3 October, 2023
Wildlife signs to raise awareness
SIGNS will be installed and warnings marked on Curtain Fig Tree Road in a bid to reduce the risk to wildlife in the area.
Tablelands Regional Council was asked to take the action by the Natural Asset Management Advisory Committee at its August meeting.
The speed limit on Curtain Fig Tree Road has been reduced from 80km/h to 70km/h for the section of road that crosses the Curtain Fig National Park, but committee members believed that the reduction, while a positive step, did not fully address the risk of accidents for wildlife and motorists alike.
Some of the most important species to protect are locally endemic species such as Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, Green Ringtail Possum and the Striped Possum.
Curtain Fig Tree National Park is also home to several endangered and vulnerable bat species, critically endangered frog species, threatened skinks and a number of vulnerable and endangered birds.
“In order to further reduce the risk to public and wildlife, it is recommended that council consider the installation of specific signage,” a report to council stated.
The estimated cost of purchase and installation is $8,000 for a set of four wildlife advisory signs – two free standing and two road markings – with the estimated life of the signage being five years.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Cardew was a lone voice in objecting to the full initiative, saying he would support free standing signs but would not support the road markings.
“I don’t have a real problem with the signs on a post – sign writing on the road would cost a considerable amount of money – we start doing this thing, where are we going to stop?” he said.
Cr Dave Bilney supported the move, saying a broader communication campaign was needed.
“What has happened over the past 18 months to two years is there was a request to reduce the speed limit ... it was reduced but members are concerned it didn’t go far enough – they were advocating for 60km/h,” he said.
“This is another way of communicating to people going through that area that there are endemic species through there – it is a tourist hot spot.
“It’s more of an awareness campaign, and I would like to see more of this in areas throughout the Tablelands not unlike they have in Mission Beach for the cassowaries – I think it’s a good initiative and the big picture is we need to protect what we’ve got.”
Most of the cost of installing the signs on posts and on the roadway was the “Stop and Go” costs for traffic management.
The Natural Asset Management Advisory Committee also wants councillors to attend its meetings.
“Discussions at meetings indicated a strong interest in improving the communication with councillors in order to advance matters relating to our unique environment,” a report to council stated.
“While a number of specific items have been identified in the past, over the last 10 months, many of these matters have been resolved, with the current interest being of a broader nature.”