Resort management reveals root cause of tree removal
THE NEW owners of Don Pancho Resort have explained why a handful of trees were removed from the foreshore along Kelly's Beach.
The removal of the trees sparked a social media backlash over the weekend.
Star Hotel Group's Steven Shoobridge said there were safety concerns about the trees and they were only removed after the company sought clearance from the relevant authorities.
"We were allowed to remove the plants as they were all on our land and were actually breaking the rock up and dropping limbs so (posed) a safety issue," Mr Shoobridge said.
"Don Pancho intends to renovate the foreshore vegetation similar to other high end properties along the Kelly Beach area.
He said there were exciting plans to rejuvenate the resort.
"We will be investing a lot of money into the Don Pancho Resort over the coming years turning it from a 3.5 star to a 4.5 star property," Mr Shoobridge said.
"We will be contracting many local tradesmen for the rejuvenation of such an iconic property that has been standing for more than 40 years and we intend on keeping the original features as much as possible."
He said the project would create more than 30 new jobs once the resort was back running at full capacity.
The transformation includes the re-opening of a restaurant at the resort.
"The property will be one of the highest quality accommodation providers in the Bundaberg region and this will assist attracting more tourists and corporate trade who all in turn spend money into local businesses.
"It is an amazingly well build property in one of Australia's best kept secrets - Bargara (and) we have great faith in the Bargara area as it is beautiful and just amazing how well it is kept by the local council and locals alike."
Bundaberg Landcare president Mike Johnson said he estimated the trees, which looked like giant bonsai trees, were more than 100 years old.
"My Grandfather took me down to Kelly's Beach when I was nine and those trees had been there for years at that point … and I'm 59 now," Mr Johnson said.
"It's part of our heritage … we want the Bundaberg Council to create tree laws for private property."
Divisional councillor Greg Barnes said he'd asked for a full briefing.