POLL: Glide path at risk, say protesters

BETWEEN 30 and 40 people set up camp along Gerroa Road on Monday morning to protest against the removal of a number of trees by Shoalhaven City Council they say provide valuable habitat for the endangered greater glider.

Council has received black spot funding to widen Gerroa Road at the intersection with Beach Road and plans to remove a number of trees, including the Bum Tree along the edge of the roadway.

Members of the Gerroa Environmental Protection Society unfurled two glider possum banners near where the clearing is planned.

The group said the clearing of the trees for road safety, including a number of large blackbutt trees, some said to be 400 years old, will have serious ramifications for the greater glider colony in the area.

GEPS members said there were alternatives to removing the trees to improve safety, including lowering the speed limit, but council had failed to listen to community concerns.

On Monday morning contractors were clearing the edges of the western side of Gerroa road near Shoalhaven Heads.

GEPS spokesperson Jessie Holder said the group intended to protest until council listened.

“They’re not paying attention to anyone,” she said.

“The amount of people here shows how passionate everyone is – we have been here all weekend, the support of the community and the amount of beeps we are getting from passing motorists in support has been amazing.”

She said council plans to remove 147 trees from the middle of the national park were unjustified.

“The removal of trees will not improve safety, revising the speed limit is the issue,” she said.

“I live in Gerroa, this is in our backyard – it is a beautiful national park. It is where we live and why we love living here.”

She said the greater glider community was declining in numbers up and down the coast and especially in the area where clearing was planned.

“We’ve got a little bit of habitat still left and we hope to keep it that way,” she said.

“It is a corridor they can swing between and if you cut that off how will they get from one side of road to the other?”

GEPS president Warren Holder said protesters had no plans to disrupt the work.

“We are here with our signs to get public

support and to watch and observe the work,” he said.

“And maybe even help them identify if there is an animal in there.

“We plan to have someone here during daylight hours observing what is going on.

“We’re passionate about the whole area but our focus is on this site.”

He said he believed the state government could have the power to intervene and stop the work from going ahead.

Despite steady rainfall on Monday morning the protesters stayed on site, holding banners enlisting support for their cause from passing motorists to try to stop the clearing.

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