Outdated Black Rocks IKPoM
The area covered by the Black Rocks IKPoM (download here ) is within the Black Rocks Koala Activity Precinct, as defined in the Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management (KPoM) (see below). The Black Rocks IKPoM is 11 years old and does not reflect current koala usage and quality of habitat. It is based on an estimated one koala using the area. On 8/11/2013 three koalas were sighted concurrently and on 9/11/2014 and 11/1/2015 four individual koalas were sighted concurrently adjacent to the Black Rocks sports field and access road. Since 2004 there has been significant natural revegetation and growth of primary koala habitat trees in this area.
The Black Rocks IKPoM should be reviewed and updated to bring it into line with the recent council-endorsed Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management (KPoM), but there is no mandatory requirement or timeline for review and update of IKPoMs under the Tweed Coast KPoM.
Non-enforcement of recommendations of Black Rocks IKPOM
The Black Rocks IKPoM has not been fully implemented and enforced as follows:-
There has been no apparent monitoring or compliance enforcement to ensure that there are no koala food trees in the adjacent residential estate (Black Rocks IKPoM 4.1.1 Exclusion Fencing, page 13). (There is at least 1 gum tree growing in the estate.)
There has been no enforcement of the 'no cat and limited dog rule', with prohibited breeds and sizes of dogs along with cats residing in the estate (Black Rocks IKPoM 4.1.7 Dogs, p14-15).
Monitoring and reporting has not been carried out at appropriate times every 12 months for 3 years by James Warren & Associates to assess the breeding status of koalas (Black Rocks IKPoM 4.1.8 Research and Monitoring, p.15).
Two 'Wildlife Crossing' signs were erected along the access road instead of 'Koala Crossing' signs (Black Rocks IKPoM 4.1.4 Traffic and Signage, p.13). In July 2015 these signs were replaced with 'Wildlife Area' signs, which do not warn motorists that koalas cross the access road.
Non-compliance with NPWS and Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (1999) Further Guidelines on Preparing a Koala Plan of Management
The Black Rocks IKPoM does not comply with Clause (vi): ‘Koala protection or management should not be limited to forested areas but should extend over areas of fragmented habitat which support a koala population and identified links between koala habitat.’
Deficient development proposal assessment criteria
According to Tweed Coast KPoM 5.5, (p.29): ‘development proposals affected by an IKPoM approved under SEPP 44 .... must be prepared and implemented in accordance with the relevant IKPoM.’ The Black Rocks IKPoM has no criteria for how development proposals are to be prepared and implemented. Consequently no adequate koala habitat assessment has been carried out for the Men's Shed proposal, which should therefore be assessed according to all requirements in Section 5.8 of the Tweed Coast KPoM.
Requirement for enclaved development (Tweed Coast KPoM)
The Black Rocks IKPoM, 4.1.1 Exclusion Fencing, p.12 states: It is considered that the likelihood of koalas entering the 2(a) zone (residential estate) through the break in the koala fence is minimal due to the low levels of koala activity recorded, and the fact that there will be no koala food trees within the development area.’ However, there is now a significant level of koala activity and there has been no enforcement of koala food tree planting in the estate. According to Ecologist Sandy Pimm the gap ‘renders it (the koala/dog-proof fence) almost ineffective.’
According to the Tweed Coast KPoM, developments within Koala Activity Precincts should be either koala friendly or enclaved. As there are many prohibited dogs and cats residing in the Black Rocks by the Sea residential estate, the only option is enclaved, which means closing the gap in the continuous koala/dog-proof fence by retaining the koala protection gates and locking them day and night, except for the occasional sporting event (as at Barry Sheppard and other sports fields).