Plan delay holds koalas to ransom, says advocate

FRIENDS of the Koala president Lorraine Vass has called on Byron Shire Council to rescind its decision to delay its public display of the Draft Byron Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management.

Ms Vass, a member of the council's project reference group on koala management, said the group had recommended the draft plan go on display in August, however the council voted against this at its October 10 meeting.

At that meeting the council resolved that a stakeholder workshop would take place before the plan was displayed.

This stakeholder workshop would include the discussion of planning controls around music festival sites, namely the Bluesfest site at Tea Tree Farm at Tyagarah.

Ms Vass said any delay would further endanger the already declining population,

"Our concerns are that the draft plan is the instrument we need to recover the coastal koala population.

"Any delay holds the entire population to ransom, and the more vulnerable they are the longer it drags on," she said.

Disease and road deaths were the main causes of death for koalas in this coastal area, she said.

Cr Duncan Dey who is also on the project reference group, said he too would have preferred for the draft plan to go on display immediately.

"Once on exhibition, all the stakeholders would have had the opportunity to lodge their submissions, and that would have been the ideal outcome," Cr Dey said.

"However, I won't be suggesting a rescission motion as it will further delay the process.

"My aim is to have the plan on display as soon as possible.

"The shocking statistic is that we have only 240 koalas in the coastal Byron area and the death rate is shocking."

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