Coun­cil­lor of­fers own money

Self­less bid to fund res­cue of tur­tles ends with unan­i­mous yes vote

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Dominic El­some dominic.el­[email protected]­ton­star.com.au

A COUN­CIL­LOR has of­fered to per­son­ally do­nate her money to help save nearly 200 tur­tles in Lake Apex.

Divi­sions within Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil were ex­posed dur­ing last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, with coun­cil­lors de­bat­ing a mo­tion to re­lo­cate wildlife from the rapidly dry­ing lake.

How­ever the $4958 cost of the re­lo­ca­tion drew con­cerns from sev­eral coun­cil­lors.

Coun­cil­lor Jan­ice Hol­stein was ex­tremely crit­i­cal of the pro­posal, de­spite later voting in favour of it, and said the money could be bet­ter spent.

“I re­ally strug­gle with putting any funds to­wards look­ing af­ter a few tur­tles when our farm­ing com­mu­nity, many of them are strug­gling at the mo­ment,” Cr Hol­stein said.

She was at odds with coun­cil­lor Kathy Mclean who went as far as to of­fer to do­nate funds to­wards the cost of project.

“I couldn’t live with my­self to see those tur­tles die there,” Cr Mclean said.

Coun­cil­lor Chris Wil­son agreed the coun­cil needed to re­main mind­ful of the strug­gle of pro­duc­ers in the drought, but said the two is­sues were sep­a­rate.

“I think we’re kid­ding our­selves if we com­pare the cur­rent drought and the sit­u­a­tion our farm­ers are in, with a $5000 spend at Lake Apex for the tur­tles,” Cr Wil­son said.

“What’s $5000 go­ing to do for across our farm­ing com­mu­ni­cates – ab­so­lutely noth­ing. It’s a drop in the ocean.”

The dev­as­tat­ing drought has slowly been drain­ing the lake, with re­main­ing wa­ter now con­strained to two small ponds, one of which is just 10cm deep.

A Fauna Res­cue Plan was drawn up to pre­vent a re­peat of the 2003 mass tur­tle move­ment, which re­sulted in hun­dreds of tur­tles killed on the road over a 48-hour pe­riod. There are an es­ti­mated 180 tur­tles re­main­ing in the ponds.

The mo­tion was even­tu­ally car­ried unan­i­mously by coun­cil­lors, in­clud­ing Cr Hol­stein – how­ever she la­belled them “very ex­pen­sive tur­tles”.

❝ I couldn’t live with my­self to see those tur­tles die there.

— Kathy Mclean

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