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September 30, 2019 - Toppled tree to get new life

A Calophyllum tree on the foreshore in Cardwell will be heavily pruned this week to around 1.5 metres above the foreshore, in an attempt to balance public safety with community feedback.

Independent arborists engaged by the Cassowary Coast Regional Council hope that heavy pruning would give the trunk a chance to grow back upright, as opposed to needing to be removed entirely.

 After consultation with the Cardwell community, Council staff wanted to see if this tree could still be saved entirely – but a report back from arborists said it was likely to fall over and was a risk to public safety. 

 The report said that nearby sinkholes had increased in size and number, and the falling tree’s roots were “reduced in strength and integrity by erosion of soil or sand” and “this tree is very likely to fail if unattended.”

Council has consulted with both the Department of Environment and Science and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries prior to proceeding with these works.

The Council now plans to cut back the tree to allow reshooting rather than removal. 

The issue is a common one for towns in high-rainfall regions, which can experience problems with trees that have either blown over or been toppled by storms or soil erosion.

While the trees might still be alive, the risk of them falling and causing damage means the Council is often forced to take action – even if it’s a tree they would rather not remove.

“If trees tilt or fall over they can be dangerous to people’s safety,” says Glenn Raleigh of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council. 

“Whenever public safety is involved the Council has to act.”

The tree trunk however, will not go to waste, and will be available for collection for use by local woodworking and community groups.

The tree will be heavily pruned this week.