Council to review trees in Boonah town centre

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Scenic Rim Regional Council will review options with regard to the proposed removal of the Himalayan Ash (Fraxinus griffithii) trees in Boonah Town Centre.

Following feedback from across the community, Mayor Greg Christensen said Council officers would review Stage 2 of the revitalisation project to see if there are alternative solutions to the removal of the trees, which were identified as an invasive species by an independent arborist.

"Division 5 Councillor, Marshall Chalk has put forward a Notice of Motion for next week's Ordinary Council Meeting to investigate any alternative solutions to the removal of the trees,” Cr Christensen said.

"While the motion is still to go to Council, Cr Chalk and myself have spoken to Chief Executive Officer Jon Gibbons and suggested a review of the engineering designs now.

"We recognise the proposed removal of the trees has caused some concern in the community and we want the community to know that we are listening to them."

Division 5 Councillor Marshall Chalk said he had put forward a Notice of Motion for next week's Ordinary Council Meeting in response to community concerns.

"While acknowledging the prior two years of consultation regarding this project, I am seeking further details to the extent of community engagement and consultation throughout the development of this project, and will be requesting a report be presented to Council at the next Ordinary Meeting," he said.

Cr Chalk also said the review would need to understand the impact to the overall project outcomes in respect of fulfilling grant funding terms, legislative compliance and any financial impacts to Council.

"Officers will look to see if there are options that may limit the risk of the invasive trees' seeds spreading in the environment," he said.

"The review will also need to understand any other impacts on all abilities compliant parking access, car parking, and the safety of all users on the street if the trees were to remain.

"Additionally, the review will need to satisfy current design guidelines and legislative requirements, while maintaining the intent of the Vibrant and Active Towns and Villages Masterplan and the funding guidelines.

"We know that, after two years of consultation, the Queensland and Australian Governments are keen for the work to proceed."

Cr Christensen said it was important to allow the engineering teams reviewing the works to be the technical experts.

"Neither Council nor the community are the technical or design experts, so we need now to let this process take place,” he said.

"Of course, Council will also need to factor in any costs to changes in design and look to make savings elsewhere."

Across the region, Cr Christensen said there are many examples of invasive species that were also planted with good intent at a point in time.

"As Council continues to review the existence of such trees in public spaces, we will act responsibly to reduce the risks to our spectacular environment by removing and replacing over time,” he said.

"We will continue to passionately work to restore and support the quality of our natural environment, as evidenced in our recent investments in streetscapes upgrades and plantings in a number of locations in the region and our ongoing commitment to resilient rivers waterway preservation, our million trees investment and collaboration with landowners to restore endemic vegetation."

It's important to note, the two large Leopard trees (Caesalpinia ferrea) located at the intersection with Park Street will not be removed, nor will any other street trees along the High Street within this project.

Outcomes from the review will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.

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