Port Stephens Koalas makes progress on hospital and tourism facility for Treescape

Port Stephens Koalas has begun to rehabilitate its furry patients in purpose built pens at One Mile. While work on a hospital and tourism facility awaits grant funds the volunteers have established four separate areas for rehabilitation within the Treescape tourism facility. Both Port Stephens MP Kate Washington and the mayor Ryan Palmer spoke about the importance of the facility on video, above.

Port Stephens Council is in the process of completing a development application to gain the necessary approval to build the facility and make the project shovel ready when grant money becomes available. In the meantime Port Stephens Koalas has utilised the $124,000 that Ms Washington helped secure through the Stronger Communities Fund. 

“Thank you to all these caring, dedicated and committed volunteers that have worked so hard to make this first stage possible they,” Ms Washington said. “They have been speaking to me for years about their vision… we have to prevent extinction in this area.”

The pens are ringed by a secure compound, to ensure the koalas inside are not disturbed. Within each of the pens are trees and a tin metal shelter with to support the koalas while they feed from fresh collected leaf.

Cr Palmer also extended his congratulations on the work so far to establish the first stage.

“This is just the first stage of a sanctuary that people will come from around the world to see,” Cr Palmer said. “Port Stephens council is proud to be part of this project, this is an amazing facility, and I can only imagine tough it was for the carers with the koalas in their laundries and in their back yards.”

The rehabilitation pens are a permanent fixture with the hospital and tourism facility to be stage around the pens. The council’s general manager Wayne Wallis there was much work to do yet. 

“There is no doubt that the koala population in Port Stephens is under threat. it is our job, and while we appreciate the passion of Port Stephens Council, we really have to work together to ensure the viability of koala populations for many generations to come,” he said. “This is only a start, of a very necessary facility but very modest one in terms of what the koala population needs but we have great plans to it viable and self sustaining as an international draw card to ensure that funding is ongoing but we do need state government help.”

The facility had two koalas in care on Tuesday, both rescued from Mambo-Wanda Wetlands precinct. ‘Meryl’, a female, had been chased up a palm tree by dogs. ‘Tolley’, a 10-year-old male was found a short distance away in poor health, and is known to rescuers from past years.