Proposal to move bats finally in motion

AFTER years of complaints, the residents of Yamanto are finally being heard.

Environment Minister Steven Miles visited residents neighbouring the flying fox colony on Wednesday and Ipswich City Council is working on a plan to move the bats on.

An online petition "Bats Be Gone" recently posted by Yamanto residents has attracted 140 signatures and Mayor Paul Pisasale had written to the Minister after frustrated attempts by council to address residents' complaints.

Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard yesterday said she accompanied the Minister after visiting the area at 4.30am a fortnight ago to witness how the colony disrupted people's sleep.

"I made a commitment to the residents then that the Minister would come out and meet with them. He had expressed to me that he wanted to look at the colony and hear from the residents.

"We were able to sit in the residents' lounge room and share their stories about the history of the colony and the day to day living with 3km of flying foxes in your backyard."

Ms Howard said the responsibility to manage the colony was with local government but she was determined to work with Ipswich City Council to find an outcome for the residents.

"For five years they have been waiting for something to happen," she said.

"The goal is to move the colony on but you have to start with managing it within the guidelines.

"The Minister wants to work with us in trying to help wherever we can.

"I would consider myself an environmentalist in many ways ... however these people have been living in their homes since the eighties.

"They've had koalas, black cockatoos, kookaburras, bush turkeys, kangaroos in their backyard for most of that time.

"Since the flying foxes moved in there is nothing. It is decimated.

"It is a wasteland of screeching flying foxes which are very important to the environment but we do need to make sure they are managed."

Ms Howard said the concern was for people's quality of life.

"They have no quality of life.

"They can't sleep for the noise. In the hottest days they have to shut their houses up.

"One family had to chop a number of trees down because they started to roost in the trees just outside their children's bedroom window which kept them awake at night.

"The smell is quite strong.

"There is just a vast number of them there."

Neither the media nor council were invited to the meeting and the minister's office did not return our calls yesterday.

Cr Pisasale said he was pleased the Minister had met with residents to see their complaints first hand.

He said the council was working on a strategy and wanted a solution where clearing could take place legally at no cost to the residents.

"We need a strategy, not just for Yamanto, but for Camira, all the areas affected by bats," Cr Pisasale said.

"The State Government has to be at the table and put in 50% of the cost."

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