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28 May, 2021

Upset about mis-tree-tment

A group of Machans Beach residents are devastated about the loss of a tamarind tree which they planted in 2005, watering and nurturing it from a seed. It was recently cut down by council to make way for a new cycle path.

By Tanya Murphy

The tamarind tree

“This was one of four tamarind trees planted in 2005 by a working bee of local residents led by our then Councillor Margaret Cochrane,” said Machans Beach resident Deryck Thompson.

“These trees were germinated from seed gathered from the tamarind tree on the Smart’s farm which was blown over by Cyclone Steve in 2000.

“The young trees were watered and cared for by Machans residents in their early stages.”

Mr Thompson said the tree could have been circumnavigated by the bike path, or relocated.

He said a small sign had been placed on the tree to notify residents of its impending demise, but many had not noticed the sign and were therefore distressed to see it suddenly gone.

“I would like to know, what will Council do to replace this tree and to protect the replacement from such environmental vandalism in future?” said Mr Thompson.

“I’d like to see Council develop a tree protection policy which will cover all trees on public land, and prior community consultation should occur if such tree removals are considered in future.”

Mr Thompson said residents were also distressed about the loss of a bloodwood tree on School Street which was recently cut down by Ergon contractors.

“I am very concerned about the loss of this tree which was estimated to be about 80 years old and was the nesting and safe harbour tree for many birds,” he said.

“It was growing on public land and no branches were growing close to the powerlines as they had all been cut in previous years.”

Division Eight Councillor Rhonda Coghlan said council had tree management policies that included approval processes for removal by any party, including Ergon.

“Our arborists work closely with design and construction teams to develop paths that curve to minimise impacts on established trees,” she said.

“Where there are conflicts with infrastructure that result in unavoidable removals, Council has a standard practice of planting new trees.

“The tamarind tree in question was removed after an arborist’s assessment concluded it was not thriving and its low branches could pose a risk to cyclists using the new path.

“I informed the Machans Beach Residents Association at the last monthly meeting on the tenth of May that Council is replacing the tree with three large, well established tamarinds in a nearby location.

“Cairns has the largest urban forest in Queensland and more than 20,000 trees are planted and supplied by Council each year for revegetation projects across the region.

“These projects focus on naturally vegetated areas and target biodiversity corridors and connections.

“Council also has an annual streetscape tree planting program that focusses on suburbs and streets to increase the percentage of trees in those areas.”

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