Residents living near the East Cessnock flying fox camp can now apply for grants to subsidise practical solutions for the impact the bats have had on their properties.
Priority will be given to residents within a 400-metre radius of the camp on the corner of Long Street and Old Maitland Road, to help them buy car covers, pool covers, clotheslines covers and high pressure hoses.
The bats have come and gone in droves over the past seven years – peaking at an estimated 47,000 bats in May 2016.
A few thousand grey-headed flying foxes returned to the site during mating season in March and April this year.
While very few bats remain at the site this week, the noise, smell and potential health risks posed by the species continues to be a concern for Cessnock City Council and local residents.
Council secured a $50,000 grant from Local Government NSW in February after the preparation and adoption of the East Cessnock Flying-Fox Camp Management Plan in September last year.
Council will match this funding with $50,000 of in-kind staff support, making this a $100,000 project.
The funding will also assist in a new education program to improve community awareness about grey-headed flying-foxes, which do play an important role in the ecology of the region.
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent welcomed the funding and said it’s great to be able to offer assistance to residents who have been impacted by the flying foxes.
“This is about giving residents practical solutions,” Cr Pynsent said.
“Council is committed to the management of flying foxes across the region and will continue to implement the East Cessnock Flying Fox Camp Management Plan.”
Grant applications must be submitted by June 20, 2018. Visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/exhibition/ECFFCsubsidy to find out more.
FLASHBACK: Take a look back at the Hunter’s bat plague of 2016 in the photo gallery below.