Dr May's Island to be closed to public in nesting season

THE environmentally sensitive nature of Dr May's Island at Elliott Heads has prompted the council to introduce new regulations that will afford protection to the migratory birds using the island for nesting.

At its ordinary meeting today the council adopted amendments to a subordinate local law which will result in the island being closed to public access during the nesting season.

Governance portfolio spokesman Cr David Batt said a community consultation process had attracted 13 submissions regarding the proposal to provide protection to the shorebirds of Dr May's Island.

"All submissions were in favour of the proposed subordinate local law with comments received from individuals and community groups as well as one business entity.

"One submission requested that council consider the installation of a webcam on the island in order that the birdlife activity can be viewed by the community.

"As council would not have the resources to install or maintain a facility of this nature this suggestion has been referred to other agencies for consideration."

Environment and Natural Resources portfolio spokesman Cr Danny Rowleson welcomed the Council initiative as "an initial step in providing protection for an exquisite natural asset for the region".

"Council has also made representations to Queensland Marine Parks requesting them to consider recognising areas of our coastline as designated Shorebird Roosting and Feeding Areas," Cr Rowleson said.

"With thousands of shorebirds flocking to our shores each year, some migrating from as far as Siberia and Alaska, it is critical to their survival that we are able to offer them an undisturbed stay.

"These birds engage the interest of an international audience and Council acknowledges its responsibility to appropriately protect them."

Cr Rowleson said that as part of the new protection protocols visitors will be excluded when the birds are nesting which is between September and April each year.

A large interpretive sign will be erected at Elliott Heads advising of the new regulations and associated penalties while a smaller sign with warning symbols and information will be erected on the island.

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