Coun­cil­lor wants to know why trees were lopped

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE PEEL char­lie. peel@ news. com. au

OONOONBA res­i­dents are out­raged that trees planted 20 years ago as part of a city beau­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram were cut down with­out warn­ing or com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

A Townsville City Coun­cil spokes­woman said the trees were cut down af­ter a re­quest by Queens­land Rail, be­cause they af­fected train driver vis­i­bil­ity of a nearby traf­fic sig­nal past Rooney’s Bridge.

How­ever, a QR spokes­woman de­nied that the com­pany made the re­quest.

The 100m stretch of land on Ab­bott St is now bare earth.

Cr Les Walker raised the is­sue last week at a Smart City Sus­tain­able Fu­ture com­mit­tee meet­ing, say­ing he had re­ceived a num­ber of com­plaints and ask­ing whether coun­cil was re­spon­si­ble.

He was told the trees stood in a cor­ri­dor be­tween the QR- op­er­ated train tracks and the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads con­trolled road and bike­way, and that ei­ther group could have been re­spon­si­ble.

How­ever, it was later re­vealed the work was car­ried out by coun­cil staff.

The felled trees have left the re­cently con­structed bike­way ad­ja­cent to the road with­out any shade, and a me­mo­rial plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing the Ja­panese bomb­ing of the area also sits out in the open.

Cr Walker said he un­der­stood there may have been a safety is­sue with the ob­scured traf­fic sig­nal but other op­tions could have been pur­sued, along with con­sul­ta­tion.

“It’s not a good look when we con­tract peo­ple to go in there and re­move the trees we planted,” Cr Walker said.

“In­stead of

prun­ing

or

tip­ping they com­pletely wiped them out. It looks like scorched dirt, I’m not happy with it.

“On one hand we en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to plant trees and be en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious, and on the other we are tear­ing them down.”

Di­vi­sion Cr Suzanne Blom said she was dis­ap­pointed coun­cil­lors were not al­ways in­formed about what oc­curred in their ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially given they would bear the brunt of com­plaints.

Cr Walker said he’d like to see smaller shrubs re­planted in the place of the trees and dis­cus­sions with coun­cil staff in­di­cated this was a pos­si­bil­ity.

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