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Tweed Shire News

Cane toad problem to be tackled again this season

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Cane toad problem to be tackled again this season

Find out how to take action to reduce numbers at free info session

Cane toad busting activities will be held from early November in key locations on the Tweed Coast.

For the third year running, Council is focusing on reducing cane toad populations on the Tweed Coast with a suite of educational events and community toad busting initiatives.

Council has once again joined forces with not-for-profit community environment group Watergum to run the Tweed Toad Busters program, aimed at stopping the advance of cane toads on the Tweed Coast before they have a chance to breed and multiply.

The citizen science program runs from now until April 2023 and will target cane toads at every life stage, from tadpole trapping through to toad busting.

The first free event of the season will be held at the Kingscliff Community Hall on Wednesday 9 November from 6:30 pm to 8 pm (NSW time). This highly engaging event will teach the community about cane toads, their impacts, and effective techniques to reduce their numbers.

A special focus will be on the use of Watergum’s cane toad tadpole traps and lures, which can catch up to 4,000 tadpoles at a time.

Council’s project officer – wildlife protection Emily Clarke said the aim this year was to build on the momentum gained during last season.

“We know that when we work together we achieve greater results and our efforts will help to reduce our impact on the natural environment in the Tweed,” Ms Clarke said.

“The events are designed to be fun and easy for people to get involved in, with week-long toad busting challenges that include prizes and more convenient drop-off points so residents don’t have to keep the toads in their freezers.

“We are also launching a new educational video which will help novice toad busters identify and humanely rid cane toads from their properties.”

Watergum’s cane toad program began on the Gold Coast in 2018 and was brought to the Tweed in 2020. Last season, the program successfully engaged 174 community members and resulted in the removal of around 2,223 cane toads from the environment.

Watergum’s invasive species manager Emily Vincent said research showed regular and thorough toad busting activities were the most successful way to control cane toads.

“Each female cane toad can lay up to 70,000 eggs per year, so removing adults from the environment before they can breed can have a big impact on their breeding capacity,” Ms Vincent said.

“Cane toads are now well established in 4 Australian states including Queensland, NSW, the Northern Territory and Western Australia so it’s important the community bands together to find and eradicate this invasive pest.”

To register to attend the free cane toad trapping and information session at Kingscliff on Wednesday 9 November, and to watch the new educational video on this program, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/cane-toads.

For more information, email canetoads@watergum.org or visit watergum.org/canetoads/.

Cane toad tadpoles can be targeted with Watergum’s cane toad tadpole traps and lures which can catch up to 4,000 tadpoles at one time.

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Rising Tide Climate Defenders Demand Action at Labor Member’s Office

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Rising Tide Climate Defenders in front of Justine Elliot's office

Rising Tide Climate Defenders Demand Action at Labor Member’s Office

 

Over 40 Rising Tide Climate Defenders swarmed the office of the Labor Member for Richmond today, demanding an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects. The demonstrators kayaked from John Follent Park in Tweed Heads to Faux Park in South Tweed, then walked nearly 1 kilometre with their kayaks to reach the office.

Background on Rising Tide’s Actions

In November 2023, Rising Tide organized ‘The People’s Blockade of the World’s Largest Coal Port in Newcastle,’ which saw over 3,000 participants engage in a 32-hour blockade, including 20 individuals from the Northern Rivers. After the protest deadline expired, over 100 people were arrested for continuing the blockade.

Goals of the Current Action

Today’s demonstration is the first in a national tour by Rising Tide, aimed at building momentum for the upcoming November 2024 People’s Blockade. The climate defenders left a letter under the door of the Labor Member for Richmond’s office, calling for the following actions:

  1. Immediate cancellation of all new fossil fuel projects
  2. Taxing fossil fuel export profits at 75% to fund community and industrial transition, and to pay for climate loss and damage
  3. Ending all coal exports from Newcastle – the world’s largest coal port – by 2030

Statements from Rising Tide Members

Monique from Murwillumbah, Rising Tide Northern Rivers: “We are taking action today in Tweed Heads to draw attention to our local member’s inaction on climate change. We call on our Australian government to take action on our demands, and until they do, Rising Tide will continue to build a mass movement to take on the fossil fuel industry if our government won’t.”

MJ from Bilambil, Rising Tide Northern Rivers: “Although the Labor Member for Richmond locked the doors on their community again, the Rising Tide climate defenders left a letter under the door calling on the Member to support our demands.”

Call to Action

Rising Tide Northern Rivers is holding ongoing training, education, and workshops and is calling on the Northern Rivers community to join the movement.

For more information on how to get involved, visit Rising Tide’s website or follow their social media channels.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Contract Awarded for New Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre

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Council’s Team Leader - Rangers Kristian Pakula (right) and Ranger Alan Swift check concept plans on the site of the new Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre at South Murwillumbah.

Contract Awarded for New Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre

 

By Rob Heyward

The Tweed’s new Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre is set to move forward following the Council’s approval of a contract to design and construct the state-of-the-art facility.

In a unanimous decision at their recent meeting, the Council awarded the design and construction contract to Alder Construction Pty Ltd after a rigorous tender process that saw submissions from six companies. The $6.8 million contract encompasses the design and construction of the main animal rehoming building and car park on Council-owned land at 92 – 102 Lundberg Drive, South Murwillumbah.

Construction will commence once the capping earthworks, currently rehabilitating the former tip site, are completed. The total project is expected to cost $9.1 million, funded by Tweed Shire Council with support from the Australian and NSW governments.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry expressed excitement over the contract award.

“We are thrilled to see progress on this much-anticipated facility for Tweed residents, and pleased to appoint a local builder for the project,” said Cr Cherry.

“The new centre will serve as a comprehensive hub for impounding, sheltering, and rehoming animals, providing veterinary care, impounding vehicles, and housing a new office for our Rangers and administrative centre for Friends of the Pound, our not-for-profit animal rehoming partners.”

Artist impression of the new Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre.

Artist impression of the new Animal Pound and Rehoming Centre.

Designed to meet the latest standards in animal care, the facility will offer enhanced services, including an outdoor exercise yard. Construction is expected to begin by mid-to-late 2024, with completion anticipated by late 2025, weather permitting.

The new centre will replace the former pound at Stotts Creek, which closed in 2019 due to flood risks and the need for space in the expansion of the Council’s Resource and Recovery Centre. Currently, impounded animals are cared for by a private operator, with rehoming services supported by Friends of the Pound.

The new centre will operate seven days a week and accommodate up to 80 companion animals—40 dogs and 40 cats—needing new homes. It also includes a designated area for animal enrichment, an essential aspect of the design.

Funding for Stage 1 of the project includes contributions from:

  • Australian Government LRCI Phase 3 – COVID-19 Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program Guidelines – $1,761,562
  • Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot’s election commitment – $1 million
  • NSW Office of Local Government – Local Government Grants (Floods) – Highly Impacted Councils – Companion Animals Support – $375,000
  • Tweed Shire Council – $6 million

For more information on the pound, visit Tweed Shire Council’s website.

 

For more Murwillumbah News, click here.

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Flood damaged information centre to be demolished ahead of Budd Park upgrade

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World Heritage Rainforest Centre at Budd Park Upgrade

Flood damaged information centre to be demolished ahead of Budd Park upgrade

 

The Council is seeking community feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade Budd Park in Murwillumbah, a popular meeting spot beside the Tweed River. This upgrade is part of a $15.5 million funding package from the Australian and NSW governments aimed at restoring and improving community assets damaged by storms or floods.

The proposal includes plans to demolish the World Heritage Rainforest Centre, which once housed the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre. The Centre was heavily damaged in the 2017 and 2022 floods.

Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry, explained that the Council decided to remove the flood-prone building to prioritize public safety and reduce future risks associated with its vulnerable location. “Budd Park is a significant meeting place for Tweed residents, with generations of families enjoying picnics on the lawns and the river serving as a picturesque backdrop for Year 12 formal photos,” said Mayor Cherry.

“The demolition of the building will allow for the revitalisation of the park. The space previously occupied by the building and internal car park will be converted into parkland, enhancing access to quality public open space for residents and visitors. This transformation will create a vibrant community hub, promoting outdoor activities and social interaction, and significantly improving the area’s aesthetic and recreational value.”

An artist impression of the Concept Plan for the upgrade of Budd Park.

An artist impression of the Concept Plan for the upgrade of Budd Park.

Proposed works include:

  • Demolishing the World Heritage Rainforest Centre and internal road
  • Repairing existing public toilets
  • Retaining the western car park with an additional accessible parking bay
  • Reducing the size of the eastern car park by five spaces, resealing the car park, and enabling entry and exit onto Tweed Valley Way
  • Installing accessible shelters, barbecues, picnic tables, seating, and rubbish bins
  • Creating connecting pathways and bike racks
  • Installing a drinking fountain
  • Adding informative flood markers and painting the existing feature pole
  • Landscaping and tree planting

Mayor Cherry emphasised that the decision to demolish the Centre arose from the need to address public safety and reduce flood risks. “Frequent flooding has caused extensive damage to the building, making it uninhabitable without significant repairs. Additionally, its flood-prone location makes the building uninsurable, imposing a financial burden on the Council and diverting funds from other essential community projects and services.”

“The proposed upgrade offers an opportunity to deliver modern, resilient infrastructure capable of withstanding future weather events,” she added.

The Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre has been relocated to Murwillumbah Railway Station, at the trailhead of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. The Green Cauldron Panorama mural, previously located within the Centre, has been stored for safekeeping.

The World Heritage Rainforest Centre is scheduled for demolition in late 2024, with construction beginning in early 2025.

The Council invites residents to provide their feedback on the draft concept plan for the Budd Park upgrade before 4 pm on July 10, 2024. View the concept plan and share your input here.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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