Geraldton Cathedral risk ‘like Notre Dame’: Priest lobbies Premier over Geraldton corella plague

Geraldton Guardian
Father Robert Cross of St Francis Xavier Cathedral.
Camera IconFather Robert Cross of St Francis Xavier Cathedral. Credit: Peter Sweeney

Geraldton’s iconic St Francis Xavier Cathedral was at risk of burning down like the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris because of electrical damage caused by a corella plague, the Premier has been told.

A Catholic priest contacted Mark McGowan this week, calling for “immediate” relaxation of environmental laws so a mass corella cull can happen in Geraldton.

In an email to the Premier on Wednesday, Father Robert Cross said Geraldton was experiencing an unprecedented plague of about 6000 corellas, which was causing serious damage to the city’s built and natural environment.

This included about $30,000 damage to the iconic St Francis Xavier Cathedral, posing “real and present danger” of electrocution to unauthorised people accidentally touching exposed live electrical cables.

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Damage to electrical wiring posed a serious fire risk, he said.

“We are both aware of the recent fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. It is no exaggeration to say that Geraldton’s Cathedral was in similar danger due to the damage caused to its electrical cabling by the corellas,” he said.

“With this in mind, I was left with no alternative but to turn off the external feature lighting of the cathedral about a month ago.”

Father Cross said regulations in the the WA Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act were so restrictive that control methods were “totally ineffective and impotent”.

He said concern about collateral damage to the birds caused by culling methods needed to be weighed against the damage they inflicted when competing for territory and resources.

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