Memorial trees go for views
AN elderly Tweed couple are shocked that Tweed Shire Council has demanded they chop down the remaining Norfolk pine trees they planted more than 50 years ago to celebrate the birth of their sons.
“We thought they would stay there forever,” said Fay Robinson, of Banora Point, who with her husband Alan planted four Norfolk pines on a prominent hill in Seaview Street, Kingscliff, starting about 55 years ago.
“They are a pretty tree,” she added.
The Tweed Daily News revealed on Saturday that despite the council warning other coastal residents not to cut down trees to improve coastal views two years ago, in October councillors ordered the two remaining Norfolk pines in the Robinson’s former Seaview Street property to be axed.
The move will improve views for neighbours who complained about a loss of sea views following construction of a block of units on the Robinson’s former house site.
But Mrs Robinson and her husband said they had resisted previous calls from neighbours for the trees to be cut down.
“They wanted them gone when we lived there,” said Alan Robinson.
“They wanted us to chop them down but we said no.
“Those couple of trees make that hill. They stand out for miles.
Mr Robinson said one of the reasons he planted the trees was to offer shade to elderly people who struggled up the Seaview Street hill half a century ago.
“Old people walking up the hill used to come into our place for a rest,” he said.
“We were going to put a seat there but we never did.”
Mrs Robinson said she was shocked that the council could order a landowner to cut down the trees even though they were on private property.
The council has told builder Gordon Bismire to remove the trees as part of approval for a block of units which he initially built higher than regulations allowed.
Mr Bismire modified his building’s height and sought changes to the building approval.
But after complaints from neighbours about continued loss of views the council ordered a re-inspection of the trees by its experts who concluded the new building had interfered with the root zones of the two trees.
Mr Bismire disputes that they are unsafe.
“We realised the value of them,” he said.
“That’s why I spent so much money building concrete walls to retain the trees.”
A council spokesperson has defended the decision saying it was the view of the council officers that “the uncertainty of root damage caused during construction works is likely to threaten the long-term health of the trees”.