A Marine Drive Foreshore Reference Group has been established in order to be a conduit to obtain feedback from the community on issues which impact on the Marine Drive Foreshore at Tea Gardens.
The group was establish shortly after Council were planning on cutting down the iconic Coral trees located on the foreshore only weeks ago.
The trees have brought mixed comments and opinion, however it has been agreed by Council that there was a lack of communication with the community over the issues relating to these Coral Trees.
On the committee is Councillor Len Roberts and Andrew Staniland from Great Lakes Council.
Leigh Allen is representing Marine Drive Art Walk, Lee Anderson is representing Marine Drive Business, Trevor Jennings Hawks Nest Progress Association, Jim Rutter is representing Chamber of Commerce, Gordon Grainger represents the Marine Drive Residents, Adrienne Ingram is from the Myall Koala & Environment Group and Trevor Cook represents the Historical Society.
The group conducted its first meeting on 27 November where the following questions were raised.
l Why do the trees have to go, are they diseased?
l Was the heritage value of the trees considered?
l Why can some Councils retain Coral Trees and others
- Why are there different listings on the Noxious Weeds list, can Coral Trees be relisted so they don’t have to be removed?
- Were the trees assessed by a qualified independent arborist?
- Do the Coral trees along the Marine Drive foreshore spread vegetatively? Do they drop branches?
- In 2008 Council made a provision to retain these trees, what happened to that plan?
- If they have to be removed, how will they be removed, and what will be put in their place?
- Does Council have a long term management plan for this area?
- Is it possible to prop the trees so they can be retained?
- Will Council get a second opinion on the trees from an independent arborist?
ANDREW Staniland responded to the these questions. Below is a brief summary of his response:
The car park upgrade damaged the identified trees.
Up to 50% of the root system on each tree was damaged and removed.
This action has destabilised the trees, which results in the need for removal, as there is a high risk that the identified trees will fall in a storm event or in the event of strong winds from the south west.
Council’s Tree Officer undertook a Visual Tree Hazard assessment to determine this risk.
The coral trees along Marine Drive are in a highly managed and maintained environment.
This maintenance has restricted the ability for the trees to spread vegetatively in this location.
Further, over the years the trees have received maintenance works to ensure they do not impact on overhead wires.
It is financially impracticable to spend money on propping up these trees.
The funds and infrastructure required to undertake this task would be better spent in the replacement of the trees.
Further, the damage to the root system will see these trees decline, which will result in the propping not being effective.
Council are developing a replacement program.
This program will see mature suitable replacement species placed along the foreshore in this location.
The program will expand to the rest of the Marine Drive Foreshore to slowly replace the other identified Coral Trees.
Questions in relation to the Noxious weeds act and classification of Coral Trees were deferred to the next meeting, as Mr Staniland wanted to ensure he gave the correct information in relation to this topic.
Question in relation to the 2008 plan, and why Council deferred from this plan, were unable to be answered during this meeting, as Mr Staniland was unaware of the existence of the plan.
Question in relation to a second arborist opinion, will be put to Council.
From here, Mr Staniland will investigate the Noxious Weeds act and determine why species are listed as different categories in different council areas.
He will also investigate why Council deferred from the 2008 plan as well as request Council to consider a second arborist opinion.
Letter to the Editor this week from Ian Morphett, Hawks Nest