TREE WARS: Rockhampton business owner Phil Peel
TREE WARS: Rockhampton business owner Phil Peel

Can?t see the shop signs for the trees

By MIKARLA THURECHT

ROCKHAMPTON'S East Street is now home to an endangered species of trees ? if Rockhampton City Council and business owner Phil Peel have their way.

Mr Peel wants 23 trees ? lining the East Street footpath from William to Denham streets ? to get the chop.

He believes they are messy and conceal shop signs.

"I like trees, don't get me wrong, but these are just the wrong sort.

"You've got no idea how many leaves they shed,'' Mr Peel said of the Harpullia pendula.

Mr Peel said leaves had blocked his gutters, caused his drains to overflow and water to leak through his ceiling during a storm last year.

He said he had to repaint and also fork out $1800 to fix his awning.

Mr Peel said he had contacted the council to lobby for the trees' removal.

Rockhampton City Council's director of parks, Tom Wyatt, agreed with Mr Peel and recommended the trees be removed.

Mr Wyatt said at several metres high, the trees were mere saplings and likely to cause more long-term problems.

"Removing the trees is proactive,'' Mr Wyatt said.

"They were a poor choice of tree to be planted one metre from shops.''

Mr Wyatt said the weeping figs planted in the centre of East Street were forming a canopy which would eventually cover the street and provide ample shade.

But former Rockhampton City Councillor Neil Fisher is not happy, saying it would be disappointing to see the trees removed.

Mr Fisher was involved in the planning of the street's makeover and believes the council has "lost the plot.''

"The idea was to make East Street very attractive, not just for beautification, but to make it a naturally air-conditioned part of Rockhampton.''

The council will decide the fate of the trees at Monday night's meeting.



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