'I can't let them die': Councillor offers to open her wallet
A COUNCILLOR has offered to personally donate her money to help save nearly 200 turtles in Lake Apex.
Divisions within Lockyer Valley Regional Council were exposed during today's council meeting, with councillors debating a motion to relocate wildlife from the rapidly drying lake.
However the $4958 cost of the relocation drew concerns from several councillors.
Councillor Janice Holstein was extremely critical of the proposal, despite later voting in favour of it, and said the money could be better spent.
"I really struggle with putting any funds towards looking after a few turtles when our farming community, many of them are struggling at the moment," Cr Holstein said.
She was at odds with councillor Kathy McLean who went as far as to offer to donate funds towards the cost of project.
"I don't think it's a great deal of money to expend," Cr McLean said.
"I'd happily donate to it personally because I couldn't live with myself to see those turtles die there."
Councillor Chris Wilson agreed the council needed to remain mindful of the struggle of producers in the drought, but said the two issues were separate.
"I think we're kidding ourselves if we compare the current drought and the situation our farmers are in, with a $5000 spend at Lake Apex for the turtles," Cr Wilson said.
"What's $5000 going to do for across our farming communicates - absolutely nothing. It's a drop in the ocean."
The devastating drought has slowly been draining the lake, with remaining water now constrained to two small ponds, one of which is just 10cm deep.
The lake is home to numerous species of aquatic animals, including a large population of turtles.
With the lake continuing to dry up, there are fears many turtles will become trapped in mud surrounding the ponds, or attempt to move to another source of water and be at risk of crossing busy roads.
A Fauna Rescue Plan was drawn up to prevent a repeat of the 2003 mass turtle movement, which resulted in hundreds of turtles killed on the road over a 48-hour period.
There is estimated to be around 180 turtles remaining in the ponds.
The motion was eventually carried unanimously by councillors, including Cr Holstein - however she labelled the aquatic creatures as "very expensive turtles".