A GRAND poinciana tree in front of the Casino Memorial Pool will be chopped down within six months as part of the pool upgrade.
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said there was no doubt poinciana trees could be impressive – in the right locations.
“Unfortunately, the 24-year-old poinciana tree outside the pool is the wrong size tree for this location,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Its structural integrity and health is compromised by the need to continually trim the tree due to the power line that runs through the middle of it, its canopy impacts the heritage building facade, its root system is compromising the building foundations and nothing grows in the garden bed.”
Resident Jennifer Nichols disagrees so she started a Facebook page – Casino - Save our Beautiful Poinciana! opposing the tree’s removal.
“We are calling on Richmond Valley Council to save the poinciana tree out the front of the Casino pool, on the corner of Centre and Richmond streets. It is an iconic part of Casino, (people) have used the tree for shade when coming and going from the pool. Not only does the tree add to the beauty of our town, it is important to the environment. If council can preserve the pool’s Art Deco facade, then surely saving an iconic tree is just as important, probably more so,” she said.
On the page, arborist Adam Franey from Guyra offered to help.
“I have worked on this tree a few times and enjoyed contributing to the appearance of the tree when it required maintenance. I am a consulting arborist originally from Casino and I have prevented the unnecessary removals of other beautiful trees in the area and if needed I would be happy to inspect the tree and write a report to assist in the retention of this tree as it is definitely an asset to the town,” Mr Franey said.
Mr Macdonald said the council was not in the business of unnecessarily removing trees.
“We’ve planted more than 2500 new trees across our valley in the past 12 months and will continue our planting program in the future,” he said.
The pool was opened in 1952. Four new trees are planned for the entrance of the pool once the poinciana is removed.
The Northern Region Planning Panel has approved the removal of the poinciana tree.
Its Statement of Environmental Effects included these reasons for its removal:
The poinciana is not a native Australian tree and as such, is not identified as critical habitat nor significant vegetation
The tree is only 24 years old and from an age perspective is not identified as a significant tree.
To preserve the heritage facade, minimising tree root damage to its footings and to ensure the facade's longevity
The facade is a “memorial” in that a wreath and lanterns embellish the facade which cannot be seen from the street
The tree has already been compromised by the power lines that run through its canopy
Its falling foliage is blocking and negatively impacting the performance of the street drainage system.