Tree removal angers locals

By CRAIG McTEAR

FIONA Barden reckons a little bit of commonsense, and more consultation, should prevail in plans to axe trees at Bonville.

Mrs Barden, a co-owner of the Butterfly House, and other residents are angered by the proposed removal of forest to make way for a new local road alongside Strouds Road, as part of the Pacific Highway Bonville deviation.

She said many old trees, which also formed a sound barrier from highway traffic, were in the firing line, but up to 10 would remain.

The removal could start as early as today.

"Those trees have been here for a fair length of time," Mrs Barden said.

"None of us wants to stand in the way of the Pacific Highway being upgraded, but the question is, is this the most environmentally sensitive way to meet the needs of residents?

"There's been no real consultation. I believe the planned road should go closer to the highway, away from the older trees."

Marco Bacci, who has lived at Strouds Road for 12 years, says the planners hadn't done their homework.

"It's been done from an office, not here on the ground," he said.

Mr Bacci also said the area had been a known koala habitat.

The member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said he saw no need to remove the trees. He's asked the RTA to 'urgently reassess' the plan.

He said he met with residents after contractors Abigroup told them the trees which currently formed a sound barrier to their properties had to go.

"After inspecting the site, we approached Abigroup who advised us the alignment of the road meant the trees needed to be removed," Mr Fraser said.

"However, it is my belief the access road can be constructed without the removal of the trees, and therefore would not necessitate construction of sound barriers in the future, which would be needed if the trees were removed."

Mr Fraser said correspondence from Abigroup indicated the new curve had to be designed for 80km/hour speeds and sight distances.

"Yet no exit ramp on any section of the Pacific Highway has 80km/h speed limits, the majority are 60km/h and some are 40km/h.

"The correspondence also indicated that the design complied with a 1998 environmental impact statement. "I do not believe the 1998 EIS would now properly reflect the current concerns of residents in the area."



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