‘Cruel’: Fury over ‘pointless’ pelican act

The move has sparked outrage from some residents
The move has sparked outrage from residents.

Residents on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula have slammed a not-for-profit’s move to install spikes on light poles to stop pelicans from perching on them.

3AW host Tony Jones said the pelicans were famous around the St Leonards, Indented Head and Portarlington areas, which are about 30km from Geelong.

He said the issue came to his attention when he was walking along the beach in St Leonards.

“What happens is the pelicans sit perched on these light poles which border the boat ramp,” he said.

“But what the council’s decided to do is install spikes on top of the lamp posts to stop the pelicans from actually sitting there.”

Geelong council confirmed it was not involved in the matter, with Bellarine Bayside Coastal Management, a not-for-profit committee of management established by the Victorian government to manage the coastline, responsible for the move.

Indented Head a resident Heather Snook told 3AW that she sent a letter about the matter last week.

The move has sparked outrage from some residents
The move has sparked outrage from residents.

“They sent me a letter to say the reason is because they’re causing the light poles, the plastic, to corrode and its costing council money to have to fix them,” she said.

“But the most amusing thing about it is, rumour has it, that they’re are all coming down anyway when they change the pier.

“It’s pointless.”

Ms Snook called for the spikes’ removal.

“Pelicans in the area are an icon,” she said.

Ms Snook said the pelicans weren’t disturbing anybody and the spikes didn’t make sense.

“They’re just lovely and it’s so sad to see the pelicans doing circles around these lamp posts, looking on where to land and they can’t land there,” she said.

“I think it’s just cruel.”

Ms Snook said she would keep pushing the issue, including by a petition that was in circulation.

“I’m like a dog with a bone, I won’t give up,” she said.

“I’ll keep it going around and keep refreshing it onto all the community sides.

“I’m actually getting signatures from overseas as well.”

Indented Head resident Heather Snook says the pelicans are not disturbing anybody. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

Ms Snook said residents were not consulted on the matter.

“Nothing was said to any community people whatsoever, we just went down there and noticed the spikes on top of the poles.”

A Bellarine Bayside spokesperson said the droppings of birds, including pelicans, were acidic in nature and had been corroding the lights, resulting in damage to the infrastructure.

“The lights are also not designed for the weight of large birds like pelicans. As a result, we have installed bird spikes on the lights that are being regularly damaged,” the spokesperson said.

“Bird spikes are widely used as a visual and physical deterrent.

“The pelicans’ use of light poles is an opportunistic behaviour rather than being part of their natural roosting or breeding habits.

“Pelicans are waterbirds and very adaptive, being widespread on freshwater, estuarine and marine wetlands and waterways around Australia. Roosting on beaches, sandbanks, rocks and reefs or paddling in shallow water are their natural choices for resting.”

The spokesperson said in Bellarine Bayside’s experience, using bird spikes on lights and other areas of the coast had not led pelicans to leave the area.

“Instead, they will choose alternative locations in the area to perch,” the spokesperson said.

“We will continue to monitor the infrastructure and the pelicans around the St Leonards boat ramp.”