Bark comes off in council trees war
TOWNSVILLE City Council has stepped up the war on the African mahogany, the shallow-rooted tree topping a hit-list of species the city wants removed from nurseries.
But an Idalia businessman has hit back, saying that blocking the sale of plants d e e me d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r much of the infrastructure damage from Cyclone Yasi was impractical, and that education was the answer.
Following Cyclone Yasi, Townsville’s streets were choked with uprooted trees.
The African mahogany, golden raintree, two species of pink tabebuia and the forest blue gum were blamed for the bulk of the damage, as powerlines were brought down and asphalt ripped up throughout the city.
Councillor Vern Veitch said he worried for people’s future safety if the trees were not removed.
Botanist Dr Greg Calvert will visit the city’s nurseries in the next four to six weeks to discuss the issue.
‘ ‘ We’ v e i d e n t i f i e d f i v e species of trees that have done nearly half the damage to infrastructure or have had major structural damage themselves in Townsville,’’ Cr Veitch said.
‘‘ We are going to go to the nurseries and ask them to come on board and not sell those species of trees.
‘‘ It’s the responsible thing to do.’’
He said the council would initially put the request to the nursery owners, but if they weren’t happy with their response, the process would have to be reviewed.
Cr Veitch said he had campaigned for a number of years to have a gradual replacement of these large, shallow-rooted trees, listing African mahoganies as the number one concern.
‘‘ People plant these trees because they are really big and grow very quickly, but they are shallow-rooted, top heavy and it doesn’t take a lot for them to blow over,’’ he said.
But Harry Wilschefski, owner of Idalia’s Day Dawn Nursery, said he didn’t think preventing the sale of these trees was the solution.
‘‘ I’ll admit there is a problem but the real problem is that people are planting the wrong plants in the wrong spots,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ Are t hey going t o go around to all the markets and Woolies and stop them f r o m s e l l i n g A f r i c a n mahoganies too?
‘‘ It’s the same as them stopping car dealers from selling a motorcar to someone who is under 18 – you can’t put a blanket statement on something like this.’’ TOP OF HIT-LIST: An African mahogany falls over powerlines in Harold St, West
End after Cyclone Yasi struck last month