Bats have us all in a flap seeking answers
IT'S a bat's world.
But now it is time to readdress the balance and give the humans a go and solve the issues of noise and stench that is making Ipswich people's lives a misery.
That was the feeling when the QT met Yamanto residents and councillors David Morrison and Charlie Pisasale in Beechwood Drive as we gazed upon hundreds of bats roosting in the sheoak trees across a creek from Kerri Truloff's backyard.
As reported in the QT, Ipswich City Council in conjunction with the State Government had spent $65,000 selectively clearing trees and doing other work to deter what are a variety of types of flying foxes.
They left for a short time in August, but now they are back as bad as ever.
Lois Dionysius lives in Beechwood Drive, as she has for 42 years, and said she had to close the whole house up at night to get any sleep.
"At 2am in summer you are staring at the ceiling because the bats are making so much noise," she said.
While trees have been cleared from impacted residents' private property the sheoak trees mostly on the other side of Deebing Creek, remain the issue.
"We don't want them cut down, but we'd like them to lop the top of the trees off so they (the bats) won't come," Ms Dionysius said, after six years of misery because of bats.
"Underneath there is no pedestrian traffic so workplace health and safety issues won't apply.
"The legislation needs to be changed so we can move the bats on.
"There is too much (protection) for the bats and they are not thinking of the people living with the problem."
Cr Morrison said there were legal issues surrounding trimming trees on what was a large parcel of land owned by one individual.
"If they are roosting in the tree council's hands are bound by state and federal legislation," he said.
"The advice given by one of our horticulturalists to residents is if the trees are trimmed the limbs become weaker.
"I know there are no walking tracks there, but if council did that and a weak limb fell on someone we'd become liable.
"It's not to say it can't be done but we will seek advice.
"I have similar issues at a Pilny reserve in Camira that I represent."
The flying foxes are protected but Cr Morrison said an ABC program had questioned that bats were diminishing at all. He said his own experience in Camira suggested there had never been as many bats about and he's lived there since 1966.
Cr Pisasale, who represents Division 8, said the issue was one with plenty of questions but few answers.
"It is so frustrating because a week ago I was told all the bats were gone, but at the start of this week I was told by residents they are back.
"It's bad news after we thought we'd had such a positive result.
"We need to look at what can be done with the plants here and work in partnership with local residents to put appropriate species in place to discourage these buggers."
Cr Morrison said people who lived in Yamanto near the reserve loved the environment but were entitled to also be able to enjoy life.
Ms Truloff said that was not possible.
Asthma attacks are on the increase and people are taking pills to stop vomiting in the area.
She said it was time for action, with the noise and smell impacting her family's lifestyle.
"There are no more barbecues. No-one wants to come," she said.
"We moved here because of the wildlife and because it was nice, but it's not nice now.
"It's really heartbreaking and to sell and move we lose a huge amount of money, which we can't afford."
Ms Truloff, her husband and two daughters don't sleep at night.
"I understand what the councillors are saying but it not good enough," she said.
"This is not just a Yamanto issue. It is a Queensland and Australia-wide issue.
"Cull the lot as far as I am concerned. Rabbits, kangaroos and dingoes have been culled at times, so what makes these animals so special. I see no other way around it."
Cr Morrison said it may be time for the tech wizards at Fire Station 101 to come up with an answer to finding a frequency, that the flying foxes can hear but residents can't, to scare them away.
"Are there people up there who could so some research into how we can legally deter flying foxes from residential areas? That is a challenge to Fire Station 101," he said.
"Is there a frequency available that hasn't been thought of? We have really got to get fair dinkum about protecting the quality of lifestyle of residents. Once the flying foxes start roosting in an area sometimes they have more rights than residents do."
Ms Dionysius and Ms Truloff said it had brought to the attention of council in the past that such a device does exist and had been used elsewhere.
Ms Dionysius said "the smallest one is $15,000 and the larger one is $165,000 and I don't have that money floating around".
The residents have thrown around the idea of buying the cheaper version and splitting the cost.