Opponents of the potential Corrimal Coke Works redevelopment have a number of concerns - including one about the noisy, but precious, neighbours.
The Corrimal Community Action Group says the proximity of parts of the proposed development, including a dog park, to the resident grey-headed flying fox camp, could cause problems for future residents, and the flying foxes.
There is a 100-metre buffer zone between the closest elements of the development and the seasonal camp.
"The flying foxes are critical to the health of our forests, and they are so endangered since the summer bushfires," action group spokeswoman Anne Marett said.
"They really have to be protected - it would be difficult for the flying foxes and the residents."
The site is owned by Illawarra Coke Company (ICC), and its director, Kate Strahorn, says the camp will not be a problem, as it is only made up of a few hundred members who visit around Christmas time.
"No breeding takes place in the camp - we're putting in buffers and have a strong plan to help manage ongoing [protection], including planting more food sources and putting in a buffer," she said.
"An open-area parkland means there will be no conflict in terms of droppings. We are certainly able to have co-located development next to the camp without creating conflict."
This assumes flying foxes will never change the way they use the camp. Residents of Batemans Bay could tell you that's never a guarantee.
Grey-headed flying foxes established a camp in swampland near the town in 2012.
It usually hosted a maximum of 50,000 flying foxes - until that number ballooned to 140,000 in 2016.
The town suffered power outages nine days in a row after flying foxes flew into power lines; families could not use clotheslines or let their children play outside because homes and yards were coated in bat droppings, which were so acidic they stripped paint from cars, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Eventually, the local council was able to move the camp on, with a $2.5 million grant from the state government.
While it's unlikely the Corrimal Coke Works site could accommodate such a large number of grey-headed flying foxes, this could change. And the issue may be of concern to potential home buyers before they hand over their hard-earned cash.
Dr David Westcott, an ecologist with the CSIRO, said the animals were notoriously difficult to predict.
"It doesn't matter what I tell you will happen with them, they will do the opposite," he said.
"The experience of this camp is that it's a small, seasonally occupied camp, but that can change dramatically from one year to the next.
"There are camps we know of that were huge for years and suddenly stopped being used; other small camps have gotten big."
One reason for this is that flying foxes travel as individuals, not groups.
Just like your favourite holiday destination may be empty one year and packed the next, so too can different flying fox camps fluctuate in popularity.
The animals can cover enormous distances in search of resources, like food - from Sydney to Melbourne in a week.
Very few councils can stump up a million dollars to deal with a camp at short noticeDr David Westcott
Dr Westcott said food availability across the whole eastern seaboard of Australia was one of the influences behind the popularity of different camps.
"The number of flying foxes at a particular camp reflects the general availability of the resources," he said.
"So if there's nothing else available that small amount of resource might become much more attractive."
And while some camps are designated as maternity camps under the legislation, grey-headed flying foxes aren't particularly fussed about following the rules.
"We try to look after camps where we know breeding occurs, but they're worse than I am at reading legislation so they'll do whatever seems appropriate to them at the time," Dr Westcott said.
Some people love living close to a flying fox camp - watching them emerge into the night can be a spectacular sight, and not everyone is bothered by the noise or the smell, particularly if numbers are small.
Not all people feel the same way, however, and when residents get upset it generally falls to local councils to foot the bill of moving the animals on.
As an endangered species, trapping or culling the grey-headed flying fox is not an option.
"Once you have people living there it becomes a difficult and expensive problem to deal with," Dr Westcott said.
"In my experience, there are very few councils who can stump up a million dollars to deal with a camp at short notice.
"There are things like double glazing on windows that can help residents near a camp minimise the impact, but generally speaking I think it's better to avoid the issue if you can."
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