By gum, it's a new leaf after 13 years

THEY are cute, they are cuddly and the Richmond Valley Council is about to decide whether it will create a koala management plan to protect them.

In 1995 the now defunct Richmond River Shire Council paid the Koala Foundation $15,000 to produce the Richmond Valley Koala Habitat Atlas.

However, it took the foundation 13 years to produce the 61-page report.

Council director of environmental development services Ken Exleysaid it was not until the new council, formed through the amalgamation of Richmond River Shire Council with the Casino Council in 2000, was developing its local environment plan that it discovered the atlas had been commissioned but never received.

The atlas was finally delivered to the council in June 2008.

It identified koala food tree species and significant areas of koala habitat within the local government area.

It also recommended the council develop a koala management plan to ensure the ongoing survival of koalas in the region.

Mr Exley said many of the atlas's recommendations would be covered in the new LEP, which the council hopes will go on public exhibition by the end of this year.

There are only three councils in NSW with such a koala management plan in place.

“We have to decide whether there would be any benefit in developing a koala management plan,” Mr Exley said.

It is expected the council will consider the atlas at the October or November council meeting.



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