To manage the health of the trees overall, some of the Norfolk Pines on the western side of The Coast Road are being removed.
To manage the health of the trees overall, some of the Norfolk Pines on the western side of The Coast Road are being removed.

Residents divided over removal of pine trees on The Coast Rd

SEVERAL Norfolk Island pine trees on The Coast Road at Skennars Head have been chopped down this week as part of works associated with the new Aureus estate.

In a statement issued earlier this week, it was announced that Aureus contractors would start "select removal" of some of the trees as part of a requirement of the development consent from Ballina Shire Council.

Landscape architect Darren Taitoko said the removal of the Norfolk Island pines was due to the fact they were growing too closely together.

"They are growing into one another so the trees that are struggling will be removed, allowing the more robust trees among them to benefit from the additional space," he said.

"It can be distressing to witness tree removal.

"We wanted to provide information for local residents so they know what is going on and why.

"Now that some trees have been removed, ongoing works to ensure the long term viability and survival of the remaining Norfolk Island Pine Trees have commenced.

"Works prior to tree removal included injection of root systems with beneficial fungi and follow up works will include weed removal, mulching and ongoing watering.

"We are currently undertaking formative pruning, which means shaping the trees so they have good structural form and don't cause interference to users of The Coast Road shared path."

On The Northern Star's Facebook page, the community was divided on whether getting rid of the trees is a good move or a bad move.

Jas Edwar said, "I guess we can just keep planting more there", but Monica Wilcox replied: "How about we don't and go back to endemic littoral rainforest instead?"

Joanne Freney wrote: "They cut them down to give their estate a good view of the beach, okay, whatever. Yet they plant more of the same up on the older suburb's side of the hill so they grow up to block the view to the original housing. How's that fair and okay?"

Ms Wilcox again replied, saying: "The coast side of the road is riddled with Norfolk Pine over-planting (including destabilising the dunes) so not sure of any long term view gain.

"The roundabout works were also over-planted but people seriously complained and many got removed.

"The Skennars stretch open space was also intended to be keep endemic bush but it's gradually 'died' and views improved.

"These (pine) trees don't do much for supporting wildlife because they destabilise dunes then endemic plants and wildlife can't survive.

"They're not iconic.

"I remember when you could be on Flat Rock about 20 years ago and see the beautiful line of the dunes.

"Now that stretch is over run with Norfolks."

Janette Lidstone said she thought having existing trees was better than no trees.

"I'm sure there is wildlife that is currently quite fond of them (the Norfolk Island pine trees)," she wrote.

Karen McBurney-bickmore said she thought chopping down the pine trees was "disgraceful".

Lyn Jarrett said her mother Beatrice Paff grew the trees from seeds and "would be so upset by this".