LONE RANGER: Proserpine’s only coconut tree on public land, next to the Bruce Highway.
LONE RANGER: Proserpine’s only coconut tree on public land, next to the Bruce Highway. Matthew Newton

Give us our coconuts

FORGET removing any of the region's 975 coconut trees - locals want Whitsunday Regional Council to plant more and particularly at places like the Whitsunday Coast Airport.

The subject of the airport was raised at the inaugural draft coconut policy meeting in Airlie Beach last week, where local resident Suzette Pelt said she'd heard a clump of palm trees had been removed just a few days prior.

"The airport used to have some fabulous big palms that were just beauties - and now the whole approach is just pretty uninteresting and ordinary - it could be anywhere," she said.

The council's parks and gardens manager Scott Hardy confirmed some golden cane palms had been removed following a workplace health and safety inspection on site.

"Apparently there's a flying fox colony across the airport... and apparently the bats fly backwards and forwards across the airstrip and that's a hazard," he said.

A member of the audience noted bats flew predominantly at night and at present there were only daytime flights in and out of Proserpine.

"I think that's really bureaucracy gone mad," Ms Pelt mused.

Fellow local Peter Jennings said the airport carpark was "like a desert" and he compared it to other tropical gateways on the Queensland coast.

"And we're competing with these people," he said.

Suzana Fuller said she felt the council was making the place "too perfect".

"You are turning this into another Noosa - Noosa used to be beautiful and now it is just concrete. Please don't do it," she said.

Likewise, Ms Pelt said the council seemed to be creating "just another homogenised town on the coast". Tomorrow's public meeting will be at the entertainment centre at 7pm.


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