His­toric trees to be chopped down

The Cairns Post - - LIFESTYLE -

TABLE­LANDS Re­gional Coun­cil has made the con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to re­move more than 10 “his­toric trees” from Ma­landa’s town cen­tre.

The de­ci­sion has been made to re­move and re­place the ex­ist­ing trees along Mary Street in Ma­landa fol­low­ing a re­cent on­site visit and full risk as­sess­ment from ar­borist Chris Keatley.

Mr Keatley pre­sented his ar­bori­cul­tural as­sess­ment re­port to about 70 mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, pro­vid­ing an ex­pla­na­tion of the phys­i­cal con­di­tion of each tree and rec­om­mended ac­tions.

The trees first came into ques­tion late last year when coun­cil re­vealed their Ma­landa Town Cen­tre Master Plan to sup­port the town’s growth.

“This de­ci­sion has not been made lightly and fol­lows a thor­ough re­view of all con­sid­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing strong feed­back from some com­mu­nity mem­bers seek­ing to re­tain the ex­ist­ing trees,” a coun­cil state­ment said.

“Since Sep­tem­ber we have been very open, trans­par­ent and re­spon­si­ble in re­la­tion to this pro­ject.

“While this de­ci­sion is not the out­come that some res­i­dents have been seek­ing, this is a bal­anced and re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sion that con­sid­ers all the rel­e­vant fac­tors.”

The trees along Mary Street are sched­uled to be lopped this week, weather per­mit­ting, and the stumps re­moved when road­works com­mence about April.

“We will re­tain and pre­serve parts of the ex­ist­ing trees for re­pur­pos­ing based on com­mu­nity feed­back,” the state­ment said.

Not happy with coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to re­move the Cam­phor Lau­rel trees along Mary Street, Ch­eryl Kemp launched an on­line pe­ti­tion, which has more than 400 sig­na­tures.

“Many of these 94-year-old his­toric trees are able to be re­tained with the right main­te­nance and care,” she said.

The sur­vey forms are avail­able at the Ma­landa Li­brary and on­line at https://www.sur­vey­mon­key.com/r/marys­treet

Pic­ture: DAVID AN­THONY

DAN­GER­OUS: Ar­borist Chris Keatley pointed out that the bowls of each cam­phor lau­rel tree in Mary Street were show­ing signs of de­cay and that sev­eral limbs were hol­low, mak­ing them a safety risk.

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