednesday 25 July 2018, which will allow Council to take actions to reduce the impact on residents if flying foxes return.
The Draft Black Gully Flying Fox Camp Management Plan was earlier endorsed for Public Exhibition by Council 26 April 2018. Council in partnership with the consultants conducted an onsite engagement session and online survey for residents to provide feedback. 44 submissions were also received and sent to the consultant Ecosure for consideration when redrafting the plan.
Management advice of the flying fox camp came from the consultant and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The camp is to be managed in situ and a staged approach undertaken to reduce the risk of dispersal of the bats into the wider urban area.
Approximately 60 percent of submissions were in favour of relocating flying-foxes from Black Gully, or stopping flying foxes from living in the urban area. Dispersal of the flying foxes are rarely successful, very expensive and do not reduce the number of flying foxes within urban areas. OEH has indicated that passive or active dispersal should not be undertaken until level 1 – routine camp management and level 2 creation of a buffer has been undertaken, and only if these actions fail to adequately mitigate the impact of flying foxes on the community.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Cr Simon Murray said Council has no plans to attempt to move the flying fox camp if the bats return as dispersal actions could cause conflict to more residents and Council does not have approval to do so.
“To assist residents who have already liaised with Council to identify trees for removal on their property, Council will be waiving the $125 Tree Removal Fee and has set aside a subsidy and camp management fund of up to $50k in total. The subsidy offered to affected residents will be based on a percentage of tree removals costs,” said Cr Murray.
“Council will also undertake vegetation management in Black Gully to assist with the creation of a 15 metre buffer. If the flying foxes do return Council will continue to assist residents with clean-up of properties and the supply of tarps if required.”
The final Camp Management Plan together with a Threatened Species licence application under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 to enable management actions to be undertaken is still to be approved. It is anticipated that OEH will provide consent for the actions outlined in the management plan in early August enabling Council and residents to commence buffer works.
Published on 27 Jul 2018