Bat poo in water making us sick, say residents

CONTAMINATING THE WATER: Ron Kinghorn, right, is concerned about a bat colony, above, in Maaroom.
CONTAMINATING THE WATER: Ron Kinghorn, right, is concerned about a bat colony, above, in Maaroom. Hayden Johnson

MAAROOM residents say Fraser Coast Council has left them alone to deal with a flying fox colony that is increasing in size and is now causing health issues within the community.

Maaroom Progress and Ratepayers' Association president Ron Kinghorn said while residents have put up with the colony for the past two years, it has increased to such an extent that the noise and stench has become intolerable.

"However, the most frightening aspect of such a large colony adjacent to our town is the quantity of their faeces dropped on our roofs twice a day," Mr Kinghorn said.

"Considering we rely on tank water, this is a major concern to us all.

"As some of our residents near the colony have already become ill, we have asked for support from council.

"However the answer received was 'nothing will be done by council'."

Mayor Gerard O'Connell has confirmed while local councils have been granted extra powers to deal with issues of flying fox colonies in urban areas, no action will be taken in Maaroom.

"Council appreciates that residents living in proximity to flying fox roosts are impacted by the noise and odour of the animals," Cr O'Connell said.

"Although council does have an as-of-right to disturb flying fox roosts, it is aware that such disturbance activities are expensive, labour intensive and are not guaranteed to provide a solution to the problem."

"For that reason, Council has determined that it will not undertake disturbance of flying fox roosts at this time."

Cr O'Connell further dismissed the claims, saying that according to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection the Maaroom colony has decreased in size by one third.

"Council's environmental health officers have visited Maaroom residents to give advice on how to manage their water tanks," he said.

"Advice from Queensland Health is that the risk of contracting lyssavirus is extremely unlikely unless bitten or scratched by an infected animal."

However Mr Kinghorn has labelled the council's lack of action as unacceptable.

"We feel the health and wellbeing of our residents should be a high priority."

"We have not requested the destruction of these endangered creatures, just a relocation of the colony to an area where they could live in harmony with the environment but sufficiently distant from a community dependent on tank water."

Topics:  maaroom poo

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