Open Letter re: Tree Removal and Community Consultation


The Office of Australian War Graves
Townsville City Council
Queensland Dept. Environment and Science

On Friday 19 March 2021, two majestic and well loved fig trees (Ficus benjamina) were cut down and removed from Anzac Park, allegedly because they had "outgrown the area" and were "significantly impacting on the infrastructure in the Garden of Remembrance". 

These large trees, which attracted birds and provided shade for the Garden of Remembrance, were loved by the people of Townsville. 

There was no community consultation process or transparency around why the decision was made, what other solutions were explored, or even which department (or level of government) was responsible for the decision. These trees were public assets and as such, belong to the people, not a government department.

Currently, there is no requirement for the community to be consulted in such matters, despite the impact such a decision can have on a community. We believe that this needs to change.

These trees were significant to the community and enhanced a special, meaningful place. We cannot afford to lose more large, old trees unnecessarily. They attract and protect native wildlife, add to the natural amenity of our surroundings and provide shade, which is crucial in the tropics - particularly in a warming climate.

We cannot return these lost trees, but we request that the process for this kind of decision be changed to provide our community - and all communities - the opportunity to be consulted with regarding the fate of significant trees on public or commonwealth land. We also call for a Tree Register, to ensure the history of our trees is protected for the future.

According to TCC's media release, "Another tree will then be planted in the same area to offset the loss of the two weeping figs". We propose that this is insufficient, and ask that appropriate reparations be made - preferably with community involvement. 

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned.

Who's signing

Jane McLean
Vito Napoli
Alison Downes
Chris Fitz-Gibbon
Margaret Fitz-Gibbon
Margrit Rechsteiner
Ian Frazer
Michael Heytman
Thalie Carpenter
Jodi Pattinson
Vicki Sassella Copping
Yasmenda Pitt
Sam Cohen
Joseph Raggatt
Rowan Silva
Peter Raggatt
Rhonda Flynn
Alex McLean
Jude Roberts
Catherine James
Marie Barr
Angela Fortt
Sari Mangru
Monica Gratani
Sandy McCathie
Maxine Smith
Crystal Falknau
233 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 28 reactions

  • Jane McLean
    signed 2021-04-05 15:41:20 +1000
  • Vito Napoli
    signed 2021-04-05 11:16:38 +1000
  • Alison Downes
    signed 2021-04-05 10:02:53 +1000
  • Chris Fitz-Gibbon
    signed via 2021-04-03 11:18:03 +1000
  • Margaret Fitz-Gibbon
    signed via 2021-04-02 10:18:45 +1000
  • Margrit Rechsteiner
    signed 2021-04-02 09:46:02 +1000
  • Ian Frazer
    signed 2021-04-02 08:39:00 +1000
  • Michael Heytman
    signed 2021-04-01 13:32:56 +1000
  • Thalie Carpenter
    signed via 2021-04-01 07:34:53 +1000
    The removal of well established trees must be carefully considered and the reasons founded in science, but balanced by the community input. There are many experts in our community who aren’t employed by council who may have valid ideas to preserve well established trees.
  • Jodi Pattinson
    signed 2021-04-01 07:15:03 +1000
  • Vicki Sassella Copping
    signed via 2021-03-31 15:04:55 +1000
    Leave nature be. There is so much damaged caused to our earth by us, leave the trees.
  • Yasmenda Pitt
    signed 2021-03-31 13:52:25 +1000
  • Sam Cohen
    signed via 2021-03-31 06:27:26 +1000
  • Joseph Raggatt
    signed 2021-03-30 15:24:11 +1000
  • Rowan Silva
    signed 2021-03-30 10:39:45 +1000
  • Peter Raggatt
    signed 2021-03-30 10:39:09 +1000
  • Rhonda Flynn
    signed via 2021-03-30 10:27:33 +1000
  • Alex McLean
    signed 2021-03-30 09:51:50 +1000
  • Jude Roberts
    signed via 2021-03-30 03:22:12 +1000
  • Catherine James
    signed via 2021-03-29 22:18:10 +1000
  • Marie Barr
    signed 2021-03-29 21:51:29 +1000
    Townsville City Council needs to adopt a policy to enhance Townsville with tree-lined streets and develop laws to prevent unnecessary removal of trees.

    Over the past 2 weeks I have witnessed the removal of several trees in the Annandale area. None of these were causing any problems and should have been pruned not removed. The Council seems to be approving the removal of trees with gay abandon and no trees are being replaced.

    Numerous trees were removed to install the sewerage pipeline through Annandale with a promise that they would be replaced. This promise has been broken.
  • Angela Fortt
    signed 2021-03-29 21:41:37 +1000
    The Garden of Remembrance is a special place for my family. There is a plaque to remember my grandmother Colleen Lowe (nee Grace) there. It is most disappointing the way this has been handled.
  • Sari Mangru
    signed 2021-03-29 21:11:32 +1000
  • Monica Gratani
    signed via 2021-03-29 20:08:02 +1000
  • Sandy McCathie
    signed via 2021-03-29 19:57:01 +1000
    When I lived in Railway Estate a number of years ago, a neighbour cut down a significant tree in their yard. It was very tall tree and used to have an eagle’s nest in it. I was surprised they were allowed to remove it. I was saddened and looked into it at the time and discovered it had no protection under the law. I think significant trees should be valued and their retention supported. Having nature where we live, including significant trees has multiple benefits. We need to value nature more than we presently do. I support a significant tree register and support for people whose land hosts significant trees. Significant trees provide a service beyond just that property.
  • Maxine Smith
    signed via 2021-03-29 16:41:22 +1000
  • Crystal Falknau
    signed 2021-03-25 20:03:57 +1000
  • Crystal Falknau
    published this page in Campaigns 2021-03-23 13:25:32 +1000