Warner trees spared the axe
PLANS to remove trees on Warner St have been put on ice.
A public backlash to the removal of the rosewoods along the Port Douglas street has had an affect with Douglas Shire Council confirming they would adopt a ‘gentler approach’ to the upgrade.
A change.org petition to save the avenue of 66 trees has been signed by more than 1940 people since plans to remove them surfaced in September.
Despite the rethink, Mayor Julia Leu vowed to fix the drainage and other key issues plaguing the ‘livelihood’ of those on the street.
“Council believes we can reach a more balanced solution,” she said.
“We said from the start this would be a complex exercise and it is a credit to constructive community engagement that we are able return to the drawing board with a clearer direction.”
It comes as contractors spent hours cleaning up damaged and flood affected areas of the street on Monday following wild winds and heavy rain earlier that morning.
New lighting, extra parking spaces, pedestrian walkways and improved drainage systems all remain on the table for the upgrade.
“We will find a gentle solution that reflects the desires of everyone in the community,” Cr Leu said.
Council received 50 detailed submissions about the three upgrade options released during the two-month community engagement period.
Cr Leu said the picturesque street was a vital asset to Port Douglas and plans were still underway to improve conditions for those on the street ‘by fixing the problems and improving our level of service to them, but also ensuring the popular avenue of rosewood trees is protected’.
She said the Warner St upgrade team will look at completing targeted operational works, rather than a largescale upgrade.
More than half of the respondents did not support any of the options presented and would prefer a solution which retains all rosewood trees, or at least 50 per cent. Of the remaining 22 submissions, preferences were spread across the three options presented but ‘no clear favourite emerged’.
Expert arborist advice suggests a small number of rosewood trees may need to be removed in future years to protect the larger majority of trees, due to overcrowding and interference with essential infrastructure.