An excavator removes a 15-year-old flame tree in Bacon Street.
An excavator removes a 15-year-old flame tree in Bacon Street. Matt Clark

Man not notified of tree removal

CLARENCE Valley Council has admitted it ‘stuffed up’ when it removed a flame tree from the nature strip at the front of a house in Bacon Street, Grafton, earlier this month.

An outraged resident, Matt Clark, fired in a complaint to council when he found council workmen and an excavator removing the tree, which was part of a small plot of rainforest vegetation he tended on the verge between the footpath and the road outside his house.

Council deputy general manager Des Schroder described the failure to notify Mr Clark of its intentions either by letter or when its workmen arrived at his house on February 17 to remove the trees as a ‘stuff-up’.

“Where we stuffed up was the lack of consultation with Mr Clark about our plans,” Mr Schroder said.

“We have to apologise to Mr Clark for that.”

Mr Schroder said council was acting on a complaint from a neighbour of Mr Clark, about the trees blocking the line of sight to the road.

“The trees are planted on council land and the reality is there have been complaints from neighbours,” Mr Schroder said.

“There’s a question of equity. If everyone was allowed to have a little section of rainforest outside their house, people would find it difficult to access the footpath.”

Mr Clark’s intervention has prompted a review of the decision, Mr Schroder said.

He said council’s open spaces manager Peter Birch will conduct a review into the decision and consult with Mr Clark on what council intends to do with the plot outside his house.

Mr Clark, a NPWS employee who is an acknowledged expert in the management and cultivation of rainforest plants, said he believed he had reached an agreement with council’s open spaces operations co-ordinator George Nowak to manage the plants on the verge.



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