COMING DOWN: Workers remove the trees on Sunday.
COMING DOWN: Workers remove the trees on Sunday. Stephen otton

Claims of illegal tree removal as camphor stoush continues

THE fallout continues from the removal of the two camphor laurel trees from Maclean's McLachlan Park on Sunday, as Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson has denied council contractors overstepped their authority by removing a firewheel tree along with the two camphors.

"No development application was required," he said.

However former Maclean Shire Council town planner Warren Rackham disagrees, and believes the council needed development consent in order to remove the firewheel tree.

"I believe council has been so rigid in their rights and their ability to remove the camphors because they don't need consent for that because they're declared noxious weeds, they've overstepped their mark and removed a tree they weren't supposed to," he said.

"If the council works with the people it wouldn't be so bad but they don't listen, and they get it all wrong so consistently, and here we go again with these trees.

"Council can't make rules for themselves and rules for everyone else. To do anything you need development approval first, and council isn't a law unto themselves. They need to follow their own rules."

Some silver lining to the removal of the camphors however has come to the Townsend U3A Men's Shed, who has received the suitable timber from the two trees to use in their woodworking projects.

While Townsend U3A Men's Shed coordinator Allan Woods said there aren't any specific plans for the timber yet, he said it will be put to good use.

"There are a few at the shed who will start to learn how to do a bit of wood turning, so a lot will be used there," he said.

"We only got it a day or two ago, but it's good quality so it will be put to good use.

"We were happy to take it because otherwise we've got to source the wood ourselves and that costs the shed money, so with the council giving us this wood it helps us out."

Now that the camphor laurel trees are gone, Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson said they will be replaced with advanced trees.

"Council is liasing with a supplier of advanced trees and would choose species with an historic and ecological connection with the Clarence Valley," he said.

"We'll start planting around August so they're ready for the peak season."