Footer

Back to Top

Bat out of hell: nightmare worse than ever for Mac Fields residents

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I’ll be gone, gone, gone

It is doubtful the residents of Macquarie Fields who are neighbours with a bat colony of almost 18,000 members would list the Meat Loaf song Bat Out of Hell as one of their favourites.

But at the same time, playing the song as background music would not have been out of place when Campbelltown Council debated what to do about this smelly, stinking, noisy bat colony at Bingara Reserve, Macquarie Fields – not there’s any other kind.

James Bucknall, whose plea on behalf of the residents was read out – the meeting was taking place digitally – has no doubt what should be done about this nightmare.

Mr Bucknall said visitors did not stay long and residents knew why – there was a fetid stink in the air, courtesy of the bats.

“The noise from the bats is shocking, it’s all day, every day, seven days a week,’’ he said.

“You have to live here to understand what it’s like.

“Imagine 17,000 bats flying and squawking past your place.’’

Mr Bucknall said the residents did not want the bats harmed.

“We want council to do something to make our lives better, things like clear the overgrown vegetation in Redfern Creek to get rid of the rats, mice and snakes.

“Humans come first, but it seems bats have more rights than us residents.’’

He’s got that right: because the bats, or to give them their full name, grey headed flying fox, are a protected species; very, very protected.

Apparently they are endangered and there’s more legislation, state and federal, in their favour than you can poke a stick at.

But that’s not how the young Greens councillor, Ben Moroney saw it when speaking after Mr Bucknall’s statement had been read out to the meeting.

“That submission was incredible,’’ Cr Moroney said.

“I’m sorry, but these are a threatened species, and part of the incredible fragile beauty of Australia.

“If you choose to live near a reserve you should know that it is continuous with nature, and nature is messy, dirty, and not always beautifully manicured,’’ Cr Moroney said.

“That’s the choice you make, and it is the duty of this council to protect these creatures.’’

The residents got a little more sympathy from Cr Karen Hunt, however, who pointed the finger of blame towards Macquarie Street and the state government.

“Mr Bucknall is right, but the council plan of management has been with the state government since around 2016,’’ Cr Hunt said.

“The state government is playing with council, and the residents because it does not make funding available to help residents clean up their cars and gardens and washing lines after the bats have been through.’’

Veteran councillor Paul Lake wasn’t mincing his words when he got to have his say.

“If they offered me a property where the bat colony is for $2000 I wouldn’t buy it,’’ he said.

“You’ve got 17,500 bats, you’ve got disease and other issues, we have to move those bats, it’s a major problem and council has to step up for these residents and ratepayers.’’

Unfortunately for these people in Macquarie Fields, dispersing the bats is not considered to be a viable option, nor a long term strategy.

So council instead adopted a five year “grey headed flying fox camp management plan’’ for Macquarie Fields and a second bat colony in Campbelltown.

The Campbelltown bat camp is located along Bow Bowing Creek, between Blaxland Road, Narellan Road and the train line, Campbelltown where there are few residents affected.

The “plan’’ calls for education and awareness programs, property modification, routine camp management, protocols to manage heat stress, research and appropriate land-use planning.

James Bucknall, in his statement on behalf of the residents, said the plan was “an insult to our intelligence’’.

“It’s too long at five years and should have been done in 2010 when the colony was small and the cost much lower,’’ he said.

In 2015, when the council first debated the issue, it was suggested that there were between 5,000 and 6,000 bats at Bingara Reserve, Macquarie Fields.

But it seems both Macquarie Fields and Campbelltown bat camps are breeding types.

Which means the nightmare – worse than ever – continues for these poor people who live next to Bingara Reserve, Macquarie Fields.

But let’s give Meat Loaf the last word:

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shining through
Then like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
I’ll come crawling on back to you

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

We Support