Murray Bridge council watch: April 2022
A plan to establish a “sacrificial site” for corellas splits councillors, plus staff provide an update on Hume Reserve.
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Controversial corella plan delayed after councillors split
Murray Bridge’s corella problems will continue for now, as a controversial solution has divided the city’s councillors.
Councillors were due to vote last week on a plan to use recorded bird sounds and favourable conditions to lure the native pests to the Swanport Wetland, “sacrificing” it for part of each year for the good of more populated areas.
The birds would still have somewhere to roost, but Sturt Reserve’s trees and lawn tennis courts wouldn’t sustain so much damage, and visitors wouldn’t be driven away by the noise.
The plan would also avoid the need for continued culling, which was not likely to work in the long term.
At their April meeting, councillors heard that 43 members of the public had offered feedback during a recent consultation period, including 15 who were in favour and 18 who were opposed.
That was not a strong enough level of support for Cr John DeMichele’s liking – “I can’t vote for the Swanport Wetland if the public is not in favour”.
Cr Clem Schubert argued that anything other than a cull would be a waste of time – “you’re not going to get the parrots to listen to you”.
But two councillors, Karen Eckermann and Tyson Matthews, suggested anyone still calling for a cull hadn’t paid attention to the research.
“We’re living in 2022 – we don’t just wander around with guns and shoot things to fix problems,” Cr Matthews said.
“I know there’s a tendency within some parts of the community to think science is some sort of enemy, but we have an obligation to preserve all life if it means taking a considered, scientific approach, which is exactly what we’ve done with this program.
“I’d be deeply, deeply disappointed if we weren’t at least going to try this.”
Cr Fred Toogood agreed that something had to be done before Sturt Reserve’s most magnificent trees suffered irreversible damage from having their leaves chewed off every summer.
Councillors will return to the issue after a briefing from staff and corella experts.
Hume Reserve is still in a holding pattern
What’s happening with Murray Bridge’s Hume Reserve?
Not much at the moment, council executive Heather Barclay says, but engineers will visit the underused riverfront area over the next two months.
They’ll be looking at whether it would be safe to build a boat ramp, car park or walking trails there, and perhaps stabilise the riverbank like at Sturt Reserve or Avoca Dell Reserve.
A concept plan developed in 2017 called for the Ngarrindjeri people, traditional owners of the reserve, to take the lead on developing it.
Cr Clem Schubert asked for an update at the council’s April meeting, having agitated for years for the council to start work there.
Quote of the month
“That was the same day the bunyip said she was going to run for mayor.” –Mayor Brenton Lewis, looking back at his diary for April 1