Wollondilly Council to investigate management solutions for Picton's flying fox colony

Wollondilly Council and Picton residents met to discuss the ongoing issues with the grey headed flying fox population. Pictures: Supplied
Wollondilly Council and Picton residents met to discuss the ongoing issues with the grey headed flying fox population. Pictures: Supplied

Wollondilly Council will investigate more options for management of Picton's flying fox colony.

Late last year Picton residents met with councillors to show them the damage the shire's grey headed flying fox colony was wreaking on their homes.

Wollondilly councillors Judith Hannan and Michael Banasik raised a notice of motion regarding the bat colony at a recent meeting.

The notice asked that council investigate and trial viable additional management actions, such as sonic devices or other treatments suggested by experts, to assist in managing the Stonequarry Creek camp.

Cr Banasik said there were major issues with flying foxes around Picton, Victoria Bridge and Picton Avenue.

"Before Christmas was terrible... the community were very concerned because the (flying fox) population had gone from of 5000 to 15000," he said.

"Numbers have gone down a fair bit in the last month but it is still an issue.

"It can be a health issue - families were not walking with their kids to school because there was bat poo everywhere."

Cr Hannan said the camp needed to be protected but the impact on residents was tough to hear about.

Troublesome native: The Grey-Headed Flying Fox is a threatened species and Picton's colony has continued to grow in the past year. Picture: Noni Hyett

Troublesome native: The Grey-Headed Flying Fox is a threatened species and Picton's colony has continued to grow in the past year. Picture: Noni Hyett

"It's sad when you go out there and you hear little children say they can't go out on their push bike... there's a lot of impacts on families there," she said.

"Now we've gone through the Christmas period and there is a decrease in numbers, what will happen now is that everyone will forget about it.

"It happens every year and we'll come around to breeding season at the end of the year and we'll be back in same situation again.

"I would like to see us keep it as a priority in our minds that we actually deal with whatever possibilities there are through the winter period, so that when we come along to summer, we have done everything that we can preceding the bats returning.

"Next year there mightn't be as many or there could be twice as many, who knows, but we should have every possibility covered."

Councillors Noel Lowry, Robert Kahn and Matthew Gould agreed that some action needed to be taken.

Councillor Blair Briggs said the council's reports on the bats should be viewed by councillors so that councillors could provide locals with more advice.

He specifically mentioned the number of diseases that could be transmitted by bats.

"The other point is the environment," Cr Briggs said.

"Look at the creek from the bridge, on the odd occasion that it is open, and it is a scene of apocalyptic nature.

"The vegetation is stripped, it is just sad and I know they have to live and do their thing - but goodness me they know how to clean an area out.

"At the end of the day it would be good if the whole colony would head east a few kilometres because there is ample foliage to the east and no nearby homes.

"But its hard to rationalise with a bat."

Councillors unanimously supported the notice of motion.

Last year Karl Klein, a local who lives in close proximity to the growing camp of flying foxes, told the Advertiser residents didn't want to hurt the bats, they just wanted them moved.

"The outside of our houses are covered in bat poop - some people's cars are being damaged as well," he said.

"But what we have here is nothing compared to what the people on Picton Avenue are dealing with.

"Nobody wants to harm the bats, they are a protected species as well, all we want is to have them moved."