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Councillor tries new measure to have resort gate opened for 'roos

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A Sunshine Coast councillor has launched a petition for the Palmer Coolum Resort to open a gate to reduce kangaroo deaths on local roads.

Division 8 councillor Taylor Bunnag has turned to people power to pressure the resort to open the gate after three kangaroos, including a female carrying a joey, were recently killed on David Low Way near the resort at Yaroomba.

If opened, the gate would allow safe passage for wildlife between the east and west sides of David Low Way through an underpass that once connected both sides of the resort golf course.

Yaroomba residents have noticed kangaroos grazing in their yards and on footpaths since the Dennis Family Corporation started work on a beachside residential community on the eastern side of David Low Way.

Cr Bunnag said the gate was closed a few years ago and requests by the council to open it had been greeted with different responses.

“When it first closed in 2021, management decided they had concerns about people wandering into the resort while it was under refurbishment,” he said.

The David Low Way underpass at the Palmer Coolum Resort.

“The refurbishment has been going on a very, very long time and I don’t think there’s any work going on there that would put people at risk.”

Mr Bunnag said resort management had since declined to open the gate on the basis that it would present a security issue.

“The way I look at it is there’s a lot of other ways to access the Hyatt other than through the underpass,” he said.

Sunshine Coast News has attempted to contact the Palmer Coolum Resort and its owner Clive Palmer through a media consultant but no response has been received.

Warning: Graphic photo below

Cr Bunnag said there was believed to be about 12 to 20 kangaroos in the area, and the  theory was they could be encouraged towards the gate and underpass to safety.

He said the council was continuing to do what it could to have the gate opened but he hoped the petition would convince resort management.

“We’re looking at what other options we have to require the gate to be opened but in the meantime, I’m putting as much pressure as I can on the Coolum resort to open the gate,” he said.

A male kangaroo found dead at Yaroomba.

Wildlife ecologist Dr Elizabeth Brunton, a research fellow with the University of the Sunshine Coast, said kangaroos were creatures of habit, tending to stay within an area and moving around it using the same routes.

Dr Brunton said if an area was fenced off for development or a new road was put in, kangaroos would continue trying to take their old route, hopping along a fenceline or on to a road.

She said a number of kangaroos had been killed on the Sunshine Motorway during the changes at the Sunshine Coast Airport to accommodate a new runway, and Yaroomba was no different.

“There’s been many, many issues for many years,” she said.

“Now there’s not much set aside for them, and if it wasn’t for the Palmer golf course there’d be nothing left for them.”

Dr Brunton said unless there was planning for wildlife, the population of kangaroos and other species would continue to decline.

View the petition here.

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