TWEED Shire Council carried out an odd Public Health Risk Assessment after a child care centre complained ibis have been defecating in the area so often it's "like raining poo".

The council found the "smell, noise, and unsightliness of the ibis excrement may cause discomfort" around Freckles Child Care Centre, but the issues "do not meet the definition of a public health risk".

 

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A white ibis.
A white ibis.

The assessment was undertaken last year, but the matter has recently been before the council and included in meeting documents.

Staff told the council "due to the amount of poo" the centre's car park "never looks clean".

The council was also told the centre "receives multiple complaints from parents", who "perceive the area as anti-hygienic".

Councillor James Owen detailed an arborist report of a gumtree housing the ibis and the "ongoing concerns" of centre operators.

The car park of Freckles Child Care Centre in the Tweed coated with ibis excrement. Picture: Tweed Shire Council
The car park of Freckles Child Care Centre in the Tweed coated with ibis excrement. Picture: Tweed Shire Council

He also raised efforts to "remove and discourage the ibis from roosting".

It was suggested the tree could be removed and five trees of the same species planted, with Freckles footing a bill approaching $10,000.

Councillor Warren Polglase proposed the council remove the tree as requested and background notes stated the tree was "considered to be dangerous in two ways".

It was feared "under weather conditions large branches will snap off and drop down".

"The tree has become a non-nocturnal resting place for a flock of Australian white ibises which are resting in the tree while parents are collecting their children from the centre."

The gumtree outside the child care centre. Picture: Tweed Shire Council
The gumtree outside the child care centre. Picture: Tweed Shire Council

"The birds are causing and have caused faeces to drop in the car park below, this is considered to be an extreme health hazard, especially as young children are attending the centre," the documents state.

However, officers largely dismissed concerns and the council decided to leave the tree alone.

It's stated there was a "minimal health risk associated with the issues posed from the ibis faeces (although unpleasant and not necessarily the best environment for children at a day care centre)".

White ibis are common in urban areas.
White ibis are common in urban areas.

Instead, it was decided the council should investigate wind spinners and lighting to deter the birds, among other measures.

If the ibis are still an issue in the area after 18-24 months, the council will reconsider removing the tree.

A common sight in Australian suburbs, white ibis are often seen rifling through rubbish bins, resulting in the unfortunate moniker of "bin chicken"

The resourceful birds were once a rare sight in urban areas, but numbers have boomed on the east coast in recent decades.

Originally published as 'Raining poo': Smelly bin chickens trigger health probe


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