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May 6, 2021

Cudgen memorial trees threatened

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It was a cold, windy night on the rugged NSW south coast and Brian Kiss von Soly was wrapped up in a silver emergency blanket like a human burrito. 

Cudgen village in far north NSW consists of two streets, Collier and Crescent Streets, connected by a lane, The Village Lane.

In Collier Street there is an avenue of memorial Norfolk Island pine trees, most of which are 96 years old.

These trees were planted by Cudgen residents in memory of those from Cudgen and district who did not return from the First World War, at least one of whom died during the Gallipoli landing.

These memorial trees are precious and are heritage-listed.

Recently Tweed Shire Council approved a development at 17 Collier Street (DA13/0024) allowing the northern end of Collier Street to be used as an entry/exit to the development.

Cudgen residents, although they did not welcome the development, have no objections to it as such.

However, great concern exists among us that the use of this entry/exit compromises the future growth of the trees and poses severe traffic dangers.

Collier Street is only 3.8 metres wide for much of its length and cannot be widened because of damage to the tree roots.

Sixteen months ago, in response to concerns expressed to Council re flooding of some properties in Collier Street, Cudgen Progress Association and Collier Street residents met with Council to discuss this problem.

At that time certain remedial works were promised to prevent flooding and it was stated that the road would be upgraded but not widened.

Fourteen months ago we were informed that these works would be carried out in August 2014.

Cudgen Public School stands in Collier Street and at present there is traffic chaos every morning and afternoon as well as during school hours.

Our progress association has furnished Council with photographs of the traffic scene in Collier Street and has asked that there be no entry/exit to this development because of probable traffic accidents and damage to our precious trees.

Council did not listen to us then, and will not now.

Kingscliff RSL Sub-branch members are also angered that the trees may be in danger and, in fact, with the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, they intend to focus district attention on Cudgen trees and War Memorial (in Cudgen school grounds) at the annual Cudgen dawn service which takes place with the laying of wreaths and lanterns at the foot of each tree during the march.

The service will, as usual, commence at 4.28am, the exact time of the landing at Gallipoli on Anzac Day.

I am writing this letter so that you and your readers may become aware of our concerns and of Tweed Shire Council’s abject lack of concern for our children’s safety and that of the memorial trees.

Marion Gardner, secretary, Cudgen Progress Association


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