Diane Hart, Mullumbimby
Paul Bibby’s article, in this week’s Echo, about the illegal removal of a large Tallowood tree from a resident’s backyard is a tragedy, but it highlights an even bigger one. It could so easily have been prevented if the right hand at Council knew what the left was doing, first at the planning stage and then on the day in question.
On that day, resident Jen White, was alerted to the tree’s imminent destruction when a tree lopper’s crane was being set up and the chainsaws started in her neighbour’s garden.
In total dismay she rang me and we went round to see the neighbour. He told us he had a permit and would not stop work while we checked with Council. We both felt certain that this tree was protected. We immediately phoned Council and then went down there.
Front desk staff confirmed that he had an RFS 10/50 permit and could proceed to chop it down. In total confusion, anger and disbelief I was dismissed with a ‘Go and talk to the Rural Fire Service and get the law changed’.
Because of community pressure Council investigated, and it turned out we were correct after all.
Meanwhile the tree is gone and the neighbour has been fined a paltry $3,000.
Can someone please tell me what more we could have done and why the community have to continually act as environmental police?
We are at the tipping point of climate change and on our watch more koala habitat has been lost. This is simply shameful.