Dr May’s could be closed to all public

BUNDABERG Regional Council will today decide whether to take the next step in permanently closing Dr May's Island, off the coast of Elliott Heads, to public access.

The proposal is designed to protect nesting shorebirds who visit the island from Siberia and Alaska.

If approved by the majority of the Bundaberg councillors in an ordinary meeting this morning, the island would be another step closer to being blocked off to access between September 1 and April 30 each year.

It comes after a decision by the council in May this year to erect permanent signs to discourage visitors to Dr May's Island and erect a small fence to protect a regularly used shorebird nesting area on the island.

The council's general manager of Operational Services Glenn Hart briefed the councillors on the latest proposal in a briefing meeting last week.

"This is to designate that Dr May's Island will be classed as a bird habitat and therefore prohibit people from walking across over on to the island," Mr Hart said.

"There's a process we have go to through, obviously we've got to adopt the proposed local law as it stands, we have to advertise and get public consultation.

"That time then after the public consultation closes we've got to come back to council to arrange for adoption or for the council to make another decision."

Mr Hart said there would still be "a fair bit" of work to do going forward before the island could be closed.

"But that starts the process now," Mr Hart said.

Division one representative Alan Bush asked Mr Hart how the council proposed to keep people off the island.

Mr Hart responded and said: "that's later down the track".

"We can police it obviously, that's what the local law is all about, we can have our officers going down to Elliott Heads and policing it," Mr Hart said.

"But I'd imagine that the council would want to do a softly approach at the start, an education program I would suggest to educate people."

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