Nature centre sets date for re-opening
THE IPSWICH Nature Centre will re-open this weekend after the flying foxes that caused the closure two months ago finally moved on.
The doors will be flung upon again to the public tomorrow for the first time since the start of February, which is the longest period of time the facility has remained closed in its 80 year history.
It was shut to visitors after an abnormally high number of 5000 little red flying foxes made the trees at Queens Park their home during migration.
They caused a number of public safety issues with the little animals roosting in tight clumps, which can cause branches to break and fall.
They also tend to roost lower in trees than other species which increased the risk of contact with anybody walking by, particularly along the elevated boardwalks of the centre.
The unusually high number during this year's migration was due to a number of factors including floods in North Queensland and fires throughout Australia.
The flying foxes have now departed with March marking the end of their breeding season.
Ipswich City Council Works, Parks and Recreation Department chief operating officer Bryce Hines said the downtime allowed some maintenance to be undertaken at the centre.
"We have had arborists in to trim damaged trees and we have cleaned up all areas that were covered in debris and flying fox faeces," he said.
"We have had additional work crews from all over Ipswich helping out with mulching, landscaping and repair work.
"We took advantage of the site being closed to the public to drain the water features, clean them up and refill them.
"We have been working hard to return the park back to a first-rate tourist attraction."
The nature centre had 19,000 visitors in January and welcomes between 8,000-10,000 people a month.
It is home to 42 different species and 200 animals in total and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am-4pm.
Council CEO David Farmer was excited for people to check out the facility once again.
"It's an asset to the community," he said.
"It is something that we want people to see and use. We're delighted to be able to re-open it."