Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has written to the Environment Minister, Steven Miles, requesting his Department take responsibility for the flying fox colony in Ingham’s botanical gardens, after directing the Hinchinbrook Shire Council to stop authorised management activities.
In his letter to Minister Miles, Mr Cripps said for years, the flying fox colony has been a noisy, smelly hindrance to the community in Ingham, but residents had tolerated them because they had ‘come and gone from time to time’ – a situation that now appeared to have changed for the worse.
“This time the colony has not moved on for an extended period and their ongoing occupancy has resulted in several adverse outcomes for the community – the people of Ingham are no longer prepared to tolerate the flying foxes in the botanical gardens – they must go” said Mr Cripps.
“These gardens also serve as Ingham’s memorial gardens, accommodating our cenotaph, as well as other memorials erected by the community in the Hinchinbrook Shire – so I will be circulating a petition locally and placing one online, so local residents can have their say on this issue” he said.
Mr Cripps said multiple adverse impacts of the flying fox colony, such as bad smells, loud noises, extensive mess and health concerns, were impacting on the Ingham community, particularly the adjacent schools, businesses, community organisations and the botanical gardens themselves.
“One school has stopped using an adjacent bus pick–up and set-down area, some local residents are worried about using the gardens for memorial services, adjacent businesses are affected by bad odours, constant noise and terrible mess and the trees in the gardens are suffering badly”.
“On 4 November 2016, Hinchinbrook Shire Council officers were undertaking non-lethal activities in the gardens in accordance with Council’s flying fox management plan, but were directed to cease these activities by officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection”.
“It is unacceptable for DEHP to intervene to prevent the Council from undertaking non-lethal activities associated with managing this flying fox colony, unless they are prepared to take responsibility for it themselves and I have written to Minister Miles asking him to do just that”.
Mr Cripps said a paper petition would be available from the Hinchinbrook Electorate Office and would circulate in the community until the end of January 2017. An e-petition will also be available to support online at http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions.