Draft man­age­ment pol­icy re­leased for public com­ment

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WHIT­SUN­DAY Re­gional Coun­cil has gone nuts – fig­u­ra­tively speak­ing.

A draft co­conut man­age­ment pol­icy was re­leased for public con­sul­ta­tion this week which, if put in place, would see co­conut trees re­moved from “neigh­bour­hood/low use parks, open space/re­serve, bush­land re­serve, ceme­ter­ies, road re­serves and streetscapes”.

“We’ve put (the pol­icy) out for con­sul­ta­tion just to show the com­mu­nity that we do take co­conut trees se­ri­ously – the harm that they can cause our vis­i­tors, and also the cost to the com­mu­nity,” Whit­sun­day Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said.

Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal direc­tor of nurs­ing Ni­cola Young said be­fore coun­cil be­gan de-nut­ting trees in public places more than 10 years ago, there were oc­ca­sional cases of peo­ple pre­sent­ing with head in­juries.

There are cur­rently 104 co­conut trees around the re­gion that are too tall for coun­cil staff to de-nut and would have to be ser­viced by a con­trac­tor at a cost of $10,400 a year.

That fig­ure could in­crease by $25,500 a year as other trees grow.

A coun­cil re­port in­di­cates there are 107 co­conut trees less than 3m tall that could be re­moved to re­duce fu­ture costs, and 150 trees not lo­cated on fore­shore beaches that could be re­placed with an­other species of palm.

Con­trary to re­cent re­ports in other me­dia, Whit­sun­day mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said the draft pol­icy was not about re­mov­ing the en­tire re­gion’s co­conut trees.

“I think the (co­conut trees) that are es­tab­lished – peo­ple ex­pect that they will stay there,” she said.

Peo­ple can com­ment on the pol­icy by email­ing info@whit­sun­dayrc.qld.gov.au be­fore 4pm on Fri­day, July 3.

NUTS: Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney in­vites feed­back on a draft co­conut pol­icy.

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