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Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Bruns trees removed over safety concerns

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The tree-felling contractors at work removing the casuarina trees in the popular rest spot at Torakina beach, Brunswick Heads.
The tree-felling contractors at work removing the casuarina trees in the popular rest spot at Torakina beach, Brunswick Heads.

The chopping down last Friday of two casuarina trees next to a popular bench seat and table at the entrance to the river mouth south wall next to Torakina beach at Brunswick Heads has outraged residents.

The unannounced removal of the two trees by contractors, which had not been fenced off or signs announcing their fate posted, horrified some of the onlookers at the crowded Torakina beach nearby.

But a spokesperson for Byron Shire Council says the trees, on crown land were considered dangerous and had been the subject of several complaints.

The spokesperson said council had referred the complaints and ‘concern over potential for falling limbs’ to the Office of Environment and Heritage agency in Grafton,

‘Trees that are dead, dying or dangerous can be removed with the approval of Council. In this instance no approval was sought and Council will follow-up with the department.’

‘However, it is likely that approval would have been given as they were considered dangerous,’ the council spokesperson told Echonetdaily, which is yet to hear from the OEH on the incident).

A spokesperson for NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust, which controls holiday parks and public reserves in the riverside town, was baffled when told about the incident, saying the trust had recently put protocols in place to inform locals of any planned removal of trees and to fence and signpost them if they were to be lopped or felled.

But it seems the state department which has overall control of crown lands and the beachisde reserve near the tourist magnet of Torakina Park was unaware of that protocol.

The trust’s move to better consult with locals was sparked by several incidents this year where trees in public parks had been earmarked or chopped down without any public notice and others.

The fate of historic memorial trees at the Terrace Reserve, now fenced off from caravan park users and marked for regular health and risk assessment, had also caused concern.

Trees 3

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  1. This incident is nothing compared to the felling of all of the magnificent line of trees that separated the Banora Point Shopping Village from the Club Banora golf club car park. The trees looked very healthy and provided a nice barrier to the westerly sun and winds for most of the year. As far as I know there was no public consultation for this apparent act of vandalism.
    Shoppers like myself will now favour the other Banora Point centre on Fraser Drive as they have sheltered parking for most vehicles. Hence the effect on the new “Shopping Village” will probably be a negative one for the retailers there in spite of the building upgrading that has been going on for the past year.

  2. It is disgraceful the Echo should write such a sensationized article..The trees were dangerous. There are tens of thousands of people walking underneath them every year. For safety them had to be cut down.

    As a local resident of 25 years, an ex-coordinator of Brunswick Dunecare,and a leading natural resource manager in NSW,I was one of the people who rung the BSC to request their removal.

    Questions are: 1. Who are the “outraged residents” and how many of them are there?. 2. Who interviewed the residents that support the trees’ removal, and how many of them are there?

    Let whoever those people are who oppose the removal come forward, and they and their children can stand under the remaining dead trees during the next series of storms. And let whoever wrote this beatup and their editor bring their children do the same.

    The Echo has become such a joke with long term residents – we all have a standing joke – that the News is better because the pictures are bigger. Hang your heads in shame Echo news writer(s).

    Your writings on environmental matters – especially vegetation management – over atleast the last 7 years – have been ill-informed, one eyed, or simply ridiculous – pandering to minority groups of only a handfull of weirdos. A community based paper would reflect community views, and support those in BSC who are both highly qualified and committed to acting on behalf of us all. Shame on you for your totally failur.,

    yours in contempt and total disgust,

    Stephen Booth
    BAppl.SC.SCU, Lismore 1995.

    • The whole point is that the trees, dangerous or not, were in such a visible location and had no safety no fence, no signs, notice, nothing to let locals know what was going on. And really Stephen, who would stand under a dead tree in a storm? If you want to know the names of locals who were annoyed about this, please call me anytime. The fact is thousands of people sat on the bench and seat without a care about the tree branches. More chance being hit by lightning, or a car.

      • The biggest danger to the trees in Brunswick Heads appears to be arborists. So worried about liability, all trees are seen as an ever constant threat to public safety. The pictured trees appear to have been a popular food source with leaves and bark from outer branches heavily pruned.
        More effort should be made to maintain the health of trees, instead of allowing cars everywhere compacting soil and damaging roots.

        We’re still waiting for the previous native tree chopped down in terrace park to be replaced with a tree of the same species. And thanks to the dogged efforts of Patricia Warren and Darcy O’Meara we may have won a reprieve for the protected coastal cypress pines trees in Terrace caravan park.

        Public vigilance is the only thing holding back the rapacious greed of our crown lands department.

  3. What a disgrace! These people are terrorists, siting, ‘potential danger’ to run rampant and do what they wish. No real concern for the Environment or the wishes of the people who live here.
    Will we be closing all of the Beaches also as they are potentially dangerous and swimming may result in drowning?
    I and certainly all of my friends are sick and tired of this High Handed Bureaucracy.
    If a tree falls over and kills us, then it just may be the way we are meant to go; I would
    love to know statistically the likelihood of this happening.

  4. Seems like there is no end to ignorance and stupidity in Brunswick.
    With governments like ours there’s no need for terrorists !

  5. I often enjoyed sitting at that bench seat under those trees that provided much needed shade and at no time did I feel my safety was compromised.

    Seems those that complained may have too much time on their hands and probably stand at their lounge room window surreptitiously peering through the blinds waiting for a hapless individual (or tree in this instance) to upset them.

  6. As a long term returning visitor to this wonderful town, I find it outrageous and rather amusing that such a stink has been created over a the removal of a dead tree in a significant area that is highly frequented by families and beach lovers.
    It would be suggested that facts should be checked before throwing out slanderous and incorrect comments, such as lack of safety precautions and a potential public liability. For your information, the chipper truck had flashing lights turned on, and was parked in a manner that the public were unable to access any area within a safe zone. There was a spotter, and the tree was removed in a safe and professional manner.
    These contractors were just that, contractors. Not terrorists (which I find highly insulting and rather inappropriate, to relate members of our community going about their workday, to blood thirsty rebels) and these contractors were enlisted by the council to perform a required task.
    The fact that these trees have been removed does not change the way the ocean sounds, it has not changed the location of the love seat, and it doesn’t affect our town in any way except the potential of being speared by a dead branch has gone.


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