John Dransfield doesn’t want trees planted on the footpath outside his Beryl Street home.
John Dransfield doesn’t want trees planted on the footpath outside his Beryl Street home. Trevor Veale

Beryl resident attacks myrtle

LEMON scented myrtle might seem to have few enemies but John Dransfield can now be counted among them.

The Beryl Street resident is incensed at Coffs Harbour City Council’s plans to adorn his street with the small, dense white-flowered trees with their lemon-scented leaves and says his neighbours agree.

Mr Dransfield says Backhousia citriodora acquires a hollow centre which attracts white ants; he enjoys his view over Coffs Harbour, does not want it obscured by trees and he wants to be able to use the full extent of his footpath.

The retired electrical engineer said if the trees grew to their projected height, they would tangle in the overhead power lines.

He said Beryl Street was a busy street but he rejected the council’s claim that street trees assisted in traffic calming. A spokeswoman for the council said the planting of street trees had been a feature of the city since the 1960s and was largely instigated by local residents, with council taking on the planting in the 1980s.

“In 1999, council adopted the Street Tree Masterplan,” she said.

“The aim of the masterplan is to reinforce the colourful ‘garden city’ image. It also aimed to make the city more attractive to tourists and residents and complement and contrast with the city’s natural setting.

The proposed work in Beryl Street is part of this policy.

Brochures with information on the proposed plantings were distributed to residents ahead of the work inviting residents to contact council if they wanted further information or had any concerns.

The spokeswoman said council staff had already arranged to meet Mr Dransfield and discuss his concerns.

“The trees council uses for its street planting are chosen for their suitability and size – lemon myrtle trees do not grow to a height that will affect any power lines,” she said.

“Termites do not live in live trees, so council does not see this as an issue.

“The use of trees as a traffic-calming measure is an accepted approach in town planning, as a street lined with mature trees has the visual effect of narrowing the road.

“A majority of motorists, when faced with an apparently narrow road, will slow their speed as a result of the enclosure of their forward line of sight

“Apart from the form of the road and adjacent property, the major influence on the forward field of vision is the density and nature of roadside vegetation, including that in adjacent gardens.



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