Give us our palms back

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

ON TUES­DAY morn­ing, March 6, Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil be­gan chop­ping down 49 iconic, rev­enue-earn­ing co­conut palms on Four Mile Beach.

These palms were on the beach­front ad­ja­cent to Four Mile Park and pho­tos of them are used ex­ten­sively to pro­mote Port Dou­glas as an at­trac­tive trop­i­cal hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

They were used as a lo­ca­tion for films and TV mini-se­ries, wed­dings and cor­po­rate events, and in nu­mer­ous ad­ver­tis­ing me­dia.

This en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dal­ism was car­ried out with­out com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

On March 4 I sent ur­gent emails to coun­cil CEO Lyn Rus­sell, Mayor Val Shier, re­gional man­ager Liz Col­lyer and Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu, ask­ing coun­cil to clar­ify and re­con­sider its decision as there has been no com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and the ma­jor­ity of Port Dou­glas res­i­dents were un­aware of the planned re­moval of the co­conuts.

Ju­lia Leu re­sponded by phone on March 5 and was dis­ap­pointed and an­gry and said she would push for re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

She, like me, did not know the cull would go ahead on March 6.

A hasty meet­ing was con­vened on-site on March 5, at­tended by Liz Col­lyer and Rus­sell Wild (CRC), John Sul­li­van (hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist), Mike Gabour (Ra­dio Port Dou­glas owner) and my­self.

John, Mike and I protested strongly against the pro­posed re­moval.

Liz Col­lyer in­formed us it was planned about a year ago to re­move all the co­conuts, that re­moval would pro­ceed, but coun­cil would save the first three rows.

She could not respond to why this was con­sid­ered to be an ur­gent is­sue and why there was no com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

The three of us left the site shat­tered and dis­gusted.

CEO Lyn Rus­sell and Mayor Val Schier are ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for al­low­ing this van­dal­ism to oc­cur with­out in­volv­ing the wider Port Dou­glas com­mu­nity and in­volve­ment or dis­cus­sion.

These so-called man­agers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Port Dou­glas should be sacked for mis-man­age­ment.

Our state Mem­ber for Cook Ja­son O’brien was nowhere to be seen dur­ing this van­dal­ism.

Port Dou­glas ratepay­ers have once again been let down by Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil and this in­ci­dent strength­ens the ar­gu­ment for ur­gent de-amal­ga­ma­tion.

The only way to pro­ceed from this de­ba­cle is to re­plant a min­i­mum of 30 ma­ture co­conuts palms on the first 10m of beach­front and reveg­e­tate the re­main­ing area

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