Our heritage camphor laurels

Ed, Cr Andrew Baker has put forward a simplified plan for the redevelopment of McLachlan Park in Maclean. But the plan can be even less costly and more rational. The community never asked for bells and whistles, but we have repeatedly asked for the retention of the park’s greatest assets, the heritage trees. Cr Simmons is correct. This is a contentious issue. And we’re all sick of it. But you don’t decide to act just to be seen to be finally doing something if it is against the wishes of the public. The community is not happy about the fact that the removal of the four century-old camphor laurel trees is still on the agenda. Why is Cr Baker so hell-bent on destroying these iconic trees? He may say that he is finally implementing an out-of-date, unreviewed Plan of Management for the park. If it is so urgent that these ‘weeds’ be cut down, why hasn’t it already been done in the thirteen years since it was drawn up? I don’t believe that Cr Baker or any of the other councilors are agitating for all the other equally noxious camphor laurels in the valley to be felled. All those in Grafton, Chatsworth and in the Maclean Showground? Why not? The huge cost of removal, and the expense of buying mature replacement trees doesn’t seem to be a factor either. Why not? Isn’t CVC scrabbling for money on all fronts – selling our assets and increasing our rates? A petition signed by 1,500 people protesting this proposed act of vandalism was presented to Council and apparently ignored. Why? Was it because some of the signatories were tourists? Aren’t our tourists very important to our economy? At least 90% of people surveyed wanted the trees saved. Cr Simmons is incorrect when he says that one tree has to be removed to construct an exit lane from the so-called SPAR car park. You could put in a wider-than-required lane without doing more to the trees than trimming a branch. Two arborists reports have concluded that all the trees are healthy enough to be retained. Our Council knows the value of tree retention and is actively planting trees in many areas. We thank you for the many trees planted recently along the high side of River/Cameron Street – from the High School to the solar shop. But please save the most important trees in Maclean – our heritage camphor laurels that add great beauty to the northern entrance to our town, our riverbank, our park and our main street. Nicki Holmes, Maclean