For the last 3 or 4 years koalas have been regularly sighted in Lawrence. Prior to that, in our 23 years living here, my partner and I had never heard of or seen a single one. Now, on our evening walk, we see one or more koalas almost every day. Clarence Valley Council now has a koala register, so I log our sightings there and have been doing so for for the last couple of months. Council also recently erected 3 signs on the approaches to and within Lawrence alerting people to the koalas’ presence.
Many koala sightings by Lawrence residents both registered and otherwise have been along and near the full length of Havelock Street, with two particular hotspots at the intersection of it with other streets. Last evening, we were shocked and saddened to see a stand of about 8 tall eucalypts, frequented by the koalas, desecrated with yellow spray-painted crosses. Further west towards the school, many more trees including koala habitat trees are marked with yellow crosses. New power poles have been lying around the vicinity, clearly ready to go up. We have been advised by Essential Energy of a planned power outage on March 22nd. Yesterday morning an Essential Energy van was cruising the area. It seems pretty obvious where all this is heading.
Various trees in and near Havelock Street have come to form a koala corridor in recent years. Already, trees known to be inhabited by koalas in this corridor have been cut down – one on a road reserve, others on private property. It is deeply disturbing to think that despite the recorded presence of these iconic, threatened animals, there seems to be no attempt by Essential Energy to come up with a solution that will work with and not against the koalas. Do they even know about the recorded sightings, or the existence of the register?
I have left a request, with a case number, that Essential Energy let me know exactly which trees they are planning to cut down in Havelock Street and adjacent areas, and when they are planning to do it. I would urge anyone who cares about this to contact them on 132391 and make a formal request for information. In the meantime, I await their response and hope it will come well before any proposed habitat destruction. Even if the trees marked were not koala habitat, the loss of the many marked trees would have a huge negative impact on the visual amenity and shade in the area, and on all the native bird and other species that use them.
Footnote – the same little koala often seen there was high up in one of the stand of marked trees yesterday evening, extremely difficult to spot. Would Essential Energy workers even know she was there when they came to cut her trees down?
Linda Wright, Lawrence