SAFETY CON­CERNS

Man says gum trees at new play­ground site pose a dan­ger

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By EMMA REID Emma.reid@news-mail.com.au

A SOUTH Kolan man has come for­ward with grave con­cerns about the safety of chil­dren where a play­ground is be­ing built in Gin Gin.

Des Mes­sen­ger, 78, said a num­ber of gi­ant gum trees where loaded with ter­mites and dry rot which could cause them to fall at any given mo­ment.

Mr Mes­sen­ger said his con­cerns came af­ter a tele­graph pole snapped last year and landed on a neigh­bour­ing ten­nis court.

“Look at what it did to the fence of court – it could hap­pen at any minute,’’ he said.

“The limbs on the tress are all hol­low and it wouldn’t take much for them to come down and it’s def­i­nitely a worry.”

Bund­aberg Regional Coun­cil En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources spokesman Bill Trevor said the trees did con­tain some hol­lows and there was some ter­mite ac­tiv­ity.

But that was con­sis­tent for trees of that type and age and did not sug­gest the trees were un­healthy.

Mr Mes­sen­ger said he be­lieved no safety au­dit had been com­pleted be­fore work started on the play­ground in March and feared for the safety of the work­ers.

Cr Trevor said the coun­cil had un­der­taken its stan­dard pre-project plan­ning which in­cluded a work place health and safety com­po­nent and two tress had been re­moved.

“The trees have been part of the land­scape in this area for decades. The trees have al­ways been con­sid­ered an as­set to the site, pro­vid­ing nat­u­ral shade and wildlife habi­tat,” Cr Trevor said.

“The in­ten­tion was to un­der­take re­me­dial prun­ing of the trees to min­imise any safety risks and en­able the re­ten­tion of the trees.

“Once the con­struc­tion pro­gressed a sec­ondary in­spec­tion was un­der­taken which re­solved to re­move two of the higher risk trees due to some dam­age to the struc­tural root zones as­so­ci­ated with the ini­tial earth­works.”

Cr Trevor said at this time the coun­cil did not con­sider the trees to be a dan­ger and it would be en­gag­ing an in­de­pen­dent ar­borist to as­sess them and rec­om­mend how best to man­age them.

He said the trees, and many like them, were an im­por­tant part of the Gin Gin land­scape and had been for decades.

“They pro­vide shade for park users and habi­tat for birds, in­sects, rep­tiles and small mam­mals,” he said.

“With an ap­pro­pri­ate in­spec­tion regime and clear in­ter­ven­tion pro­to­cols, these trees can re­main part of the Gin Gin land­scape for many years to come.”

What do you think? Have your say by email­ing Emma Reid: emma.reid@news­mail.com.au

PHOTO: BEN TURN­BULL

DAN­GER CLOSE: Des Mes­sen­ger is con­cerned with the safety of a play­ground that is un­der con­struc­tion in Gin Gin.

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