Fencing-in the tip

MidCoast Council begins construction of a perimeter fence to meet EPA requirements. Photo Anne Keen
MidCoast Council begins construction of a perimeter fence to meet EPA requirements. Photo Anne Keen

If you have driven by the Gloucester tip recently you’ll have noticed a bit of clearing and a new fence being constructed.

The sight of the cleared area and the new 1.8 metre fence has caused concern with members of the community who are worried about the wildlife.

After requests in May 2017 by MidCoast Council for the community to report koala activity in the area as part of the Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project, there was confusion about why council would remove trees in an area of potential koala sightings.

Council’s manager, waste health and regulatory services, John Cavanagh explained that the fencing being constructed around the perimeter of the tip is a requirement of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA governs how councils manage waste and part of that requirement is fencing the facility to keep animals, wild and domestic, out of the area.

Council recently received grant funding to assist with the fence construction and will build as much as the funding permits. The remainder of the fencing will be done in stages as funding is sourced.

“We were pretty careful to only take out what trees were necessary, with six to eight saplings and one large tree removed due to staff safety,” he said. 

There was also a lot of scrub removed making the area quite barren, but John said council’s resident ecologist was consulted prior to ensure it wasn’t part of a koala corridor. 

“The fence even follows a line that avoids taking out more vegetation than necessary.”

But the koalas have not been forgotten with council announcing Gloucester as a koala hotspot in March 2018 and future works planned to protect and improve habitat in the vicinity of Bucketts Road and Showground Road.