THE iconic melaleuca trees that line Pacific Ave in Tannum Sands will be removed - to make way for a concrete footpath.
The announcement follows months of deliberation by Gladstone Regional Council, who has failed to find an alternative, despite pleas from the community to keep the trees.
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The council claims it sent letters to nearby residents to explain their plans, but Ivan Neralic can see foliage from the melaleucas from his veranda and he says he certainly hasn't seen any such letter.
- John Norris: Leave the trees alone. There are others that need to be removed that they are determined to retain.
- Graeme Hill: Maybe find out if the trees are destroying water mains or other infrastructure, before we start stamping our little feet up and down.
- Leisa Flemming: Protest n pickets n invite newspaper!! Stop cutting trees down!! This town is so polluted now we need some trees!
- Margaret Hunt: That's ridiculous - I'm sure people love to walk along near these trees
- Jenni Tidd: It's hypocritical and ridiculous!! No way should they be cutting down trees to replace with concrete!!How many times have they refused requests for other residential trees to be removed by what reason??
- Maddie Condren: What a fantastic idea, let's remove the shade & oxygen giving trees and replace them with an ugly stinking hot cement footpath. Who's the great moron who put this suggestion to council? Feckin wankers, the lot of them!
- Lana Graham: We attended the meeting on March 30 regarding the footpath upgrade. Only 3 residents turned up. (I wonder if it was because of the impractical time of 5pm when most people are still at work!) Only people in Pacific Avenue were notified of the meeting although this affects all people who visit this area and use this "gateway to the Esplanade" as Maxine Brushe referred to it. There were 3 suggested options of how they could implement the footpath upgrade and the attendees of the meeting were asked to provide feedback as to which option would be preferable and also to submit any other suggestions. We did this and also requested follow up and further discussion before coming to a decision and proceeding. The reply from Rick Hansen was "thanks for your feedback"!!! Heard nothing else from council until I read this.
- Bradley Dean Bruse: Put the path next to the trees, shady path , win win
- Brady Driscoll: I think a travelator would work. We can all get fat conveying around town! Monorail!
- Kerri Kunde: Don't do it please let them be. What did they ever do that was wrong. And concerte is to hot.
- Steven Anderson: Intelligent bunch
Australia's most revered conservationist Bob Irwin even weighed in on the move when he was in town yesterday, saying the value of a tree was much more than that of concrete.
"Councils worry me a bit at times," he said.
"A melaleuca tree may not be worth much to them, but to the community it is invaluable."
Mr Neralic said he thought Gladstone Regional Council had been secretive in their plans to uproot the iconic native trees.
"I'll be out here protesting, chained to the trees if I have to," he said.
"There is no good reason for them to take them away. It will devalue our home."
He is urging council to hold another public consultation meeting - and one that is adequately publicised, he says.
"They just want to take them down before anyone can do anything about it," he said. "I never received a letter. I never knew of any meeting. Just because I don't live on Pacific Ave does not mean I don't care about those trees."
Gladstone Regional Council, at their general meeting on April 21 discussed the options that had been explored as an alternative to destroying the trees.
Among the options were a redesign of the driveways, removing a portion of the trees or shifting the location of the footpath.
They didn't discuss integrating a lined pedestrian lane on the road, as on Glenlyon Rd, or the option of not constructing a footpath.
Pacific Ave resident Judy Cook said removing the trees would destroy the atmosphere of the street.
Neighbour Jason Case says the trees make him feel like he has arrived at home after a stint working away in Western Australia.
"I'm a bit disgusted at the council and the lack of a proper consultation process," he said.
"The meeting was arranged for 5pm which I find hard to believe would suit any Gladstone resident."
Portfolio councillor Rick Hansen yesterday would not confirm a date for removal of the trees.
What we know:
- November 2014: 20 native melaleuca trees are first marked for destruction
- November 21, 2014: Community objection and an article in this paper on November 15 force the council to consider alternatives
- February 11, 2015: Construction of the footpath at the eastern end begins
- March 30, 2015: A public consultation meeting is held. Four members of the public attend
- April 21, 2015: The council announces they will remove the trees