Following considerable public comment about the removal of two palm trees in Wharf Street as part of future planning for Woolgoolga, Council would like to clarify the background to its actions.
Feedback from the ongoing Draft Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan community consultation led to a move to relocate the Woolgoolga Beach Holiday Park entrance from Beach Street to Wharf Street, to improve the movement of traffic and pedestrians around the holiday park and beach.
A subsequent Council report into the relocation of the entrance was endorsed in June 2016.
Moving the access required the removal of six of the existing car parking spaces in Wharf Street. Early discussions with the Northern Beaches Residents Association and local businesses highlighted that their primary concern was maintaining the current number of parking spaces.
It was agreed that replacement spaces were to be constructed to the west of the existing locations. To achieve this, it was clear that the palms would need to be removed.
During the design process, Council considered options to relocate the trees nearby or sell them to private nurseries, rather than cut them down.
Unfortunately, moving the palms would have involved the excavation of a large hole in an area that contains a key sewer main. Subsequent investigations revealed that the excavation work would create a very high risk of damaging the sewer main – which would cause major disruption to local residents and businesses – and would be extremely costly.
As a result, Council staff were forced to make the decision that the trees would need to be cut down to accommodate the new parking spaces.
This decision was communicated to all nearby businesses prior to their removal.
Council would like to emphasise that the decision to remove the palms was taken only after all other options were exhausted.