Removal of pine trees causing a stir in quiet Cudgen

Carl Redman and Marion Gardner with one of the trees in question. Photo Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Carl Redman and Marion Gardner with one of the trees in question. Photo Blainey Woodham / Daily News Blainey Woodham

CUDGEN'S memorial trees planted at Collier St continue to cause a stir in the quiet rural town with members of the Cudgen Progress Association insisting four pine trees, planted in honour of Dutch Second World War victims, be removed.

Progress association president Carl Redman said the trees were planted by former Cudgen resident Frank Kapel and now Mr Kapel had passed it was time to remove the four Slash Pines he planted and replace them with a Norfolk Pine to honour Australian First World War soldiers who failed to return.

Progress association member Cathy Prichard, a fourth generation Cudgen resident, said Mr Kapel planted the trees in memory of his own people and should be replaced with a tree to commemorate the sacrifices made by soldiers from Cudgen.

"The trees have nothing to do with us and should be removed.

"When Mr Kapel planted the trees people didn't criticise him because they were too polite and didn't want to cause a stir," Mrs Prichard said.

Mrs Prichard added the trees surrounding Mr Kapel's quartet were all planted to honour local soldiers and Mr Kapel's trees were simply out of place.

"When the other trees were planted, residents joined in and planted trees in honour of their own kids.

"Some residents who moved away still come back to the area to visit the trees they planted.

"The trees are displayed on the uniforms of Cudgen school and are still very much part of the community's history and are an integral part of the town," Mrs Prichard said.

Progress association secretary Marion Gardner said about two years ago, the association wrote to Tweed Shire Council to ask if it could remove the trees.

"The council agreed to remove them but it was never actually done.

"Recently we wrote to council to remind them of the agreement but they wanted to put an article in the Tweed Link to ask for feedback first.

Association president Carl Redman said there was only one voice standing up for the four Slash Pines and if that person had attended the last association meeting, the issue could have been discussed and voted on.

"We're a very democratic organisation and although some say we only have a few members, the decision of the association should be respected.

"Council had no business advertising the issue which should be decided by Cudgen residents.

"If we keep the trees honouring Dutch soldiers, we may as well plant trees for all the American soldiers who lost their lives.

"The trees should never have been planted in the first place and should be replaced with a Norfolk Pine in honour of our local soldiers," Mr Redman said.

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