Flying Foxes Invade Gilgandra Swimming Pool
Published on 09 November 2020
A population of flying foxes have returned to the Gilgandra Swimming Pool, taking up residency in the popular location amongst trees within the pool grounds. This has forced Council to take action to restrict access by patrons by way off cordoning off this area.
General Manager David Neeves says that the numbers are larger than seen in the past.
“Whilst the bats were known to frequent the pool grounds last year, this year they have returned in much higher numbers. We were hopeful that their occupation last year would be temporary whilst the drought was occurring but this year they have returned.”
Mr Neeves adds that Council is committed to the safety of our community as the process is managed.
“Whilst I appreciate the bats are a bit of a novelty at first, they do come with mess as a result from droppings staining the concrete and fouling grassed areas under their roost. Further, they can present some risks to public health and we have reviewed advice from NSW Health. Whilst human infections with these viruses are very rare however it is a risk Council still needs to manage and it is very important that these flying foxes are not handled” says Mr Neeves.
Council is working with officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage and will soon commence work on implementing a management plan. In the interim, Council has placed a temporary fence around the affected area excluding patrons from this area.
“We understand this is not an ideal solution as the plane tree is a popular location for patrons to seek shade in the pool grounds, however is a temporary measure while we work towards a solution” says Mr Neeves.
Mr Neeves says that this process towards a solution is it’s not as straight forward as many may think.
“Adherence to the Flying-Fox Camp Management Code of Practice will be important. It does make provisions for camp disturbance and dispersal which Council is keen to see implemented.”
“We understand bats have their place in the environment and they are a protective native species. There are beautiful trees on the banks of the Castlereagh River where the bats could happily reside that is more suitable than the pool ground, or even Hunter Park.”
As this process continues, residents will be asked to provide input into this management plan and you are invited to submit questions through Council’s Have Your Say page on their website www.gilgandra.nsw.gov.au in the meantime.
Pool patrons are reminded to follow the appropriate instructions and to abide by the changed conditions within the pool ground. The foxes provide no immediate risk to swimmers using the pool. Swimming pools affected by bat faeces can be appropriately managed by maintaining effective pool disinfection which is occurring at the Gilgandra pool.
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