Heartbreaking reason man doesn’t want tree ripped down
EACH day Harry Seaman looks out the front window of his Palm Beach house he's greeted by the sight of a giant rubber tree his late wife Margaret planted 50 years ago.
Residents on Moresby Ave used to wander across the road and plant trees of all varieties during the late 1960s and early '70s.
They were planning to build a barrier to protect themselves from the noise of the then proposed extension of the Pacific Motorway.
Fifty years on, the wild, green corridor of trees is scheduled to be chopped down to once again make room for an M1 upgrade.
Mr Seaman, 94, understands the need for the trees to go but says it will still be a sad day when it comes.
"Every time the leaves come down it reminds me of Margaret," Mr Seaman said.
"We'd only been in Australia four years and everyone warned us about rubber trees and their aggressive root system that would strangle the pipes.
"Margaret was terrified of the roots so she planted it over the road from a pot plant."
The birds and wildlife that live in the corridor have also kept Mr Seaman company since his late wife died 14 years ago.
He said brush turkeys "wake me up at the crack of dawn" wanting to be fed.
"I hadn't even pulled the curtains this morning and I had a brush turkey tapping on the door waiting for breakfast," Mr Seaman said.
"I feed lorikeets, butcherbirds, I get 12 species of birds here off and on.
"They've (the trees) got to come down, we have to be realistic about these things, but are they going to have people come along and rescue the wildlife? They have to go somewhere."
Division 14 councillor Gail O'Neill there was no way around removing the trees that were planted on State Government-owned land.
Cr O'Neill said the land was reserved decades ago for precisely this reason - to expand the M1 when needed.
"When we were briefed about the project, councillor (Daphne) McDonald brought up the issue of the trees, and the answer was, it has to happen and it is road reserve," Cr O'Neill said.
"The project couldn't go further west because that land was protected for heavy rail.
"There was a group who reached out to the State Government and asked for the hollow trees to be used for habitat, which has been done.
"During removal of vegetation, they (Department of Transport and Main Roads) had spotters there to make sure no wildlife was harmed."
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said vegetation clearing for the Pacific Motorway's Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade was underway.
"While the removal of some vegetation is unfortunately necessary in the allocated M1 corridor for the project, we try to minimise vegetation removal wherever possible," she said.
"We anticipate these works will continue through to early 2021.
"Community members who may be impacted by these works are encouraged to contact VL2T@tmr.qld.gov.au or phone 1800 799 824."
Originally published as Heartbreaking reason man doesn't want tree ripped down