Saturday, 19 September 2020
Readers react to Scenic Rim council decision to cut down trees

Sarah Finnie used a photo to underpin her comments about the  potential loss of the trees: 

There is no way the council should be able to cut down these trees without the community’s permission.  

The trees are not only lovely to look at, provide shade, a much-needed breeze in warmer months and I am sure, a source of food for native wildlife.  

Who would choose an artificial landscape in a country town?  

Thank you for writing the article, can we please start a petition to keep the trees?

I was appalled to read of Council’s decision to remove trees from High Street as an integral part of the 'beautification' of the town centre redevelopment.

One of the great attractions of Boonah over almost every other town in the Scenic Rim and elsewhere, is the ambience created by having firstly, a one-way street, and secondly, the presence of those trees in High Street. They give a welcoming atmosphere to the many thousands of visitors who comment on what an attractive place Boonah is, thanks to that ambience.

So the trees are an invasive species. In the bush maybe, but what are they going to invade in High Street? Maynards menswear department? Surely in the 30 years they have been there, if they were a problem it would have manifested itself by now.

And sandstone seating is to be installed there. Great, they can be very attractive, but with social distancing that has become a reality in modern life, the omission of four seats where the trees are growing is not going to have a great impact on the communities desire to sit and watch the world go by. Artificial shading can never replace the enjoyment of sitting under shade trees.

Council has done a great job in front of the Council Admin Centre but surely a bit of common sense could prevail in the planning of this redevelopment. It seems the planners and consultants don’t come from around this area as they show very little appreciation or understanding of the community.

Having spent several hours in High Street on Friday, I cannot recount the number of people - total strangers to me - who expressed their dismay at the plans to remove those trees.

It's not too late to amend the planning so please, save the trees.

— Graeme Crouch, Kalbar

High Street should not be ruined by the removal of the Evergreen Ash trees. Without them the country feel of High Street would be lost and all of its character.  It would become more like a city street.

Why listen to a consultant who probably doesn't live here? As stated there is no evidence of seedling growth in High Street nor at stormwater outlets.

Leave the trees alone!

— Concerned resident 

(Name supplied)

A big ‘No’ to the removal of the beautiful shade trees in the main street. 

Their age and summer cooling effect are a real asset to Boonah’s High Street.

Was the decision made by the same council ‘consultant’ that had the beautiful mature Sasanqua camellias removed from the park in front of the old council building. That park looks like a wasteland with the remaining mature tree, the native Tulipwood (Harpullia pendulua) trying hard to survive. 

Thanks for reading this. I have never written to a newspaper in my 70 odd years on earth, five living near beautiful Boonah with its unique and beautiful main street.

— Teresa Ward

Why are we surprised? Council has removed every decent looking thing in the town eg the willow trees in Springleigh Park (which do not sucker) and replaced them with plants that you generally can’t see past ... how long till a child gets hit on a crossing? 

— Name supplied

‘High Street shade trees face the chop’ (FG, Wednesday, August 12, 2020)

Is this a headline from last century?

Responsible councils do not remove healthy trees without good reason in 2020. The ash trees provide shelter for Boonah citizens and tourists. They are also home to many native animals and birds. Does Council have a plan in place to relocate the wildlife when its habitat is destroyed?

The Boonah community (which owns the trees) must take immediate action. Email council today to have your say.

Unless we act now, the trees will disappear one night and it will  be too late to save them.      — Marie Phelan, Hoya

I think it would be a great shame to remove the Evergreen Ash trees. 

Despite their weed status - I too have yet to see them popping up like our Jacaranda friends. 

They provide shade, ambience and habitat enriching our streetscape. Certainly beats walking down a street bereft of trees. 

— Joe Wilde 

Why, why, why?

  I just do not understand why the council would want to do this. 

Are they trying to make work for themselves? 

Just a moronic thing to do! 

Those trees, regardless if they are classified as an ‘invasive species’, offer shade and add to the overall lovely appearance of the street itself.

Do not remove the trees - please!

— Carolyn Dowse

I have just read this week’s paper and was disgusted and horrified to read that the council is about to remove four of the trees in High Street. 

What is the council thinking when those trees make Boonah different from other country towns whose main streets are devoid of trees and look so hot and bare.

Remember the old song, ‘Tar and Cement’ - Where are the lilacs … where the tall grass … nothing but acres of tar and cement! 

Is this what the council wants?

When you turn the corner at Church Street and look down High Street it is the trees you notice. 

I do hope the people of Boonah rally and prevent this happening.

The Jacaranda trees along Yeates Avenue are also magnificent especially when in full bloom.

— Wendy Blumson, Mt Alford

It is with great disappointment we read in our local paper that four trees will be removed from High Street. 

My wife and I spent the first six months of 2019 visiting rural towns between Brisbane and Toowoomba to find a spot where we would be happy to enjoy our retirement years away from city life. 

In the end, Boonah came out on top by miles. 

The friendly and welcoming residents, nice mix of shops and essential services, but what really did it for us was High Street, no through traffic, just one way at a leisurely pace, coffee shops and SHADE on a hot day. 

Without trees there will be no cooling effect and the planned extra seating will just be too hot to use in summer. 

We fear High Street will turn into a car park and the street will lose its country feel and charm.

We feel for Boonah Christmas Cheer Makers. Their effort made Christmas in Boonah a very special experience for us and our grandchildren.

I thought the council was supposed to listen to the citizens, not just act on engineers and expert advice, what’s the point of having elected representatives then?

— Lene & Olaf Moller, Boonah

The shade trees in High Street should absolutely NOT be cut down. 

The Council should re-visit the whole plan for this area. 

Our Mayor seems to be fascinated with providing ‘seating’ in our towns for people to purchase food and sit and eat. With the advent of Covid-19 we may never be able to sit about together eating again. 

What our towns need is more parking to allow more people to park and shop at our local businesses. 

Boonah is especially difficult for older persons like myself as I have to walk with an aid, others with a major disability, and indeed parents with prams have a bit of a struggle. The ramp at the back of IGA is very steep, as is their carpark. The level carpark at the back of the Council Offices appears to be filled with Council workers cars. 

Even the shrub planting and associated wooden horse railing in High Street has created a problem for passengers trying to alight from the passenger side of the vehicle at the curb side parking. 

  If Council wreck the High Street in Boonah, and parking is made more difficult, with the building of a new large shopping centre in Yamanto, I believe many local folk - myself included - will reluctantly have to say to our local traders “Sorry Boonah – Yamanto here we come!”.

 — Carol Toal, Mount Alford

I was living here when the Boonah Shire Council planted the streetscape in High Street and I thought then how wonderful they will be when they grow tall. 

Now they have grown, I am horrified that the current council plan to remove some of those trees for which they are hell bent on ‘Redevelopment’. 

Certainly, the footpaths need attention, but to spend more of our tax money on more consultants defies belief.

People need to be kept employed but at what cost to our beautiful community?

I volunteer in the Art Gallery on a Sunday. And 95 percent of visitors are from out of town. They love coming to Boonah to visit, and it is the country feel of the town which they enjoy most. 

Yeates Avenue will be nothing if the Jacarandas are removed. Why, Oh why? 

Council - spend this money eradicating Fire Weed, Johnson Grass and Noogoora Burr on your roads first.

— Jane Bell, Coochin

We are very distressed to read that four shade trees in Boonah’s main street are to be cut down as part of the Town Centre Redevelopment.  

These beautiful trees do not represent a risk of invasiveness in this built up environment.  Without them the street will look bare and unattractive.  

We prefer to shop in an attractive and green leafy shopping precinct. 

The Council does not need to remove trees and change the streetscape when there are so many other important issues to address.

— Barry and Leith Brackin

My husband and I object VERY strongly to the destruction of these trees in High Street Boonah. 

This Council is running amok with no consideration of what the people in Boonah actually want. 

All comments from the Council appear to be made by “an unnamed Council spokesperson”, not just on this issue but also on Moogerah Dam. 

We have had enough!

— Caroline and Rob Dalglish, 

Concerned Ratepayers

I am appalled and outraged at the Council decision to remove trees in High St Boonah.

As residents for over 40 years, my family has watched those trees grow, and enjoyed their beauty and shade. They are a major part of the pleasant shopping experience for both locals and tourists.

We know that the species Fraxinus griffithii is listed as invasive.

Is there evidence of any invasion over the last 30 years that they have been there? In an environment of bitumen and paving?  

We are fed up with the Council’s frequent engagement of expensive consultants from elsewhere who tell us what to do.  

— Barbara Snelling, Mt Alford

A developer's dream! Four trees to destroy!

How can the removal of well-established trees - to be replaced by a no-doubt steel and plastic shade structure - be justified as beautification?

How convenient that the Council has suddenly been advised by BioSecurity Queensland that they are an invasive species and should be removed. If these mature trees are invasive, how is it that the Council was not aware of this when they were planted?

How can the Council remove these trees and leave the street at the mercy of the summer heat? The people of this town need the protection of this shade to do their shopping and go about their business.

— Andrew Hockley, Dugandan

Total insanity.

Whoever thought of replacing trees with sandstone should be certified.  

I won’t waste space listing the reasons.

Everyone knows them. I will campaign vigorously against this obscene act.

This is not about politics. This is about the community, the environment and common sense. 

— Clive Beaton

Another retrograde step foisted upon us. Who will want to sit on sandstone seating when the shade source has been destroyed?

And how does the cost of the ‘shade structure’ shape up against the free shade provided by the existing trees?

The whole project would appear to require a total re-think and an action research approach. 

I can’t even find the words to comment on the lack of consultation. 

A council for the 21st century? Perhaps not. 

— Sharyn Rackley

This is an absolutely appalling move. Shame on Scenic Rim Regional Council and anyone who has agreed to this decision. 

How about instead, undertaking high pressure cleaning to remove the bird droppings once a week. Wouldn’t take much effort. 

Do we really need a revamp to our streetscape? I believe funds allocated towards improving the conditions of our local roads providing safe transit for locals and our ‘visitors’ to the town would be a far more suitable option. 

Upgrading our local parks and community spaces away from the main street would be a better solution. Encouraging more people to enjoy the stunning outdoors and public spaces our region has to offer. 

When was the last time someone drove past Springleigh Park on a weekend and didn’t see loads of people? 

Mr Mayor, your constituents in Boonah and surrounds are venting their opinions about the management of the Council you lead. How about listening to the people paying your wage? 

Best suggest council finds a way of addressing local residents in a Covid-safe manner on this issue and fast too. 

— Jo Martin

Council decisions made by those from cool air-conditioned offices have no idea of the heat that radiates off unshaded bitumen and footpaths in a rural roadside shopping area. 

The trees are the only thing that shades the bitumen and foot paths giving some cooling and shade from 6 months of the year of extreme heat from the summer sun. 

— Susan Hadgkiss

For goodness sake! We have watched those trees grow with the town. They are beautiful, and the shade is welcomed as summer hits. 

Leave them alone, I can think of ways the money can be better spent, than planting and replanting something else a few years later. 

— Cathy Milano

When the council rep stood in the main street asking us how we felt we could improve the strip, she asked me about removing the trees; multiple times and in many different ways.

I held my ground on saying they were fine for me. She said things like them being a nuisance and blocking pedestrian view of cars but she couldn’t get me to agree.

Actually, my request was for a pedestrian crossing directly to the park, as it’s not always easy with young children, or even a pram at the gutters. Her response was that it was outside the scope. 

— Gus and Bindi Macklin

Archaic decision to remove mature trees. Mature street trees are one of a city’s greatest assets. Obviously a better design is needed. 

Community sentiment is clearly in favour of keeping these trees. 

Council are supposed to conduct community consultation and genuinely act on the feedback of their constituents.

 — Amanda Lake