Feature native vegetation for a better business plan
I refer to the alleged unauthorised poisoning of the majestic coastal banksias near the Atlantis Building at Ettalong.
There's always a reason (as pathetic as it may be) for such an extreme and illegal act.
You've got to ask why take such a risk of being caught for this type of criminal activity.
Is it to have a clear view of the beach by a selfish home owner or a commercial development?
Maybe they need to clear the land for more car parking along the beachfront.
So who will benefit from this action?
This will turn our beautiful waterfront into another Gold Coast or worse - a Rhodes by the Sea, if allowed. (Apologies to the good people of Rhodes.)
Residents and tourists don't want that.
A better business plan, to entice tourists to our wonderful beaches and unique coastal townships, would be to enhance the beauty of our coastline and not denude its precious greenspace.
Some Councils do this well, eg Cairns Council.
Just have a look at the beachside township of Palm Cove and how they worked around the natural vegetation by deliberately allowing some of the trees to be merged into the infrastructure.
To walk down their main shopping strip as a visitor is a delight passing various shops, restaurants, holiday apartments and other tourist attractions lined with an avenue of large melaleucas, tall palm trees and many other tropical plants.
They even bend the escarpment pavement around their trees.
This clever development has a charm of old and new stylish architecture looking out through these magnificent trees.
It created or kept a unique experience that the locals, business houses and tourists embrace.
Central Coast Council and its administrator Mr Rik Hart please take note.
In our case, the council is on the verge of going down the wrong track by allowing some hideous developments, which are potential slums.
Development is fine and necessary.
But for goodness sake, consult with an architect whose brief is to capture and enhance a similar style and character of that era of our unique townships (like Ettalong).
Blending infrastructure, old and new, and the waterfront with existing old growth trees is not hard to do.
All the big players will still make money and everybody will benefit and be proud to work and live in a well-designed environment.
So we the people, ratepayers, want some answers in the investigation of this vandalism.
Who poisoned these trees and why?
Until then, Central Coast Council could put in place of the dead trees a shipping container (or two), to hopefully discourage vandalism of this sort, just like other councils have done with some success.
Some of these banksias take hundreds of years to grow to this height, so you might have to leave the containers there for a long time.
You could consign a local artist to paint the containers with local flora just to soften the look until replaced with trees of equal species and height.
At least install some CCTV cameras for safety and security purposes.
These trees not only beautify the foreshore, provide shade, attract birds and habitat for wildlife, but are crucial and a cheaper alternative to the stability of the beachfront against coastal erosion.
Climate changes are real and storms and large wave surges are becoming more frequent and regularly impacting coastal foreshores and infrastructures.
We should be planting more trees on waterfronts instead of sneaking around like a rat in the night killing them.
One thinks of the legend of the Lost City of Atlantis sliding into the sea.
Hopefully that will not happen in our case.
Email, 13 Jul 2022
Barry Macdonald, Umina