Survey to gauge the impact of Iluka bats

By SALLY GORDON

A NEW survey asking Iluka residents how a massive colony of bats living in the area affects their lifestyles will be circulated by the week's end.

Members of the Ratepayers Association of Iluka (RAI) will distribute the latest questionnaire, the second in five months on the bat issue.

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell said the latest survey would indicate the community's reasons for 'exceptional circumstances', needed to justify the removal of the bats.

According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service the Iluka bats are a threatened species and a 'disturbance licence' will not be granted lightly.

RAI secretary Pat Shepherd said the new survey was the fourth step in a 12-stage licence application process.

"The survey will ask how the bats are affecting people ... does it affect your health, the smells, noise levels, sleep deprivation that sort of thing," Ms Shepherd said. "A few people have doctor's certificates to add to it as well.

"We're hoping people will bother to answer it and we get a good response."

Ms Shepherd said residents who lived closest to the bat colony, particularly at the end of Spenser Street, were kept awake all night by the noise of the bats.

"One lady was in such a state she would wake up crying in the middle of the night because of the constant noise," she said.

The colony, containing thousands of flying foxes, set up camp in riverbank mangroves at Iluka more than three years ago.



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