News

Alstonville's fig trees spared the axe

Ian Cooke at Alstonville Public School inspects the 100-year-old fig trees.
Ian Cooke at Alstonville Public School inspects the 100-year-old fig trees. The Northern Star

NINE historic Alstonville fig trees have been saved after the NSW Land and Environment Court overruled plans by the Department of Education to remove them on safety grounds.

The trees at Alstonville Public School on the fenceline of St Joseph's Primary School were targeted by the Education Department following the February death of schoolgirl Bridget Wright in Sydney from a falling branch.

In the Land and Environment Court judgment, Justice Rachel Pepper cited inconsistencies in the reports used by the State Government to justify the trees' removal.

The Education Department commissioned two reports, a year apart, from the same local arborist, and the second report argued the risk of the trees causing harm was 20 times greater than the first.

"The 2013 report…concludes that there is a risk of harm… of one in 1,200,000… according to the second report, [the risk] is one in 62,000," Justice Pepper noted.

The decision is a vindication for the Save the Historic Trees group which has run a six-month campaign to protect the trees.

A petition distributed by the group had more than 1400 signatures including former teachers and students of Alstonville Public School.

Save the Historic Trees president Ian Cooke said a letter-writing campaign in May had no results, forcing the group to take legal action in June to seek an injunction on the trees' removal, the same day contractors were arriving at Alstonville Public School to fence off the trees.

Save the Historic Trees then commissioned a report from one of Australia's leading tree experts, Arboriculture Australia director Mark Hartley, which concluded that the risk of harm of the trees was "lower than the risk of harm from stairs".

Mr Cooke cited a Daily Telegraph report that said this year, 5042 trees had been cut down at 1587 state schools, at a cost of more than $13 million.

"There was no need for us to take legal action, this could have all been resolved if the Education Department had considered the anomaly that we pointed out," Mr Cooke said.

Topics:  alstonville education department land and environment court



Teen caught dealing Viagara, cannabis, methamphetamine

The drugs were found in the 18-year-old's bedroom

Fire-damaged playground gets shiny new slides

Kobi, 7, and Layla, 3, McKenzie, of Lismore, enjoy the new play equipment at Heritage Park.

There was $50,000 worth of damage, but now kids are happy again

Assange speaks out: 'I want people to know the truth'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Former Northern Rivers local's statement after years of detention

Local Partners

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Festival sale will 'ruin' Byron Bay: LETTER

The Falls Festival at North Byron Parklands.

"Byron will be ruined and ratepayers will carry the costs"

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Lismore's carols get the X Factor

Sydney pop duo Jess Dunbar and Matt Price, known from the 2015 season of Australia’s X Factor, will perform at the 2016 Shopbaby Carols in the Heart at Lismore.

X Factor stars Jess and Matt to headline the family event

Mel Gibson named Best Director at AACTA Awards

Mel Gibson poses in the media room after winning the AACTA Award for Best Direction for Hacksaw Ridge.

HIS wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge sweeps 6th annual awards in Sydney.

Mark Hamill unaware his co-stars were romantically involved

Hamill too "self-involved" at the time to notice, he said

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!