No 11th-hour reprieve for trees

EVEN taking community concerns into consideration, Bellingen Shire mayor Mark Troy believes the council will favour the removal of the first two camphor laurels in Church Street.

“This would allow the initial stage of the Church Street upgrade to proceed,” Cr Troy said.

He said the original decision to upgrade the Bellingen CBD was made by the previous council in 2006.

“It followed a long process of developing a master plan, which included extensive community consultation.

“The camphor laurels were discussed then and the only reason there was no action was because there were no funds available.”

Cr Troy said now the money was there thanks to a $30,000 grant under the Federal government's stimulus package.

“When the trees were planted all those years ago, it was visionary for that time but now they have deteriorated and we need to look at the future not into the past.”

He said the arborist's report had indicated the trees were in a state of decline although the plan was to retain the two gateway trees until the first replacement trees were established.

“I do encourage people to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. It would be a shame to only partially upgrade the CBD.”

The debate as to what type of trees would be used to replace the camphor laurels is still unresolved.

Organiser of the campaign to save the Church Street trees Ziggy Konigseder said last Friday's rally showed how much people cared for the trees. Yesterday she delivered petitions with close to four hundred signatures to the council.

On Friday, November 19 there will be a candlelight vigil under the trees.

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