Finnish rally driver Mikko Hirvonen, winner of the 2009 WRC Repco Rally in his Ford BP entry.
Finnish rally driver Mikko Hirvonen, winner of the 2009 WRC Repco Rally in his Ford BP entry.

Repco Rally caused animal deaths

LAST year’s divisive Repco Rally Australia through the Tweed and Kyogle shires caused the deaths of about 14 animals, but the ecologist monitoring the event said he was more shocked by the actions of local people.

“We now appear to be a community divided by ideologies,” long-term Tweed resident Dr Stephen Phillips told Tweed Shire councillors at a special briefing session on the impact of the rally this week.

Dr Phillips said the animals killed were mainly reptiles and small birds, but did include one red-necked wallaby which was in a mob of wallabies probably chased by a dog into the path of rally cars.

He said no threatened species was killed.

Kyogle councillors will not be privy to the same briefing as they have instead opted to wait for the independent review of the rally which has been commissioned by the NSW Government.

“After the independent review is completed we may call for further submissions after that, but we’ll wait and see,” Kyogle mayor Ross Brown said.

Dr Phillips said the world rally event had brought out the worst in people who had posted ‘lies’ on the internet and emailed him abuse.

“We copped abuse all through the process from both sides of the argument. You just couldn’t win,” he said.

Dr Phillips gave a detailed explanation to councillors of the studies he undertook of wildlife along rally stages, recommendations rally organisers followed in changing routes, and the monitoring of impacts his Murwillumbah-based company Biolink conducted.

He voiced disappointment that Landcare groups, and even his local Rotary club, had failed to take up Repco Rally Australia offers to provide funds for tree-planting as part of a carbon-offset.

Dr Phillips also told of a dissected duck with the head of a domesticated mallard and the body of a different species that was thrown on to a rally route.

No Rally Group spokeswoman Andrea Vickers said while the group was happy more animals were not killed, the ‘body count’ was not the point.

She also said no wildlife lover would mess around with a dissected duck, but whoever was responsible ‘got one thing right: The whole event is a dead duck’.



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