Pottsville turf thief strikes again

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The koala zone at Coronation Drive, Pottsville

Tweed Shire Council is appealing for the public’s assistance to catch the Pottsville turf thief.

Over the past month, the thief has stolen up to 10 cubic metres of turf from the Coronation Drive worksite in Pottsville on three occasions. Work has been completed on the Tweed Shire’s second Koala Zone but council cannot finish the job, as a thief continues to steal turf from the roadside verges.

The koala crossing at Coronation Avenue Pottsville is the second in the Tweed shire branded with the distinctive green and yellow markings. The crossing has been applied to the new surface of a 300m stretch of road that passes through a low-lying area in Pottsville, separating two known koala habitats along a narrow vegetation corridor. The decision to install the koala zone coincided with the scheduled upgrade of that section of road.

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Council installed its first koala zone on Clothiers Creek Road, Clothiers Creek, in November 2014 and has since collected evidence that motorists are slowing down. The effectiveness of the zone has been measured via traffic counters recording the speed of motorists. Since installing the branded koala zone, there has been a positive trend of proportionally fewer motorists travelling at speeds above the posted limit – 60 per cent in January 2016 as opposed to 75 per cent before the zone was created.

The Koala Zone branding was paid for via a one-off offset contribution of $50,000 for the removal of trees in Pottsville by a private developer.

The road upgrade included construction of a slow point median to force traffic to reduce speed at the critical koala crossing point. The speed limit on the section currently is set at 50km/hr.

Two solar street lights are yet to be installed to assist motorists to see any koalas that may be on or approaching the road.

If anyone has seen people acting suspiciously or a vehicle stopped at the worksite at night, report the make and model of that vehicle and numberplate to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Council on (02) 6670 2400 or after hours on 1800 818 326.