On display: A Hamadryas Baboon (like the one pictured) is planned to be featured at the proposed Macarthur Wildlife Park and Zoo. Picture: Picture: Justin McManusLions and tigers and bears, not quite.
But an application for a zoo and wildlife park at Minto Heights that would housecrocodiles, a boa-constrictorand a baboon has not impressed many residentsof the small, rural suburb.
The development application submitted by Get Wild Pty Ltd includes theestablishment of a dingo yard; eight aviaries;wallaby and emu yard; camel enclosure and an ostrich enclosure on the property at Hansens Road.
A list of animals to be housed at the facility listed on the application included: salt and fresh water crocodiles;American alligators;lace monitors; boobook owls; rhino iguanas; red-tail boa constrictors; two breeds of capuchin monkeys; meerkats; Arabian camels andhamadryas baboons.
Two full-time staff would be employed to run the Macarthur Wildlife Park and Zoowhich would operate seven days a week from9am to5pm weekdays and 10am to4pm on Saturday and Sunday.
It is estimated that about 30 visitors per day would visit the site.
The application has been opposed by a large number of nearby residents who saidthe increase in traffic, effect on the local environment and commercial aspect of the development, were “not in keeping with the character of the suburb”.
One of those residents, Henry Wawrzyniak, said there were numerous other concerns including: risk of increased dumping due to more traffic; danger to the local koala colony; and “overall aesthetics of the site”.
“Other things that haveupset some locals is that since purchasing the property the new owners have installed portable buildings, brought all sorts of animals to the site, built or brought in a number of animal enclosures and aviaries, built a 2.4 metre high chain wire fence on the property and made numerous plantings on the nature strip,” he said.
Roaming: Camels currently housed at the Minto Heights property. Picture: Chris Lane
However,Get Wild owner/manager Daniel Brighton said all the animals on site were “allowed to be kept by anyone” and none of the buildings or enclosures permanent.
“We have used existing enclosures,” he said.
“Yes we have some animals on site but they are animals any person could apply to have as pets.
“The plants and native local trees and shrubs (on the nature strip) will only enhance the natural surrounding environment.”
Mr Brighton also said the company dropped information in the letter boxes of residents recentlynotifying them of theproposal.
Judy Etchellfs, who with her husband Bobhavelived in the suburb for almost 50 years,said if approved, the wildlife park and zoo would“change the landscape of Minto Heights”.
“This is a scenic protection zone,” she said.
“We’ve been here for 47 years and there have only been rural residential properties –it’s not a commercial area.
“We are quite horrified they want to have a zoo so close to Myrtle Creek.
“We are concerned about the water quality of the creek, animal welfare if there is a bush fire, increased traffic during the day and noise from visitors.”
Mr Brighton said the safety of the animals and and environment would not be compromised.
“We of course would have procedures in place if a fire were to take place as any other wildlife sanctuary would,” he said.
“We have consulted with the best environmental experts to help with this and ensuring the creek and surrounding bush areas are safe.”
The property is currently zoned 6 (b) open space recreation and 7 (b) scenic protection area but would need to rezoned to E3 environmental management and RE1 public recreation for the zoo to be meet council requirements.
No development application would be required if the animals were to be kept as just pets.
However, the council could get involved if there were issues –such as noise and stench –as a result of the animals.
The Advertiser attempted unsuccessfully to contact Get Wild Pty Ltd several times.
Meerkats like the one pictured would also be on display in the wildlife and zoo was approved. Picture: Mags King
American alligators like the one pictured would also be on display in the wildlife and zoo was approved. Picture: Ryan Osland
A red-tail boa constrictor like the one pictured would also be on display in the wildlife and zoo was approved. Picture: AP Photo/Andre Penner
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