Bellingen Island Flying-fox Camp Management Plan

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Consultation has concluded

Bellingen Shire Council sought community feedback regarding the development of a Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island Reserve (also known locally as 'Bat Island'.

Flying-foxes are protected under State legislation and some species are listed as threatened. Flying-foxes play a crucial role in pollinating native forests and spreading seeds to ensure longevity of native bushland. Like all urban wildlife, they bring benefits and challenges to the way we live.

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and Local Government NSW are assisting councils to manage Flying-fox camps in their areas, consistent with the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015. The goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-fox and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.

The final Bellingen Island Flying-fox Camp Management Plan was adopted by Council in October 2017.

Bellingen Shire Council sought community feedback regarding the development of a Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island Reserve (also known locally as 'Bat Island'.

Flying-foxes are protected under State legislation and some species are listed as threatened. Flying-foxes play a crucial role in pollinating native forests and spreading seeds to ensure longevity of native bushland. Like all urban wildlife, they bring benefits and challenges to the way we live.

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and Local Government NSW are assisting councils to manage Flying-fox camps in their areas, consistent with the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015. The goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-fox and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.

The final Bellingen Island Flying-fox Camp Management Plan was adopted by Council in October 2017.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    Has the BSC been receiving complaints about the bats presence? If so, how many and how often?

    Home owner near bat island asked almost 3 years ago

    The planning process, which is currently underway will gather this information.  It will be included in the draft Plan, which will be submitted to Council in July for consideration and recommendation for public exhibition.  

    The draft Plan will be available for review and submissions for six weeks during public exhibition.  Dates will be confirmed following Council’s recommendation and will be promoted on the ‘Create’ website, advertised in local papers and at other local information points e.g. Council Branch Libraries and the Providore Supermarket in North Bellingen.


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    What is Council's current position with respect to the management of FF on Bellingen Island? It is not clear what the outcome Council is seeking from the development of the plan in accordance with the template. The template is focussed on giving background and justification for licensing under the TSC Act and/or applying for funding from LGNSW. Plans can be developed outside the template that are just as useful and most likely more appropriate for the Island ( have a look at LAke Macquarie CC for Blackall Park).

    Turbogrub asked almost 3 years ago

    Currently, management of the Flying-fox camp on Bellingen Island is included in the Bellingen Island Integrated Reserves Plan of Management, 2012.  The action plan includes:

    • Flying-fox monitoring (for biodiversity)
    • Identifying if Flying-fox electrocution (powerlines) is an issue adjacent to the Reserve and if so, undertaking actions to reduce the risk
    • Reducing human/Flying-fox conflicts for adjacent residence through vegetation management
    • Identifying opportunities to undertake building modifications to reduce human/flying-fox conflicts
    • Investigating opportunities for artificial Flying-fox roosting structures
    • Developing a Flying-fox viewing platform and interpretive area
    • Community information and education

    For more details, the Plan of Management is available in the ‘Document Library’ for this project on Council’s ‘Create’ website and also on the Bellingen Shire Council website (search for Bellingen Island).

    Unfortunately, this Plan of Management was not eligible for funding under the LGNSW Flying-fox grants program so Council took up the opportunity to apply for funding to develop the required Plan.  With the funding received, the most efficient way to develop the draft plan is to use the template provided by the State government for this purpose.  If, following the public exhibition period, Council identifies any significant shortcomings in the template, these will be considered and addressed if possible within the scope of the project and resources allocated. 

    Thank you for your suggestion – Council’s River & Biodiversity Projects Officer will refer to the Blackall Park Camp Management Plan by Lake Macquarie City Council for consideration before the draft Plan is finalised.


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    Are there complaints about the bats presence? If so, how many and how often and how many concerns are allayed with education/ information? Are the Council receiving feedback about how many locals and tourists alike appreciate the spectacle of the bats doing their dusk tour of the river before heading off to feed and do other things?

    jennie fenton asked almost 3 years ago

    The planning process for this project, which is currently in its earliest stage, will gather and compile answers to these questions and more.  From now until the public exhibition period for the draft Plan, our community has the opportunity to have input to the development of the Bellingen Island Flying-fox Camp Management Plan. 

     Dates for the public exhibition period (42 days) will be confirmed when Council recommends the draft Plan for public exhibition.  Between now and then, there are three options available for input via Council’s ‘Create’ website:

    1)  Online survey

    2)  Q&A

    3)  Ideas

    Ecosure, environmental consultants engaged by Council, are currently compiling the draft Camp Management Plan based on the NSW Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 and survey data received up to 19 June 2017, which provides important information about the local context - our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions.  The surveys received  to date include a range of community perspectives including complaints as well as appreciation and conservation interests.  These will be presented in the draft Plan, which will soon be submitted to Council for consideration and recommendation for public exhibition. 

    The public exhibition period (42 days) is our community’s opportunity to read the draft Plan and make submissions for consideration before the Plan is finalized.  This opportunity will be promoted on Council’s ‘Create’ website, advertised in the Bellingen Courier Sun and at other local information points e.g. Council libraries. 


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    I get the feeling the decision to move them has already been made? I really don't feel that I can trust this council after what happened with the shade trees in Church St.

    Margaret asked almost 3 years ago

    As explained in the project description on the ‘Create’ website, the goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-foxes and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.  The Australian Government’s ‘Referral guideline for management actions in Grey-headed and Spectacled flying-fox camps’ urges proponents to consider dispersal of flying-foxes from camps as a last resort management option only.

    Please also refer to the information provided in survey question 11 as follows: ‘options that move flying-foxes away from a camp often result in flying-foxes establishing a new camp(s) close to the old site.  A review of 17 flying-fox dispersal attempts in Australia found that in 85% of cases new camp(s) were established nearby, generally less than 600 metres from the original site’

    The survey was developed by Ecosure (environmental consultants engaged by Council to develop the Camp Management Plan) for Council to use as a tool for community involvement in this project.  The questions were intended to gather information about our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions to inform the development of a draft Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island. 

    The project is currently in its earliest stage of development and Council has not yet been presented with a plan for consideration.  This will occur when the Plan is submitted to Council, which will then be recommended for public exhibition before being finalized.  The public exhibition period (42 days) is our community’s opportunity to read the draft Plan and make submissions for consideration before the Plan is finalized. 

    Dates will be confirmed when Council recommends the draft Plan for public exhibition.  This opportunity will be promoted on Council’s ‘Create’ website, advertised in the Bellingen Courier Sun and at other local information points e.g. Council libraries.


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    How does Council plan to stop them relocating to nearby gardens and orchards, just as they have done each time they were 'successfully' moved on from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens? They moved from the Botanic Gardens to Centennial Park — a few kilometres. But given that it's a very large colony, they probably couldn't find enough roosts closer ... and they keep returning. It's a costly, ongoing, noisy and disruptive process. How does Council plan to do this quietly, without disruption to surrounding families? What is the budget?

    Panda asked almost 3 years ago

    The Bellingen Island Flying-fox Camp Management Plan is currently in its earliest stage of development.  Bellingen Shire Council received $15,000 funding for this project through the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and Local Government NSW Flying-fox grants program.  Councils throughout NSW, including Bellingen Shire’s neighbours, Coffs Harbour City Council and Nambucca Valley Council, are implementing similar projects. 

    Bellingen Shire Council has engaged Ecosure, environmental consultants, to develop the Camp Management Plan.  The survey was developed by Ecosure for Council to use as a tool for community involvement in this project.  The survey includes a wide range of management options, which can be considered for Flying-fox camps throughout NSW.  Although the survey includes references to dispersal and moving the Flying-foxes to other areas, the Australian Government’s ‘Referral guideline for management actions in Grey-headed and Spectacled flying-fox camps’ urges proponents to consider dispersal of flying-foxes from camps as a last resort management option only.

    Please also refer to the information provided in survey question 11 as follows: ‘options that move flying-foxes away from a camp often result in flying-foxes establishing a new camp(s) close to the old site.  A review of 17 flying-fox dispersal attempts in Australia found that in 85% of cases new camp(s) were established nearby, generally less than 600 metres from the original site’

    Ecosure is currently compiling the draft Camp Management Plan based on the NSW Flying-fox Camp Management  Policy 2015 and survey data received up to 19 June 2017, which provides important information about the local context - our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions.  After the draft Plan is submitted to Council for consideration, it will then be recommended for public exhibition before being finalized.  The public exhibition period (42 days) is our community’s opportunity to read the draft Plan and make submissions for consideration before the Plan is finalized.  Dates will be confirmed when Council recommends the draft Plan for public exhibition.  This opportunity will be promoted on Council’s ‘Create’ website, advertised in the Bellingen Courier Sun and at other local information points e.g. Council libraries. 


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    So, are you guys suggesting removal of the flying foxes? It kinda comes across that way in the questions in the survey ...

    Home owner near bat island asked almost 3 years ago

    As explained in the project description on the ‘Create’ website, the goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-foxes and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.  

    The Australian Government’s ‘Referral guideline for management actions in Grey-headed and Spectacled flying-fox camps’ urges proponents to consider dispersal of flying-foxes from camps as a last resort management option only.

    Please also refer to the information provided in survey question 11 as follows: ‘options that move flying-foxes away from a camp often result in flying-foxes establishing a new camp(s) close to the old site.  A review of 17 flying-fox dispersal attempts in Australia found that in 85% of cases new camp(s) were established nearby, generally less than 600 metres from the original site’

    The survey was developed by Ecosure (environmental consultants engaged by Council to develop the Camp Management Plan) for Council to use as a tool for community involvement in this project.  The questions were intended to gather information about our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions to inform the development of a draft Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island. 

    The project is currently in its earliest stage of development and Council has not yet been presented with a plan for consideration.  This will occur when the draft Plan is submitted to Council, which will then be recommended for public exhibition before being finalized. 


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    I'm a very concerned resident of Bellingen who lives close to bat island. It scares me that a plan other than protecting the flying foxes and their home could be considered. Is it really a possibility that a plan other than this is on the cards? Can't residents and businesses owners who don't like the flying foxes just leave? Surely humans have enough of the planet, isn't it time to make sacrifices for the animals and trees?

    lockie asked almost 3 years ago

    These opinions have been noted and will be included in the information provided to Ecosure (environmental consultants engaged by Council) to compile the draft Plan. 

    As explained in the project description on the ‘Create’ website, the goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-foxes and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.

    The project is currently in its earliest stage of development and Council has not yet been presented with a plan for consideration.  This will occur when the draft Plan is submitted to Council, which will then be recommended for public exhibition before being finalized. 

    The survey was developed by Ecosure and includes a wide range of management options, which have been considered for Flying-fox camps throughout NSW.  The camps and how they are perceived by people in surrounding communities varies significantly in different places.  Through this planning process, management options can be considered and determined to best suit the local situation. 


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    Why has the need to "manage" the flying foxes come up? Is their presence being questioned by new residents who are not as comfortable living closer to nature? Or by business owners whose financial priorities weigh more than their value of the natural environment? I'm curious about why this needs to be debated at all. The bats are completely fine and beautiful as they are, in my opinion. But I'd like to hear from those who take issue with them.

    Nicky G asked almost 3 years ago

    These opinions have been noted and will be included in the information provided to Ecosure (environmental consultants engaged by Council) to compile the draft Plan. 

    The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) are assisting councils to manage Flying-fox camps in their areas, consistent with the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015.  The goal is to find the balance between protecting Flying-foxes and supporting communities to live with urban wildlife.  Bellingen Shire Council received funding for this project through the OEH and LGNSW Flying-fox grants program.

    The purpose of the survey and the other options available on the ‘Create’ website, is to gather information about our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions to inform the development of a draft Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island. 


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    The survey questions are loaded and requires answers to all questions. Secondly to number answers when someone is not comfortable with any of the answers in the survey. It is not a valid survey as the questions as usual are not designed for Community Consultation, but for a predetermined result. Bellingen Shire Council at it very best.

    Mylestom asked about 3 years ago

    Please refer to the answers provided to previous questions.

    In response to your feedback, the survey has been edited so the question asking for educational options to be ranked is no longer mandatory.  

    If you would like to re-submit your survey, please contact Council by phoning 6655 7300 or emailing council@bellingen.nsw.gov.au so this can be arranged. 


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    They are a health hazard and for too long the residents and the Business of the Shire have been ignored. They should be relocated to area away from Community.

    Mylestom asked about 3 years ago

    These opinions have been noted and will be included in the information provided to Ecosure (environmental consultants) for compiling the draft Plan.  

    However, please refer to the information provided in survey questions 3 & 11 in relation to these two topics.


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    Question Who designed the survey and why were the questions loaded. Requiring Answers when people should have a choice. Numbered to ensure you rated some of your (Councils) preferred answers in the top 75%. Should have option to rate 1 or more, not the full 10

    Mylestom asked about 3 years ago

    The survey was developed by Ecosure (environmental consultants) for Council to use as a tool for community involvement in this project.  The questions were intended to gather information about our community’s knowledge, experiences and opinions to inform the development of a draft Flying-fox Camp Management Plan for Bellingen Island. 

    The project is currently in its earliest stage of development and Council has not yet been presented with any options for consideration.  This will occur when the draft Plan is submitted to Council, which will then be recommended for public exhibition before being finalized.

    All of the options for answering mandatory questions include either:

    ·  a range of answers from one extreme of the spectrum to another or

    ·  the option to select ‘other’ and specify details or leave this space blank.

    The two questions which include rankings do not require all of the answers to be numbered.  If you do not like any of the answers provided you can put a ‘1’ next to ‘other’ and either specify details or leave this area blank.


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    How come you list them as Threatened when EPA lists as "Listed as Vulnerable " http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=186 One hopes that this is not Misinformation

    Mylestom asked about 3 years ago

    Flying-fox, as native fauna, are protected in NSW under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.  There are more than one species of Flying-fox in NSW.  

    The Grey-headed Flying-fox, which is the main species that uses Bellingen Island camp site,  is listed as vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Commonwealth).  

    The term ‘Threatened species’ refers to species listed under either/both of these Acts.  It is an umbrella term, which is appropriate regardless of the extinction risk category determined for the species e.g. vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered , extinct in the wild etc.