THE trees in Cook Park providing a refuge for a colony of bats in recent months should be netted during future summers to stop them from roosting, according to an Orange councillor.
The bats may be gone now, but councillor Kevin Duffy said the row of trees on the Kite Street side needed protecting and nets would stop them from settling there next year.
"If we had the nets, they'd have to go somewhere else," he said.
"Doing nothing is not an option because over a period of time, they'll absolutely destroy the trees in the park, and it's an iconic park."
Cr Duffy said there were plenty of other places for the bats to roost and he wanted to see money allocated as part of Orange City Council's budget this coming financial year.
Orchardist Guy Gaeta, who has been concerned about the bats' affect on apple and cherry crops in the region, questioned the practicalities of netting trees as tall as those in Cook Park and did not think it would be a successful endeavour.
"How are you going to hold a net that big down when the wind blows?" he said.
Mr Gaeta believed the council would have far more success cutting off the bats' water source - the duck pond on the southwest side of the park.
"If they can stop the bats from taking a drink, they're not going to roost there," he said.
"I think that's the simplest way you can do it."
Mr Gaeta said forcing bats from Cook Park was unlikely to create a bigger problem for orchardists as most had netted their trees already.
Mayor Reg Kidd put up a motion last month to investigate ways to control the bats without harming them by upgrading an eight-year-old management plan and approaching the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
He also raised the idea of strobe lighting,
Last year, the bats forced Australia Day activities to be moved to the northern side of the park and visitors to the park this year gave the trees a wide berth.
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