Appetite for destruction outrages expert

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Appetite for destruction outrages expert

Local landscape designer, John Sullivan, has expressed his outrage at Cairns Regional Council's decision to remove more than 50 coconut palms near the foreshore at Four Mile.

Mr Sullivan took aim at Council in an email saying the reasons for the removal provided by Council were deeply flawed.

Here is what he had to say:

I think the accompanying video showing the destruction of 100 year old Iconic pan pacific vegetation (Coconut Palms) from our beaches, is disturbing! It was done yesterday by our revegetation specialists in Cairns Regional Council.

They have stated that the fronds from these 55 coconut palms(!!!!) would not allow the 3000 native plants they are going to plant a chance to grow! This is outrageous..just take a look at the rest of Four Mile beach!!!!!  It has native vegetation growing well under Coconuts for its entire length!

Couldn’t the money be better spent cleaning up the African Oil Palms or simply fencing the area to naturally regenerate at very little cost? Try actually dealing with the area 50m down the beach where erosion is actually occurring? We believe this stand of Palms may date back to the late 1800’s…(checking this).

This project sets a precedent for the rest of the Cairns Region. Will all coconut palms apart from the front three rows be removed from all our beaches? This is an urban interface. The revegetation is great but why destroy 55 mature trees that are as much a part of our coast line as Casuarinas, Beach Almond and Sea Lettuce?

Initially they told the Gazette that they needed to be removed because of beach erosion….wouldn’t that involve the first three rows of beachfront coconuts? The ones they are leaving?

Consultation was not undertaken regarding the removal of coconuts. The last information given to residents was last April stating that revegetation would take place but nothing else!

Did you know about the Council consultation process to remove the coconut palms?  Take part in our home page poll. 

I am horrified by this behavior under the cover of revegetation. I had thought that working with Cairns Regional Council as part of the Urban Design Advisory Board (UDAB) was to provide advice for what is good design to our Councilors for our region.  

I thought this might have delivered tangible benefits to Douglas and the way its future was managed. This act shows a great lack of understanding of the Identity, not only of Douglas Residents but also Cairns.

We will never achieve a great level of design while we fail to understand our history (both good and bad), which defines our present and allows us to create a greater sense of our identity in the future.

This is not the work of Councilors but the lack of control they have over the bureaucracy  below them! I was told that these works are “operational” and the Councilors were not part of the approval process? Tragic.

News just in is that Council have reportedly halted work on the removal of the palms with six of the 55 remaining.

Did you know about the Council consultation process to remove the coconut palms?  Take part in our home page poll.   

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