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A tree grows in Noosa

February 5th, 2004

As the boom in Australian property prices comes to add hundreds of thousands to the value of any block of land from which the sea is visible, trees that get in the way of those views have been disappearing rapidly. In most places, this has reached the point where further clearing has been tightly restricted by law, but this has merely produced an epidemic of midnight tree-fellings and mysterious poisonings.

I was told today (but haven’t been able to check it) that Noosa Council has adopted what seems likely to be an effective deterrent. In the event of a suspicious tree death, a new tree will be replanted. While it is growing it will be supplemented by an artificial visibility barrier equal in height and width to the old tree. Perhaps the tree-fellers can find a countermeasure, but it’s not obvious how.

And on this kind of thing, as Noosa goes, so goes the nation.

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  1. Dano
    February 6th, 2004 at 05:23 | #1

    Music to the ears of urban forestry and urban ecosystem people!

    D

  2. Rex
    February 6th, 2004 at 08:46 | #2

    Nice idea, but somewhat impractical to be employed to deter rural bush clearing in outback Queensland.

  3. February 6th, 2004 at 09:25 | #3

    poison the council worker who has to stand there holding the artificial barrier?

  4. February 6th, 2004 at 09:26 | #4

    btw, theres no point in having trees in urban areas unless people are expressing their preference for trees (eg parks, and trees on private property)

    if people are felling trees to have water views, whats the problem.

  5. William
    February 6th, 2004 at 10:13 | #5

    The trees are public property, their destruction is a loss of amenity. The issue is not the felling of trees on private land, it is those wishing to have sea views destroying public property (i.e. killing the tree) for their own self-interested aesthetic and financial benefit.

    Like stealing plants out of public gardens, decrease in public amenity, increase in private amenity.

  6. February 6th, 2004 at 10:55 | #6

    In the days when we had a place at the beach (ah, sigh..) the row of old cedars on the foreshore gave the place its identity and sheltered picnickers. But, they obscured the beach. Key town residents began to say the trees were old, and likely to fall down. As they were the responsibility of the residents’ foreshore committee, how were we going to deal with insurance?

    This turned the argument round. Now the treefellers were not vandals, but fiscally responsible carers of imaginary crushed children. Down came the trees. “Can’t do anything else mate.. they’ve got to go.”

    A row of natives has been put there instead. Quick growing, “ecologically appropriate” – but never with the view-obscuring height and mass of a cedar planted by pioneers.

    The decision on this was ultimately made by people who did not gain from the view, and defend the environment against forestry – people I respect. But I can’t help thinking that someone was had by a bit of hysteria. And isn’t that familiar?

  7. warbo
    February 6th, 2004 at 11:30 | #7

    I think Woollahra council has been doing the same thing for some time with the big old figs along the eastern side of Rushcutters Bay, which people (used to?) poison with sump oil, but it’s been a long time since I lived near there.

  8. PK
    February 6th, 2004 at 11:52 | #8

    Perhaps a picture of an exposed bottom or raised index finger on the artificial barrier would be appropriate also.

  9. LD
    February 7th, 2004 at 14:55 | #9

    index finger, or middle finger? :-)

  10. Ben
    February 7th, 2004 at 17:40 | #10

    Appeared suspicously-too-good-to-be-true – but actually is. Not just Noosa, but multiple councils, it would seem: http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/data/full_stories/sept_2002/05_02/main.html

    Tree vandals get a new outlook

    Council moves to block environmental criminals

    By MECHELLE WEBB

    ENVIRONMENT vandals who axe or poison trees to get a better view are about to find themselves staring at giant billboards instead.

    In a move that aims to check- mate property owners, Maroochy Shire Council yesterday decided to toughen its vegetation laws and introduce a policy that will include erecting giant signs to fill the gap left by dead trees.

    The “tree’s revenge” policy is expected to be finalised in a month.

    Although the size of the signs is yet to be determined, councillor Hermann Schwabe said vandals would soon get the message if faced with a six-metre by eight- metre sign advertising a tree’s demise.

    “Once we do that two or three times, people will get sick of the signs rather than the trees,” he said.

    “We have lost quite a bit of vegetation and it has created a lot of anger in the community.

    “It has cost council huge amounts of money (to remove and replace trees).

    “They (residents) will now have the choice to look at vegetation or signs with messages … don’t buy the place if you don’t like the vegetation.”

    Mr Schwabe said improving real estate value was the suspected motive behind most tree killings.

    “This policy is for people who go out at night and poison trees or use chainsaws to just gain a view,” he said.

    Buderim, Alexandra Headland and Coolum trees have all fallen victim to night-time attacks.

  11. PK
    February 7th, 2004 at 21:10 | #11

    oops

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