The following is a presentation to Council by Rae Harvey of Runnyford. Some names and details have been edited out by the Editor. Council Rally Time Opposition
My name is Rae Harvey and I’m a resident of Runnyford Road in Runnyford. My partner and I are volunteers operating the Wild 2 Free Wildlife Shelter, located at our property. We provide an important service to the Eurobodalla community, taking in a large majority of the orphaned and injured kangaroos and wallabies from the region.
I am here this morning to present a petition which commenced at 3pm on Sunday and as of 8am this morning, already has 933 signatures, all protesting the 4-10pm car rally through the Mogo State Forest on August 11th.
When I lodged my complaint on the council Facebook page, the reply from council stated that an event representative visited every resident they could gain access to on Saturday May 12 and where they could not get access, they left a copy of the notification letter in a plastic bag attached to gates. That is not true. Myself and my neighbours at ******* were not advised and there was nothing attached to our gates. There is someone in attendance at our property 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our gate is open at all times. I didn’t know about the rally until we saw the sign up a few days ago.
The rally hasn’t been through Runnyford Road for six or so years due to protests and a petition from residents and I assure you that had we been notified; a local petition would have commenced again. I can confirm that the following residents do oppose the rally:
################## Names removed
I personally object to:
Not being informed prior or having an opportunity to oppose the rally in our own backyard and specifically the time of the rally.
Not having any access to leave my property or have visitors during the six-hour rally. We run a volunteer program and have two American volunteers intending to arrive that afternoon and two Italian volunteers departing that evening – how do you propose I get them to and from our property – by helicopter?
The danger to the animals - not only in the forest, but the ones on my property feeling frightened and bolting. I’ve seen the effect the fireworks in Batemans Bay have on wild animals here, and this is way more dangerous and runs for six hours. Kangaroos hop fast when scared and if the fear continues and they haven’t already collided with fences or trees, the stress response creates a lactic acid build up and they die within days from myopathy. I’m not prepared to watch animals on my land die because of this lack of consideration for wildlife living in what little natural environment they have left.
Who is going to financially compensate us the average $1,500 expense per animal, from the additional ‘collateral damage’ of injured wildlife who may need to come into care after this rally?
I appreciate the income generation of the car rally to the community, and I don’t oppose the rally itself, I oppose the time and location of the rally. As everyone knows, wildlife is at its most active in these hours, and Runnyford Road can be a dangerous one at any time of the day, let alone at night when animals are on the move.
The Mogo State Forest is home to many nocturnal native wildlife, including possums, gliders, kangaroos, potoroos, wallabies, and wombats. It also contains records of nationally listed endangered species including Glossy Black Cockatoos, Swift Parrots, and Spotted Tail Quolls and State-listed Species including Masked, Powerful and Sooty Owls. I have personally encountered wildlife every single time I’ve driven on Runnyford Road, regardless of the time of day or night. We’re in a winter drought and more animals are close to the roads than usual. We and our neighbours don’t drive over 40kph at night on the road for this reason – how fast are the rally cars going to be driving? We already see many dead and dying animals on the highway and main roads, and now they’re at risk in a forest, where they should feel safe?
There are several overturned and abandoned vehicles on the road and about six months ago my partner assisted a young driver and friends when his car ran off the road and overturned. That happened in broad daylight. Is Runnyford Road really a safe option for the drivers?
I am not only concerned about animals being hit, but wildlife fleeing and becoming injured when doing so – the unseen victims. The joeys accidentally dropped and left to die on the forest floor when the mother flees.
I beg you to please consider changing the time of the rally to something more suitable, or relocating it to an area which doesn’t threaten the lives of the animals in their natural habitat.
With whatever time I have left remaining, I will read some objections from local residents:
Alicia Surname removed said: As a Resident of Runnyford for nearly 20 years I have witnessed this rally many times. I signed a petition about 6 years ago and have enjoyed the tranquility ever since. I worry for both the wildlife and the domestic animals. This kind of intrusion into an otherwise peaceful environment can have a devastating effect. Please consider cancelling it or moving it to a safer environment.
Colleen Surname removed from Moruya said: I can’t believe that council and police are allowing this event to occur. The impact it will have on the wildlife running it at this time of night and under these dry conditions. I seriously hope an accident doesn’t happen that then in turn sets off a bushfire. I don’t think this one has been thought through too well at all. Why is it even needed to be run in the dark?
Kellee Surname removed from Batemans Bay said: There are too many beautiful animals being hurt and killed on our motor ways, so why would you want to create an event where this can happen in their own environment?
Peter Surname removed from Moruya said: this proposal makes no sense and must be stopped.. there is already massive wildlife carnage on our roads.. we don't need any more!!
Julie Surame removed from Batemans Bay said: This is dangerous to the wildlife in the area. There are bound to be casualties if this rally goes ahead no matter how careful the drivers try to be - after all it is a rally.
Greg Surname removed from Australia (town unknown) said: Eurobodalla council promotes the area as a wildlife haven, a beautiful wonderland to enjoy the majestic country. Kind of counter intuitive to have a car rally like this one would have thought.
BJ Mac wrote: I don't agree with the Rally being held at dusk and during the night. It is putting lives at risk during this time of day, both human and wildlife. Please reconsider the timing for any Forest Rally areas. Dusk and night is scientifically proven to be when our Wildlife is most active, and driving slower and well-lit areas reduce this collision by a great percentage. When our Wildlife is already coping a hard time with car collision and dry spells I feel this night time Forest racing is not sensible. I am not saying I don't want the Rally to happen as it has been running a long time, but a reconsideration of time of day (or night in this case) and where it is held is needed. Thankyou.
Margaret Surname removed from Sunshine Bay said: This useless and senseless motor car sport cannot be tolerated in State forests
Maree Surname removed from Tuross Head said: Forests are no place for high speed rallies
Michael Surname removed from Nowra said: Rallying in a forest at night is pure vandalism.
Marilyn Surname removed from Australia (town unknown) said: this is destructive to our local forest. Mogo is not suitable for a car rally.
Lawry Surname removed from Canberra said: State forests should be places of safety and tranquillity. The forest with its flora and fauna are one of the main reasons people visit the area. That you are willing to cause derogation to this beautiful area for a car rally defies reason. Your decision will cause injury and death to our precious wildlife and denies free access to people who live in the area. Be assured we will never forget or forgive your actions.
Giselle Surname removed from unknown said: Because enough is enough. You've just chopped all the trees down. Now you want to traumatise what’s left of our wild life. When will nature and wildlife have a fair go. We chose to live here to get way from the madness now you want to pollute us with this a car rally really. Go back to the city and zoom around on your toll ways. Enough is enough.
Laurel Surname removed from Dalmeny said: This needs to be cancelled and stopped for good.
Janine Surname removed from Nowra said: Many native animals will be on the move at that time of night and will put at risk. Car racing does not belong in this environment. Move the rally to an area already designated for that purpose.
Jake Surname removed from Batemans Bay signed because kangaroos lives are at risk
Name and Surname removed from Runnyford wrote: Typical actions of the Eurobodalla Council. On the one hand they proclaim to be green placing cavities on developments destroying wildlife habitat, and on the other they kowtow to some “man child” fossil fuel bogan fest for people who have no appreciation of the Australia bush or respect to country! If you travel along a Runnyford Rd you will not see any litter as the local residents do care!
Above: There is an online petition that continues whilst Council has a greed to talk to the organisers and raise the community's concerns