Council olive branch on plan to fell palms
THE nuttiness will end but the nuts will likely remain in the Whitsunday region.
Residents went nuts after Whitsunday Regional Council in May released a draft plan to remove almost all of the area’s 970 coconut palms, only excluding those in some parks and near town entry signs.
The cash- strapped council said it could not continue to pay $ 75,000 every year in contractor fees to “de- nut” the trees on council- owned land.
The council has undertaken four community consultation meetings over the past month, with attendees reportedly slamming its draft plan to remove the iconic trees.
With a council officer now preparing a report on the community feedback, Whitsunday councillors said they would likely at a meeting next month vote to keep most of the region’s coconut palms.
Whitsunday Deputy Mayor Andrew Wilcox said the over-
People want the coconuts to stay WHITSUNDAY DEPUTY MAYOR
whelming feeling from the community was that people wanted to keep the trees.
“I don’t think we need to be cutting down coconut trees but I’m keen to look at the report which is being prepared,” he said. “We do need a management plan because we do need to address liability issues.
“The public has come forward with a lot of good information and that will all be collated and then it will come for council’s determination. The general feeling is people want the coconuts to stay.”
Cr Dave Clarke said he believed the controversial coconut plan had been developed as a distraction to the council’s budget.
“I think it was a diversion to the budget. It’s just a joke,” he said. “I’m interested in the co- conuts, but nothing will happen to them. They should leave them as they are ... because that’s why people come to Whitsundays and Bowen.”
Cr Jan Clifford said widespread media coverage and public reaction to the draft plan had “got out of hand”.
“It was a draft plan, no one was going down with chainsaws cutting down coconut palms,” she said.
“I agree with some of the draft plan, I disagree with some of it. There are bits I think were OK and other bits were plain dumb.”
Dancers Zillah Ball, Sean Maloney and Christine Nutley were also happy to hear about the nomination and said they enjoyed the interaction with friends and fun the group provides.
Ms Caldwell will travel to Adelaide on September 12 for the awards ceremony.
STEPPING UP: Christine Nutley, Sean Malone, Leigh Caldwell and Zillah Ball.
Picture: FIONA HARDING