THE future of Waterways Wildlife Park remains in limbo as the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) prepares to decide on whether to grant the park a public exhibitor licence.
The park has been granted an additional six months from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to prepare its application for the licence.
An OEH spokesperson told The Namoi Valley Independent that the extension would allow the park managers another six months to prepare the application.
“In consultation with Waterways and the DPI, OEH is extending Waterways’ licence to allow further time for preparation and finalisation of their exhibitor’s licence application and consideration of it by DPI,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier in the year, the park was issued a temporary native keepers licence by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. This was set to expire on April 30.
“The extension is for six months,” the spokesperson said.
The park was initially closed down in April 2017 with a DPI spokesperson telling the Independent in May 2017, the park was closed due to its “failure to comply with the terms and conditions of their licence and permit under the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986”.
Following the park’s initial closure, the Small family who own and operate the park, have battled to comply with the DPI’s directives in attempts to reopen the park to the public.
In March this year, Jodi Small told the Independent she was preparing an application to the DPI on behalf of the park for a public exhibitor licence. The licence will allow the park to reopen and exhibit native animals.
It remains unclear when the DPI will make a decision regarding the licence or the park’s long-term future.
A Waterways Wildlife Park spokesperson could not be reached for comment before publication.