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.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, we have recently (9 August) secured documentation relating to this decision, courtesy of the Office of Australian War Graves. You can view the full pdf document here

GOAL: 250 signatures

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Showing 47 reactions

  • Vicki Sassella Copping
    Leave nature be. There is so much damaged caused to our earth by us, leave the trees.
  • Yasmenda Pitt
  • Sam Cohen
  • Joseph Raggatt
  • Rowan Silva
  • Peter Raggatt
  • Rhonda Flynn
  • Alex McLean
  • Jude Roberts
  • Catherine James
  • Marie Barr
    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
    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
  • Monica Gratani
  • Sandy McCathie
    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
  • Crystal Falknau