Proposed St Helens Park development concerns koala expert

Campbelltown’s foremost koala expert has grave concerns a proposed housing development in St Helens Park will negatively impact the region’s koalas.

The more than 355-home development is proposed for bushland near Kellerman drive where koalas are known to frequent.

Dr Robert Close said at least half a dozen koalas call the development site home at any given time.

“We had a radio collar on a female koala in that bushland for a time and she travelled all through that area,” he said.

“There are a couple of other females and some males in there and they have their cubs too.

“Females get very attached to their territory.”

Dr Close said he fought development at the same site more than 15 years ago, before there were any known koalas in that bushland.

At the time Dr Close spoke to the Land and Environment Court judge involved in the case, saying it would only be “a matter of time” before koalas settled in the area.

“We see now that has come to fruition,” he said.

“These koalas are thriving in the zone between bush and suburbia.

“The more development you have the less good it will do the koala community.

“The development eats into the movement of the koalas and they will be forced to venture into the great unknown.” 

Dr Close said he would be making a submission against the proposal, currently on public exhibition and available to view at Campbelltown Library.

Nea Makowski, an environmental supporter, will also be making a submission against the proposal.

“I’m definitely on the side of the koala population,” Ms Makowski said.

“We’ve got so much housing going up around us, including apartments, but this land is pristine and needs to be protected.

“We’ve chopped down so much bushland already.”

Ms Makowski encourages everyone read the development application and make a submission before the December 23 deadline.

A petition set up by wildlife campaigner Richard Lonza on to protect the koala habitat has already garnered close to 800 signatures.

Mr Lonza said if the development were to go ahead the koalas could be forced onto bushland off Appin Road where they would be in danger of being hit by cars.


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