A GIANT aviary is opening at Urana to draw tourists, just as another Riverina town demolishes its bird cage after it failed to meet welfare requirements.
Central Deniliquin’s Waring Gardens has hosted an aviary for more than 50 years with its two peacocks the star attractions.
But the Edward River Council has opted to shut it down after animal welfare advocates complained to the Department of Primary Industries.
“We were not conforming to rules and regulations for publicly exhibiting birds, so we had to comply with what the DPI put down and it was decided we would relocate the birds,” mayor Norm Brennan said.
“There was something like 70 or 80 conditions we were not compliant with.”
Since that order the peacocks, which were 30 to 40 years old, have died and there is only a peahen and golden pheasant in the aviary.
They will be rehoused in early August on a rural property north-west of Deniliquin after the council sought expressions of interest.
The aviary will then be dismantled and a shed and pump removed to the western side of the gardens.
Cr Brennan said DPI demands included having an on-site freezer to preserve birds for post mortems, stainless steel surfaces for serving of feed and greater living space.
Former Deniliquin mayor Lindsay Renwick is disgusted at the aviary’s closure and believes the council should have fought to retain it.
“I think it’s utterly ridiculous,” he said.
“It’s been a great tourist attraction, every child in Deniliquin has been and loved the birds in there.
“All they had to do is make it a bit larger as they’re doing at Urana where they’re building a big aviary to attract visitors.
“To me it’s a no-brainer.”
Federation Council mayor and Urana resident Patrick Bourke said his town’s aviary was 24-metres by 14-metres and nine metres high.
“Because it’s so huge, people will have the opportunity to walk in and interact with the birds,” Cr Bourke said.
There will be a focus on native varieties, including parrots, finches and pigeons, but Cr Bourke did not rule out peacocks.
“I’d like to (have them), but I’d need to do a bit of research, it’s a possibility,” he said.
The aviary will be officially opened on September 11.
The birds will be sourced from breeders and put in the cage a few days earlier.
The project has been partly funded by money Federation Council received as part of the merger deal of Corowa and Urana councils.
It cost $80,000 in total, including in-kind contributions which have seen up to 60 people at working bees.
The aviary faces Lake Urana, near a caravan park.
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