Woman fears for turtles after branches are cut
"THEY must have had a heyday here.”
Bargara resident and Wildlife Queensland member Pam Soper has been left scratching her head after she discovered at least 40 branches had been cut away from trees shadowing the foreshore along Archies Beach.
Ms Soper said it appeared the work had been carried out by Bundaberg Regional Council in the past two weeks, while she was away.
What really angers Ms Soper, however, are the possible repercussions for turtles, whose appearance along our beaches is expected any day now.
"You can see where they've cut branches back right to the main trunk,” she said.
"It's senseless. I think it is absolute vandalism to go into a protected dune area and remove such large branches ... from trees that are protecting the dunes and also preventing light spill on to the beach where turtles come to nest.”
Walking along Archies Beach at night, Ms Soper said the exposure was even more noticeable as light from neighbouring properties on Durdins Rd and Bussey St spilled on to the beach, including the cage that is used to house relocated turtle eggs.
"They need to put up a light barrier to stop the light coming into the beach,” Ms Soper said.
Council environment and natural resources spokesman Bill Trevor said the pruning was for hazard-reduction purposes, ridding the coastal pathway of overhanging branches to ensure the walkway's safety.
"This work has been carried out with the aim to maintain a safe clearance for people using the pathways. Council does not believe that the pruning of branches will affect the turtle nesting season,” he said.
"The pruning that was undertaken, we believe, will result in a negligible amount of additional light from the street onto the beach. It should be pointed out that the pruning has only been undertaken on the street side of these trees. The opposite side has not been touched, so therefore will maintain a level of screening from the street to the beach.”
However, Ms Soper does not agree and said some of the branches that were removed posed no risk to pedestrians.
"The ones inside would not have any impact on people walking whatsoever,” she said.
Ms Soper has been a member of Wildlife Queensland since the 1980s and was partly responsible for initial protection measures for turtles at Mon Repos.
"We got protection for turtles at Mon Repos but there have been turtles coming up here (to Archies) to nest for 40 years and the numbers here have dropped considerably,” she said.
"The rangers at Mon Repos should be horrified.”