Residents erupt as ancient trees axed
A DECISION to chop down ageing gum trees near a Murwillumbah cemetery yesterday erupted into a battle to save the trees which provided nesting spots for cockatoos and magpies.
Concerned Bray Park residents anxiously tried to stop the axing, calling on the Council's acting general manager Mike Rayner to intervene.
However Mr Rayner said approval had been given for the trees to be cut down because a new house was being built nearby.
He said a number of calls had been received from people concerned about the trees but "due process had been followed" and they were not protected by any tree preservation order.
Mr Rayner said the trees had been inspected by the Council's arborist and the Council, as owners of the Bray Park cemetery, agreed to their removal, providing they were replaced with other species.
A nearby homeowner had sought council permission to remove the large gum trees which he feared could drop limbs or fall on the house being built.
Concerned resident Vicki Lowe said the six gum trees on the border of the graveyard had hollows used by white cockatoos and magpies for nesting.
She said calls to the National Parks and Wildlife Service to stop the work to save the cockatoo nests failed with the service advising it could do nothing if council approval had been granted.
"I've been here 24 years and those gums have been here about 200 years," she said.
"They should be left alone. Australia Day is coming up and they are cutting down our gum trees."