Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why did Bellingen Council kill this grand old tree?

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Camphor laurel stump
Originally uploaded by Pip_Wilson.

Pictured is your almanackist atop a massive Camphor laurel tree stump near Lavenders Bridge in the heart of my hometown of Bellingen. Last week the tree was removed by Bellingen Shire Council in order to widen the footpath that winds from Church Street to the bridge -- a footpath that I frequently use and seemed to me and others to be already perfectly fine and not in need of changes.

While Council planned this baffling exercise, other important works such as a landslip covering Waterfall Way at the Gordonville cutting were not fixed for months (and the landslip was cleared in just a few hours when Council finally got around to it). The road base that washed away in the lane from Dowle Street to Wheatley street near my home and Community Radio 2BBB-FM's studios has not been repaired since the March 31 flood. So, I must ask, what was the importance of this footpath, and why were beautiful big shade trees removed at great expense to the ratepayers?

It's true that Camphor laurels spread seed to unwanted places, but there are thousands of them in the district that are not attractions like the ones in town, which are very old and give the comfort of shade and beauty to residents and tourists alike. The ones in town should, I think, be the very last to go.

I'm a member of the Rainbow Region Flickr group for North-eastern New South Wales.

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