Calls to clear trees on Jetty Beach for boardwalk views
A GROUP of Coffs Harbour business leaders have called on the Coffs Harbour City Council to clear vegetation on the dunes of Jetty Beach that would obstruct views from the boardwalk that's being constructed below the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club and linking to the historic Jetty.
Under current planning for the $9.2 million Jetty4Shores upgrade the native trees planted in the 1980s to stablise the dunes would remain in front of the proposed boardwalk.
Bachrach Naumburger Group general manager Steve Gooley said vegetation, largely casuarinas (she oaks) should be 'thinned' at the location, as part of current works on stages 2 to 4 of the Jetty4Shores redevelopment.
Do you support calls to clear vegetation on Jetty Beach in front of the proposed boardwalk?
This poll ended on 15 August 2017.
Yes, I believe the vegetation should be 'thinned' to enhance views
No, the vegetation should remain the same
Yes, the trees should be felled and the grassed dune kept with selected tree plantings
No, the area should remain the same with pruning and maintenance to the vegetation
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
These stages include construction of an open plaza area with steps on to the northern end of Jetty Beach and the boardwalk behind the exiting beachfront vegetation, linking the plaza to the historic Jetty and market area.
"I think (vegetation clearing) was definitely raised (during community consultation) and I think most people from a practical common-sense point of view just expected the trees were not going to be there or would be thinned out," Mr Gooley said.
"To spend the money that they are spending on the boardwalk, and the boardwalk is a large component of this development, and then to not have ocean views or corridors of views is not the best move.
"We all absolutely realise that this is going to be an economic driver and a tourist driver for Coffs Harbour and we just need to do it properly.
"I have been advised by a couple of the contractors it will cost about three to four times more to remove the trees into the future than to do it now.
"What will be here will be fantastic and I congratulate council and the Federal Government for what they have done to put this together, but to leave this tiny aspect to cater to a minority (who want to see the trees remain) I feel would be insanity."
Construction on the latest $9.2 million Jetty Foreshores upgrade, funded jointly by Coffs Harbour City Council and the Australian Government's Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, started last month and weather pending work should be completed by the end of August.
Jetty Foreshores stakeholder Marcus Blackwell, owner of Latitude 30, suggested perhaps the dune area could be cleared and replanted to enhance the view from the boardwalk.
Mr Blackwell said it made sense to address the matter, while construction teams were on the job, despite the previous call for public submissions under the project's community consultation period.
"It's never too late to change anything is it, if we look at what's been done so far it will create a beautiful space with the ampitheatre and the space for the markets, but if something is going wrong let's deal with it now so it's right," Mr Blackwell said.
He said a grassed bank for family picnics lined with more Norfolk Island pine plantings would prove a community asset.
"If we could have another half a dozen or a dozen of them put along the front here I think it would look fabulous," Mr Blackwell said.
Craig Spencer, the director of FM Glenn Constructions agreed with the need to re-landscape the area.
"It's a matter of careful selection but replacing the trees with some decent looking trees but not clumped in groups so you can still have a beautiful view.
"The whole idea of a boardwalk is that you have a view."
Coffs Harbour City Council have responded to the calls.
"The overall message that came out of the long and very extensive community consultation that became the Jetty4Shores upgrade was that the community wanted to see balance between the unique environment of the foreshores and the social and economic improvements that the project will achieve," the council said in a statement.
"Specifically the community wanted to see the Jetty area maintain the point of difference it enjoys with the many, many beach areas up and down the east coast.
"The vegetation provides a very important role in dunal stabilisation and wind protection.
"It also contains some important endangered plant communities. The independent assessment of the vegetation that was undertaken before the Jetty4Shores project began also highlighted the mosaic of views that retaining vegetation along the foreshore would provide.
The Council said it has developed a Vegetation Management Plan, which will guide the way forward once the whole upgrade, including the current works and boardwalk, is completed to ensure that the upgrade features and vegetation work together to provide the best experience for visitors.
"Removing vegetation now and then replanting it in the future, perhaps having to put other hard structures in place in the meantime to provide wind and dune protection, would add hugely to the expense of the project and would take years to achieve," a council spokesperson said.
Let us know your thoughts and vote in the online poll.