Operator Isabella Smietanski checks out the harbour from the Beacon Hill Marine Rescue base. Rapidly-growing trees are gradually obscuring the view.
Operator Isabella Smietanski checks out the harbour from the Beacon Hill Marine Rescue base. Rapidly-growing trees are gradually obscuring the view. Leigh Jensen

Lookout views disappearing

IN a local version of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which was hidden by a growing forest while the princess slept on, Coffs Harbour’s famous views are slowly disappearing from sight.

To the dismay of residents, visitors and emergency services volunteers, popular lookouts are vanishing into vegetation.

“Surely a lookout needs to look out,” said Coffs Harbour’s Alan Jenkinson.

“As a 30-year resident of Coffs Harbour, I take great pride and pleasure in showing visitors around our town, particularly overseas visitors.

“One of the points of interest I have always shown them is Beacon Hill Lookout, which in earlier days had views to die for.

“Lately other than a direct view east out to sea, there is virtually no view south over the airport and to Sawtell and precious little north. Is it possible for the council to trim the overgrown trees so I can once more ‘show off’ my town, after all we are a tourist destination?”

But Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades says he is not the fairytale prince who can break the spell and make the forest vanish.

Cr Rhoades said Coffs Harbour City Council had been asking the State Government via the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water ‘for years’ for approval to prune the trees, which he said would make them bushier at the bottom and better able to survive fierce winds.

“Communities are screaming for headlands with views and we are paying the penalty as a tourist town for losing our views,” the mayor said.

Cr Rhoades said Boambee Headland, which had formerly also had a panoramic view, had lost its views over Sawtell towards Bonville.

Unit commander Graeme King said it was making the unit’s job more and more difficult.

“We need to be able to see what’s going on in the harbour and marina,’ Mr King said.

“We can’t see Corambirra Point or anything south and we have not had that view for some time.”



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