Give us our palms back
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