Untitled 2
Email

Thu 27 Nov

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Bookmark and Share

Palm tree removal commences

Council say the removal of the palm trees is part of a larger revegetation project.

Wed 2.06pm Work has reportedly been halted on the removal of coconut palms with six of the 55 left standing.

More to come shortly.

Wed 12.14pm Work has commenced on the removal of over 50 coastal palm trees at Four Mile with a number already reduced to woodchips.


Council have advised that 3,000 native trees will be planted as part of a revegetation program, however many locals are against the removal of the mature trees.

One reader of The Newsport said the palm trees are an important part of the tropical image of Port Douglas and removal of the trees, should it continue, may harm that image.

Council have said the revegetation program is important in the fight against erosion, and have promised to maintain a facade of palms along the foreshore.

Council's Regional Manager for Douglas, Liz Collyer, was unavailable for comment today.

Did you know about the Council consultation process to remove the coconut palms?  Take part in our home page poll. 

Missed a story? Check out our extensive News Archive.



Have your say!

The comments made below are the opinions of the reader and do not represent the views of The Newsport. We ask you to provide your full name and valid email address to ensure your comments' legitimacy is acknowledged.  Editor reserves the right to amend comments in accordance with Publisher’s Terms and Conditions.    Click here for full publishers terms and conditions for reader comments.

 

Terry Ryan, Thornton beach, 28-12-12 20:39:
Toni McNamara, has got it right, the original coconut palms were planted and NOT native to the coastal area. Coconut Lovers need to be re-educated to what is REAL native vegetation. We were all romantically in love with coconuts when we arrived - learn, suck it up and move on to sea lettuce and native hibiscus! that is the REAL tropical coastal vegetation.
Mim Hayward, , 20-03-12 23:26:
As for re-planting 6-7000 of trees after filming work was done. The Film company would have paid for it to be done...not the council. That would be how it was allowed..
Karen Jones, , 20-03-12 20:04:
While I have a reasonable understanding of the ongoing environmental issues of beachfront management and erosion, I also have a clear understanding of what brings tourism and other industry to the region and one of these things is the common conception of 'beach, sun and coconut palms'.

Having been involved in film and television productions in the Port Douglas/Cairns region over the last 20 years, I can only say that the continuing encroaching coastal development and removal of a significant number of large coconuts on a area of beach often used for filming is very disheartening. Trying to convince an offshore production to film on our beautiful tropical, 'palm fringed' shores is increasingly difficult.

I would also like to address Treesa Green comment regarding the filming of the series 'The Pacific' on Rocky Point beach .........

"So it was perfectly OK to actually blow up the beach, including native vegetation and coconut palms for the filming of the mini series a couple of years ago. Which department of council do you think repaired all of that with something like 6 to 7000 trees replanted. I don't recall anyone being so outraged at the destruction that happened for this filming.".

Treesa, the production company consulted heavily with all agencies prior to filming and developed a revegetation program with council long before any works commenced . We planted the coconuts and removed them at completion of filming. The production company 'PAID FOR THE REVEGETATION WORKS and in addition to that payment, also CONTRIBUTED VOLUNTARILY TO ADDITIONAL RE-GEVETATION WORK at Cooya. The site was monitored for a 3 year period after completion of filming with the success criteria being evaluated before the sign-off by council and other interested parties. That production bought $200m into Australia and a major portion of that to the north. I am more than happy to fully outline the DERM/EPA/Council procedures we adhered to should anyone be interested in the facts.

Film and television provides industry diversity to an area that has relied heavily on tourism. We are responsible professionals. The loss of easily accessible natural vegetation does have considerable impact to the attraction for film makers. I personally support re-vegetation works and coastal erosion controls but also hope that some areas will remain 'palm fringed' for the future of 'my' industry. When everyone is enjoying 'celebrity' spotting in Port Douglas during film/TV productions, it would be worthwhile to keep in mind what brings them here.
davvyd brown, , 15-03-12 14:34:
great, just like Mulgrave Avenue in Cairns not a palm to be seen .I have driven many times to Cairns over the years and felt the wow facter when driving down Mulgrave Avenue and that I had absolutely arrived in the exotic tropics no not now nothing but boring center landscaes found in all Queensland towns where has all the tropical gone in TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
Why not get rid of the oil palms on PORT DOUGLAS ROAD they are obviosly on council land and what about the coconuts on the so called revamp of the waterfront . Thursdays Gazette article stated only signifcant trees would be saved on the demolition of the water front cocunuts are very significant to me are the coconuts to be removed from there too also what defines a significant tree from an insignifacant tree coconut palms are very significant to everythig associated with a tropical atmosphere imagine Fiji Tahiti Maritius Townsville esplenade Magnetic Island , Daydream ,Hayman, and Hamilton Islands without coconut palms and why not crc cut down the poincianas and exotic acacias why not cut all the trees down while you are at it get a life crc and it would be great to see some of our local politicians stand up and be counted for once have some guts flow with the people we are the ones who so graciously voted you all in better cut the coconuts down along the beach at the Sheraton Mirage beachfront too they are iconic with Port Douglas magestic and yes tropical look what happened to Coconut Grove just isn,t the same driving into Macrossan street better cut down the beach almonds too i expect they are not native TROPICAL FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT PLEASE LISTEN to the multitudes before we loose his incredible paradise DAVVYD BROWN
Jennifer , , 14-03-12 15:09:
Sorry Phil, we know there has been no public consultation from the council with the removal of palms and their revegetation excuse.When the council place an adv. in the Gazette, telling us they will be removing trees, that is not considered consultation - it is more like dictatorship, and without question, the person responsible for giving the order should be sacked or resign The 'first mooted idea in the Douglas Shire Council' was to remove the palms and replace them with natives, and was suggested by Mayor Mike Berwick, who upon amalgamation, has lost the right to make those same decisions of the past. What we need now is a public meeting (consultation, or hearing of other opinions) from those who consider their visions for the future to be positive, for Port Douglas.I also believe it is time for the Regional Manager of Douglas to get involved in something non-controversial and leave the gritty bits until the next council election.
Treesa Green, , 12-03-12 19:24:
I can stay silent no longer. I can not believe the outrage over this issue. What a mob of hypocrites. So you espouse that the coconut removal will be damaging to things such as filming? So it was perfectly OK to actually blow up the beach, including native vegetation and coconut palms for the filming of the mini series a couple of years ago. Which department of council do you think repaired all of that with something like 6 to 7000 trees replanted. I don't recall anyone being so outraged at the destruction that happened for this filming.
On another note just last week while I was going for a walk at 4 mile there was a beautiful casurina tree in full fruit and it was full of parrots eating the fruit. A whole bus load of tourists were taking photos of the birds actually feeding in their natural habitat. How fantastic is that.
Eric , , 11-03-12 14:46:
Hold the phone !! ... John Sullivan not happy, about what ?

He was only too pleased last year when paid and under instruction to do so, go to the same block ( lot 14 ) where this issue continues and with bobcats and workmen, remove vegetation that was planted by the developers of The Beachfront and subsequently approved by the Coastal Beach Protection Authority before handover of the land to the council. Now he complains that he is "outraged" at the revegetation by the council. The sole reason of this destruction and vandalism was to provide some front block owners of The Beachfront, views of the Coral Sea which they seemingly think they are entitled to. Complaints were made to the council, many calls to Sean Cooper and others in Cairns, everyone knew it happened and how it happened, the law was broken and the cover up by the council in effect was not to cause too much of a kafuffle and possibly protect some well known identities.

Now that the council has removed the palms to allow sunlight into the area that will allow the 3000 new plants to grow and flourish, they are jumping up and down now because they have no control over the future outlook from their properties out to sea. The ridiculous element of the whole process is that the council ( we ) is paying for this re-vegetation and NOT the perpetrators that cut down and removed the original vegetation in the first place without any authority for their own selfishness.

They should be fined and the whole truth made public including a explanation of why, when told of the destruction and vandalism on Lot 14 ( crown land ) the council chose to do nothing and then charge ratepayers to fix the problem.
Toni McNamara, , 10-03-12 17:32:
Thirty years ago there were almost no coconuts on 4 Mile except at the site of the old caravan park (where Council is working) and at the Mango House site down the southern end because they had to rely on good luck to be thrown onto the primary dune. All those who are enraged by CRC's action should read about coconuts. CRC is on the way to doing the right thing to actually SAVE the beach but as usual seem to have no idea how to sell an idea to this community by tactful communication. It needs a 'whole of beach' management plan with intelligent reveg. - it is certainly true that DSC would have done this by now. We were all romantically in love with coconuts when we arrived - learn, suck it up and move on to sea lettuce and native hibiscus!
Monika , , 10-03-12 12:09:
I returned from a business trip to Sydney to find wholesale destruction going on. When I contacted council I was referred to the project on council's website-
http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/about-council/community-engagement/current/current-projects/revegetation-four-mile

I raised concerns that I felt they were going outside the agreed boundaries with the project manager, Peter Logan of Mossman, on site, who informed me they were sticking to the plan and leaving 3 rows intact on the foreshore. I was horrified to discover later that I was blatantly lied to, as was John Sullivan and Julia Leu.
Trees have been removed in native, naturally regenerated rainforest bush area, which has caused destruction all around and in the front two rows. They have also destroyed trees hosting native protected species, like staghorns which I have been informed is illegal. It now looks like a wasteland and will not be suitable for use for filming, coporate events or the public any year soon.
What I do not understand is why you have to destroy something growing perfectly well to re-generate. That is not logical. Also, why was this area picked for treatment - there appears no need. Where the need is further down four mile where all the natives are dead, broken down and laying all over the beach and the coastal erosion is severe and the only thing holding the beach together is the cocnut palm root balls. Why can't they do something that needs doing like fix that or maintain our African Oil palms on Port Douglas Road. What a waste of pristine old growth trees and our hard-earned money. We need to fight to keep Port Douglas the way WE (the residents and taxpayers) want it.
Gillian Coe, , 09-03-12 16:21:
Fourmile Beach is not the only area to be hit with the chainsaws. Ocean View Road suffered the loss of 8 palm trees yesterday, no residents were advised, however, the council in their wisdom, did leave dangerous trees which are overhanging the roadway.
Heather Morrison, , 09-03-12 14:36:
This indigenous rubbish is just that. There are plenty of areas with native vegetation, why destroy what is a bit different & interesting.
I live in country Victoria, not a Palm tree in sight, just endless Eucalyptus,very dreary.
We have had the removal of Willows from our rivers & creeks, not indigenous, now we have erosion & flooding.
Other countries don't seem obsessed with the native bug. I could understand if we were a tiny Island at risk of loosing our identity, that is hardly the case. Surely we can accommodate diversity in horticulture, just as we have in people.
Or should we return to only indigenous people too!
Richard , , 09-03-12 12:04:
Look, I haven't been here long (20 months or so) and probably won't be considered a local yet (20 years or so should do it) but I live locally, and enjoy the local facilities and amenities, one of which is Four Mile beach. What I can not believe in this town is what appears to be a constant lack of effective communication from many directions and many quarters including the CRC. Whilst not understanding the politics of how this town actually works or how it wants to work, one thing is for sure that without "proper" public consultation these sorts of things will continue to happen. The Lagoon Pool, The Esplanade, The Cyclone Shelter, Palm Tree Removal, Roundabouts, Traffic Lights, Speed Limits etc seem to get more debate on the subjects AFTER or during the event. Maybe I am missing all the Public Notices that must be printed somewhere for us to see. Please, for the sake of this town, someone get hold of the place by the scruff of the neck and, as someone else said, give it an injection of reality. Do we have a 5 year or a 10 year plan somewhere we can look at? Doing what is best for us as a TOURIST town or doing what is best for those considered as locals may be a good place to start. As I mentioned sometime ago, hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is much more valuable.
susan , , 09-03-12 11:42:
This is another direct abuse and destruction to our town from Val Schier and her team jealous of what we have here. If their revegetation is like the Esplanade then all we can expect is a bunch of weeds and Shea oaks that are more brittle than most other trees, leave more mess than coconuts and prohibit undergrowth. Or maybe they plan on another concrete bollard plantation also as on the Esplanade. Perhaps we should start our own planting there and put what we want. Its own town, our life, and our livelihood and environment. Susan
Ker , , 09-03-12 10:44:
The people that cut down these trees are nothing but environmental terrorists. Fortunately, The Council will be voted out at the next election before they do any further damage to our region. Schier has failed the ratepayers and the region.
Kristy Clifford, , 08-03-12 20:18:
How sad over 20 years ago we came to PortDouglas to live & as a young child I have great memories of 4 mile beach playing in and around the palms. I don't live in PortDouglas anymore, but when I come to visit we meet with friends just beside the palm trees and I love looking out at how beautiful the scenery is. Thankyou for KILLIING/destroying another part of my history, lucky I have a picture :(
Lance , , 08-03-12 16:50:
Coconut trees not native? What qualifies as native, obviously it applies only to plants that were here over 55 million years ago.

Many authorities suggest an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean, while others see the origin in northwestern South America. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut date from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago and were found in Australia and India.
Louise Stayte, , 08-03-12 15:42:
Melissa Matthius states that her parents planted the first coconuts on 4-mile beach in the 1950's. Based on historic photos of Four Mile Beach I would agree that there were few if any coconuts on the beach before that. Hardly native then, and if anything they have proliferated to the point were thay are potentially harmful to the natural vegetation. But that's beside the point. Council is only doing the job that the developer of the adjoining property was supposed to do according to conditions of a DSC development approval. Anyone who has tried planting something under a coconut palm, or any other palm for that matter, would agree it's difficult to get anything established with the constantly falling heavy fronds and the dense root ball inhibiting other plants' root growth and as "heavy feeders" they suck all the nutrients and water away from everything else. I have experienced these problems in my own garden, I would hate to face it on a larger scale without the necessary funds for constant fertilising, watering, denutting and defronding to allowing anything else to grow under so many coconut palms. I think the revegetation with 3000 native tress should be allowed to go ahead as soon as possible to help the site recover from the damage that has occured. Or if the proposed public consultation goes on long enough (as these things often do) then the site may even have a chance to revegetate naturally without the coconuts! Either way a good outcome!
Cairns Regional Council CRC, , 08-03-12 14:57:
Council recognises the significance of coconut palm-lined beaches, which is why they will not be removed.
The area for revegetation sits behind three rows of palms, away from the beachfront. This area was identified for revegetation nearly a decade ago and, after years of consultation and compromise, work to protect the foreshore has finally started.
There were news articles two weeks ago informing that the work would be starting and information, including a location map, is also readily available on Council’s website.
Coconuts are important to our coastal landscape. But just as important is the growth of native vegetation, provision of public access to our foreshores and, of course, protection of the beach environment for our future generations.
Monika , , 08-03-12 13:43:
I returned from a business trip to Sydney to find wholesale destruction going on. When I contacted council I was referred to the project on council's website-
http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/about-council/community-engagement/current/current-projects/revegetation-four-mile

I raised concerns that I felt they were going outside the agreed boundaries with the project manager, Peter Logan of Mossman, on site, who informed me they were sticking to the plan and leaving 3 rows intact on the foreshore. I was horrified to discover later that I was blatantly lied to, as was John Sullivan and Julia Leu.
Trees have been removed in native, naturally regenerated rainforest bush area, which has caused destruction all around and in the front two rows. They have also destroyed trees hosting native protected species, like staghorns which I have been informed is illegal. It now looks like a wasteland and will not be suitable for use for filming, coporate events or the public any year soon.
What I do not understand is why you have to destroy something growing perfectly well to re-generate. That is not logical. Also, why was this area picked for treatment - there appears no need. Where the need is further down four mile where all the natives are dead, broken down and laying all over the beach and the coastal erosion is severe and the only thing holding the beach together is the cocnut palm root balls. Why can't they do something that needs doing like fix that or maintain our African Oil palms on Port Douglas Road. What a waste of pristine old growth trees and our hard-earned money. We need to fight to keep Port Douglas the way WE (the residents and taxpayers) want it.
Caroline Bloomfield, , 08-03-12 13:27:
Its so ironic that we are about to show a mini series on our beautiful barrier reef and surrounds...to most australians that know and love the area the coconut palms are and have always been part of the coastline up there ! What idiots do we have monitoring and caring for what is a unique part of our land (Hopefully not Cairns Council). I think its about time that an enviornmental expert panel be brought in to help caretake and look after areas like this. Im personally disheartned and disgusted to hear about the palms. If council was sincere they would of consulted not only rate payers properly but consulted expert advice before such actions...maybe we should be suing Cairns council ??
Caroline , , 08-03-12 09:29:
How hypocritical of Val and her council. Someone in Cairns chops down a tree to get a better view and they sue the pants off them. But Val and her cronies can do what they like under the guise of "getting rid of things non native"
Time to go Val.....
Cam M, , 08-03-12 03:21:
I have filmed under these trees for several tourism campaigns including Tourism Queensland, iconic, absolutely...it would be great not to have to pay rates to the CRC as they seem to be "eroding" my bank account.
Melissa Matthias (nee Bowden), , 08-03-12 01:03:
My parents Max & Diana Bowden planted the first coconuts on 4 Mile Beach in the 1950s. These have multiplied naturally over the years. It is appalling that the Council want to remove some of them, for what purpose I cannot see. As another of your contributors mentioned - erosion is a serious risk. Let the foreshore be!
benoctagon@hotmail.com , , 07-03-12 23:49:
While you're at it, replace the cane farms with rainforest. Thanks.
Pearl G, , 07-03-12 23:03:
That's just silly. Coconut palms are native in the sense that they got to these shores without human intervention. Every tropical region has them, and they're part of the appeal of Port Douglas. Frankly, the natural environment is all PD has going for it at the moment, and if that goes, so will the tourists and thereby many people's livelihoods.
T Graham, , 07-03-12 20:58:
Jsut another example of why we need to get DEAMALGAMATE. Coconut palms are native. They came here on the seas, that is, natuarlly. They belong. Get rid of CRC which didn't come here naturally . Problem solved.
Alan Dean, , 07-03-12 20:48:
As a regular visitor to Port for many years, and somebody who has promoted the destination at every possible opportunity, I am left with one question for the local council: how dumb can you get? The palm trees of Port Douglas are as iconic as the bridge in Sydney (well, almost)and a tropical attraction that made the destination stand out among Australian beach competitors. The only erosion Port faces these days is that of so-called progress. Think about it.
michael mantell, , 07-03-12 20:43:
Don't be fooled by misinformation. Introduced coconuts are not what make our environment unique and special.

I support the plan to revegetate the area as stated in the original development approval for the estate built on the old caravan park. This was never carried out. Instead private fenced gardens were established on this public land.

Native vegetation is suppresed by coconut palms, revegetation would be immpossible and dangerous under these introduced species.
The cost of maintainging cocconuts is huge eg denutting and frond removal.
Elizabeth Stegley, , 07-03-12 19:58:
There are many erosion - inhibiting species compatible with Cocos.
anna whitfield, , 07-03-12 19:39:
I walked past the area this evening. It does not go unnoticed that the two properties behind the palmtrees now have beachfront and waterviews. Sell while you can.
Julie Robertson, , 07-03-12 19:07:
Well Phil, wonder how long u have lived here? So broken hearted to walk four mile and watch and listen to these trees being wiped out! Ahh Port Douglas everything we loved is slowly being wiped out in the name of PROGRESS
James PD , , 07-03-12 18:48:
This is what makes four mile so iconic! What a sad day to have them gone.

Even the latest photos for promoting PD around the world showcase the iconic coconut palms...visitors will be confused when they get there and the photos and marketing are nothing like the reality!
Marco , , 07-03-12 18:28:
Another example of "Council gone mad". They need to go, not the palms. Tourists expect to see coconut palms, not native trees lining our beach.
tony , , 07-03-12 18:02:
hasn't the council got better things to spend our taxpayers money on
Daniel Denholm, , 07-03-12 17:38:
I have been a yearly visitor since 1991. I love the Palms and it's one of the first things I recognise when I am back in Port. Morning beach walks and lying under a palm tree. Although conservation is high on my agenda, I really can see how removing them will help in any fight against erosion and in fact probably now, just made it worse.
Brett Wright, , 07-03-12 17:30:
The Back drop of the BEST kitesurfing location in TROPICAL Australia.....
Jane , , 07-03-12 17:28:
I agree it is outrageous to remove mature palm tree from the Beach. The beach front looks marvellous with those palm trees.I first visited 4 Mile Beach in 1974 and the look of the beach has always remained in my mind as one of the most attractive aspects of Port Douglas and certainly should be considered as an asset. Council should consult before taking this action, surely planting can continue without moving the palms and what sort of trees will be planted instead?
Phil Porter, , 07-03-12 17:25:
I support the removal of these palms. They fall over easily when undermined because of the poor root system, and they're not particularly interesting. This isn't Hawaii, and people who claim it's "our image" are talking thru their hat.

Then there are those who always shout "no consultation" when something happens they don't like. There was plenty of consultation on this issue, which was first mooted in the Douglas Shire Council. If you snooze, you lose.
JL DIDOMENICO, , 07-03-12 17:21:
I believe there are "50" council people that ought to be "removed" instead.

To top

Port douglas news daily