Bum Tree comes back to bite council

It may have gone quiet for six months since its removal but it appears the demise of the iconic Bum Tree may come back to haunt Shoalhaven City Council.

Council came under fire in March for removing the 45-metre, 400-year-old blackbutt as part of black spot funding to widen Gerroa Road at the intersection with Beach Road.

Council cited safety reasons and in particular line of sight at the intersection as one of the major reasons for the removal of the tree.

Before: The Bum Tree on Gerroa Road.

Before: The Bum Tree on Gerroa Road.

After: Shoalhaven City Council said the removal of the iconic Bum Tree was to improve the line of sight at the intersection of Gerroa and Beach roads, yet has now placed a speed zone and wildlife zone sign in the same area.

After: Shoalhaven City Council said the removal of the iconic Bum Tree was to improve the line of sight at the intersection of Gerroa and Beach roads, yet has now placed a speed zone and wildlife zone sign in the same area.

Council has again come under the spotlight, now for its placement of signs near the location of the once famous tree.

A 100km speed sign and an injured wildlife sign have been erected at the spot, which according to Concerned Residents Group of Gerringong member Debra Moore now block motorists’ vision at the intersection.

“Shoalhaven City Council, after cutting the trees down to ‘improve sightlines’, has now erected two signs that impede vision at the intersection,” Ms Moore said.

“The fact that none of the intersection crashes were due to impeded sightlines was dismissed by council.

“Council said the removal of the tree was necessary to improved sightlines, yet it has now disregarded that and actually impeded sightlines with the installation of the new signs.

“The wildlife warning sign is to warn motorists of kangaroos, yet in the main kangaroos are hit south of the intersection. 

“A picture of a glider, which were in the location and an endangered species, would have been more appropriate at that location seeing as council’s environmental section had advised in their Environmental Appraisal that a rope bridge be installed at the location of the Bum tree.”

Council removed a number of trees and undergrowth up to six metres along the edge of the roadway through the black spot Funding program.

The Gerroa Environmental Protection Society (GEPS) took up the campaign to save the tree, initiating a protest vigil in the area and on the day the tree was removed tying members to its huge base.

Council was criticised for its lack of community consultation over the tree’s removal, in the end citing Section 88 of the Roads Act which allowed for tree removal in the name of safety regardless of other legislation.

A council spokesperson said council was responsible for placing the road signs on Gerroa Road but was only following direction from Roads and Maritime Services.

Meanwhile, the stump featuring the Bum Tree, which was removed six months ago, remains at council’s Bomaderry works depot, with a final decision on its future yet to be decided.

southcoastregister.com.au

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