At war on trees
COUNCIL permission to remove native trees in a residential Noosa Springs precinct is out of order, according to some residents.
The upmarket Noosa Springs residential precincts, renowned for their lush landscaping, gained council approvals as far back as the late 1970s and early '80s.
Council guidelines promoted planting of native trees, including eucalypts in residential precincts, and the creation of conservation areas.
Noosa Springs resident Peter Schouten now enjoys these maturing trees, but fears council's stamp of approval to an arborist report commissioned by Noosa Springs Body Corporate will result in the axing of 118 trees that provide a food source for black cockatoos and habitat for other wildlife.
His concern has led him to commission and pay for his own professional arborist report.
He labels the Noosa Springs Body Corporate arborist report as a "general scare tactic".
He said another reason to commission an independent report was because the same arborist who prepared the report for the body corporate could also tender for the work.
The "independent" 17-page report concludes the body corp's report "fails to accurately document and detail the reason for removal of the vast majority of trees marked for removal".
It goes on to state that at no time does the report do a full risk assessment of an individual tree or any further assessment to qualify a structural defect.
But Councillor Russell Green said the approved application did not propose to remove all 118 trees and did not apply to the estate's conservation areas.
He said council reports showed that about 50% of the works was for the removal of dead wood and crown hazard reduction to improve safety.
Cr Green said council had requested Noosa Springs Body Corporate submit a comprehensive tree management report after receiving various individual applications over the years.
"In lieu of receiving multiple applications each year it was suggested to the body corporate that they employ a registered arborist to do a full assessment of the development and to develop a staged plan for management and replacement of vegetation causing a safety and financial concern," Cr Green said.
Noosa-based koala activist Carolyn Beaton attended a meeting with Noosa Springs residents last week and said that under the circumstances, she was not against a tree cull and recommended a proposed tree planting along Lake Weyba as more beneficial to the welfare of koalas.
She said that although she had released five koalas into Noosa Springs in the past 18 months, there had been no sighting of them.
"But this is also because there is no ongoing monitoring of them," she said.
"Because the area gives no sign of koala habitation, it's a better prospect for koalas to have more trees planted in the koala corridor at Lake Weyba foreshore than the Noosa Springs residential precinct."
Cr Green disputed claims by Peter Schouten that it was a conflict of interest for the arborist who had prepared the tree condition reports to quote for clearing on the same job.
"He is a person who would prefer to save a tree than otherwise," Cr Green said.
A meeting between all concerned parties is planned for Thursday, March 15.