A FORMAL plan of action for dealing with flying foxes should they return to Machattie Park in the summer has been devised.
At Bathurst Regional Council’s September ordinary meeting, councillors resolved to implement ‘level one’ actions and an increased cleaning routine.
Deterrent and dispersal actions won’t be undertaken.
In a report to council’s next meeting, on Wednesday night, director of Engineering Services Darren Sturgiss outlined the level one actions that will be applied in the park.
Cleaning will involve additional raking of debris, leaves and excrement once a week by a property maintenance contractor, and the cleaning of park bench seats once a week, to be carried out by a cleaning contractor.
“The above activities are proposed in addition to the existing maintenance activities that will be carried out by council’s Machattie Park staff,” Mr Sturgiss said.
“The extent of additional cleaning and raking works is considered to be more than sufficient and is based upon the successful operations carried out during the 2017-18 season.
“However, cleaning and maintenance activities will be monitored and adjusted throughout the season if deemed necessary to ensure that cleaning requirements are being effective.”
As part of the level one actions, there will be further community education on the animals.
The key messages council hopes to spread are that grey-headed flying foxes are listed as a threatened species and are declining in numbers due mainly to habitat loss, that they play an important ecological role and that catching a disease from a flying fox is extremely unlikely.
Disease can only occur if a person is bitten or scratched by the animal.
“Educational park signs have been designed and printed and will be installed within Machattie Park, should the flying foxes return this season,” Mr Sturgiss said.
Council is also running flying fox habitat planting and educational sessions with local school students, and habitat restoration activities will continue along the Macquarie River.