Council makes decision on Boonah High Street trees

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Today, Scenic Rim Regional Council moved to retain three of the four Himalayan Ash (Fraxinus griffithii) trees in Boonah Town Centre following a review into alternative solutions for their future.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said Council had responded to the community's concern and undertook an analysis of several options, some of which were suggested by the local community.

"We were presented with a number of options to keep some of the invasive trees, all which have respective trade-offs in relation to risk, design outcomes, project costs and ongoing operational costs," he said.

"Council agreed to relocate the power pole on the western side of the southern pedestrian crossing to keep two of the trees, costing an estimated $35,000.

"This allows for the pedestrian crossing to be retained in its current location and maintains the safety aspects by allowing people to cross the street with visibility.

"The planned Persons with Disability carpark will be relocated closer to the Council offices, which means the loss of one other carpark, and the removal of one tree outside Glen's Diner, which will be replaced with a Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus)."

Division 5 Councillor Marshall Chalk said it was important to link the redevelopment of the forecourt with the space outside the IGA.

"The aim of the project is to create a vibrant public space in this central area, however we took on board the community engagement about having access to more parking in the High Street," he said.

"Some of the other options to retain the trees meant the loss of up to four car parks, so we wanted to minimise the reduction in parking numbers.

"To minimise the risk of the invasive tree spreading into waterways, Council will install a gross pollutant trap in the drainage system to intercept seeds, which will cost approximately $100,000.

"Council will try and find cost savings within the project to cover this initial cost, which will also have ongoing maintenance costs of $10,000 per year.

"The trap will provide additional benefits of catching other debris from the street, which will also eliminate it going in to the waterway."

Cr Christensen said while three of the trees would remain, Council had a responsibility to make decisions not just for today, but for the future sustainability of the region.

"As I've said before, we will continue to review the existence of such trees in public spaces, and act responsibly to reduce the risks to our spectacular environment as other projects are implemented," he said.

Works on the Boonah Town Centre Revitalisation Project must be completed by the end of 2020 to satisfy funding agreements.

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