Revegetation plan for beach in tatters
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.”
Where’s the third row: the view to the beach at Four Mile