Clarence Valley Council has voted to simultaneously remove all four camphor laurel trees as part of its revamp of McLachlan Park. It had earlier approved a staged removal of the trees.
Clarence Valley Council has voted to simultaneously remove all four camphor laurel trees as part of its revamp of McLachlan Park. It had earlier approved a staged removal of the trees. Debrah Novak

Losing camphor laurels will cost much needed shade

THE REMOVAL by October of all four camphor laurel trees in Maclean's McLachlan Park has been branded a "disgrace" by a community and business leader.

The owner of the Spar Supermarket, Bob Little, can see the trees from his business and believes they are doing a wonderful job providing much needed shade for the town during summer.

"It's a disgrace they're removing the only bit of shade in the town centre," Mr Little said.

"They're planning to replant with something different when there's already four established trees there. It's an absolute waste of money."

Last night Clarence Valley Council voted 8-1 to approve a report from the general manager Scott Greensill calling for the simultaneous removal of the trees.

The decision overturns a previous decision to remove the trees in stages as part of the $1.3 million redevelopment of the park.

A small group of residents opposed to the removal of the trees attended the meeting and kept up a muted commentary on the debate.

Mr Little is a fan of the new park design, saying it will be "hell of an improvement on the current park."

"It's frustrating they keep changing their minds on the plan, but ultimately it's going to be good for the town," he said.

"The big problem is in summer people aren't going to use if because there won't be any shade."

The new president of the Maclean Chamber of Commerce, Philip Down, expects the next chamber meeting on August 10 to be a lively affair.

"I've heard opinions both ways about the park," he said. "I would say opinion is fairly split on the trees and the park."

He said as a relatively new head of the chamber, he was not confident of representing its view on the council decision.

"They're magnificent trees and have been part of the town for a long time," he said.

"But the new park design looks magnificent and I'm all for anything that will improve the town."

Mr Down said the decision to relocate the public toilets in the park was an issue that needed to be looked at.

"There's been a fair bit of conjecture about that. I'd like a bit more study down about how that will affect they use of the park."