Smith's Crossing tree-chop outrage
ENVIRONMENTAL groups have condemned the Bundaberg Regional Council after finding trees they had been working to save had been cut down.
Smith's Crossing Rainforest Rehabilitation Project co-ordinator Mike Johnson said when volunteers arrived for their working bee on National Tree Day on Sunday, all they found were tree stumps.
“We couldn't believe our eyes,” Mr Johnson said.
“The destruction they caused putting in the new toilet block was bad enough, but this is just environmental vandalism.”
The Landcare president said councillor Danny Rowleson and Natural Resources manager Nick Maclean had done their best to “instil environmental credentials in both council and the on-ground staff”.
“Their efforts are being ignored by our elected officers and council workers who are making a mockery of the very word ‘conservation',” Mr Johnson said.
However, Cr Rowleson disagreed, saying the trees were cut down because they were a danger to the community.
“The majority of these were already dead and the remainder were split or suffering severe effects of dry rot or Cats Claw creeper,” he said.
“Being in the well-used picnic area, they were a danger to members of the public and workers in the park.”
Council's manager of environmental services Geordie Lascelles said the trees and stumps were removed more than a fortnight ago.
“The trees were removed from the maintained park area only, where people picnic and swim, close to the car park,” he said.
“No trees were removed from the natural bush area where Landcare is doing project work.”
Bundaberg Bird Observers president Bill Moorhead said volunteers often had to pull Cats Claw creeper from the trees.
“One of the Landcare ladies who called me was almost in tears,” he said.
“It's heartbreaking for volunteers to see.”
Mr Moorhead said he had been going to Smith's Crossing for about 20 years to spot birds.
“It's a gorgeous spot and an ideal habitat for birds,” he said.
“Council needs to put nature first.”