Reveg­e­ta­tion plan for beach in tat­ters

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

CAIRNS Re­gional Coun­cil con­tin­ues to claim it has pre­served three rows of co­conut palms on a stretch of Four Mile Beach de­spite ob­vi­ous signs they have been chopped down.

Half of the cleared area just north of Four Mile Park does not have three rows of co­conut trees.

A last-minute stay of ex­e­cu­tion was granted for six of the co­conut trees, but only af­ter 49 were re­moved un­der coun­cil’s reveg­e­ta­tion plan for the area.

Now also in limbo are coun­cil’s plans for more than 3000 coast­line na­tive plants meant to re­place the co­conut palms af­ter coun­cil­lors last week voted for an im­me­di­ate halt to the project.

The Gazette vis­ited the reveg­e­ta­tion site with CRC’S en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment co­or­di­na­tor Paul Hoye and nat­u­ral ar­eas man­age­ment co­or­di­na­tor Rus­sell Wild on Mon­day.

The area which has been left with three rows of co­conut trees was iden­ti­fied by Mr Hoye as where most film­ing has oc­curred and an ef­fort has been made to pre­serve the iconic stand of co­conut trees.

Mr Wild re­mained adamant no co­conut trees were cleared which were not marked to be re­moved and stood by the im­por­tance of the re­moval of the co­conut trees.

He said the reveg­e­ta­tion was ini­ti­ated by nearby prop­erty own­ers who pointed out a 2002 de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion which states the area had to be reveg­e­tated.

“It’s coun­cil land and it’s not the prop­erty owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and through our con­sul­ta­tion process we made a com­pro­mise,” Mr Wild said.

“We kept what we said we’d keep - peo­ple can make up their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

“All works have been sus­pended un­der coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion and there will be no fur­ther re­moval of co­conuts un­til we have a con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity and we’re in the process of or­gan­is­ing that now.

“Un­der the Na­tive Con­ser­va­tion Act in Queens­land leg­is­la­tion, it’s il­le­gal to plant co­conuts with­out the per­mit of the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Re­source Man­age­ment and we’re get­ting clar­i­fi­ca­tion now if there have been calls to re­plant.

“This work is day two of a five-year project - it’s a bit harsh for us to be judged on the sec­ond day.”

Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu wants to know why the 2004 co­conut man­age­ment plan for the Dou­glas Shire was not ad­hered to.

“Given the fact there was se­ri­ous con­cern af­ter the meet­ing last week, there should have been a cool­ing-off pe­riod to al­low fur­ther dis­cus­sion and ne­go­ti­a­tion,” she said.

“This ac­tion that oc­curred could well be in vi­o­la­tion of the 2004 co­conut man­age­ment plan and this com­mu­nity de­serves an ex­pla­na­tion as to why it was ig­nored.”

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Where’s the third row: the view to the beach at Four Mile

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