Coun­cil dis­ap­points

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

I WAS so dis­ap­pointed when Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil cut down al­most all the co­conut palm trees on the up­per side of Ocean View Road.

No ex­pla­na­tion, no con­sul­ta­tion and as far as I know, no plan to re­place the trees. Why?

Co­conut trees/palm trees are what de­fine the trop­ics. Tourists ex­pect the beaches to be lined with palm trees.

The view of Four Mile Beach from the look­out de­fines a trop­i­cal beach, blue sky, clean water, white sand and, yes, palm trees sway­ing in the breeze.

Newell Beach and Oak Beach both have a won­der­ful stand of palm trees lin­ing their shore - as do many other beaches in the area.

Does this mean coun­cil will be cut­ting those down as well?

Does this mean the Palm Cove fore­shore will be de­nuded of all their palm trees?

Part of Palm Cove’s at­trac­tion is the south­ern end of the beach where a won­der­ful stand of co­conut palms line the beach in front of the re­sort.

The area is of­ten used as a ro­man­tic set­ting to dine at the water’s edge un­der the co­conut palms. Will coun­cil cut those down as well?

I am still wait­ing for Ju­lia Leu’s re­sponse to my email ask­ing her what the CEO’S com­ment to her was when she asked her why the co­conut palm trees were cut down on Ocean View Road.

This par­a­digm was pop­u­lar on a global scale in the mid-’70s and early ’80s but was soon dropped by those gen­uinely in­ter­ested in plants.

Un­for­tu­nately it was con­tin­ued and cham­pi­oned by those with a pen­chant for prej­u­dice. As is the case with many prej­u­dices, hor­ti­cul­tural or oth­er­wise, their foun­da­tion lies on shaky ground and this is no ex­cep­tion.

Take as an ex­am­ple the dis­cov­ery of fos­sil co­conuts in New Zealand. It’s es­ti­mated that co­conut palms were wide­spread along the east coast there just 15 mil­lion years ago.

An en­ter­pris­ing nurs­ery­man from Auck­land armed with the ge­netic foot­print of the fos­sil found a close match in Ecuador.

He re­ceived per­mis­sion to im­port prop­a­gat­ing ma­te­rial and is sell­ing “Co­cos zealan­dia” as an NZ na­tive to the land­scape in­dus­try. Is he wrong?

A sim­i­lar sce­nario could very well ex­ist here. I rang for an up­date on the progress of the “NZ co­conut tree” and was told: “The adult plant more closely re­sem­bles the Elais (palm) rather than the Co­cos (co­conut) of the fam­ily Are­cae­ceae. It looks like a thing called the African oil palm. Are you fa­mil­iar with that plant?” Now isn’t that in­cred­i­bly ironic.

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