Residents in revolt over coconut plan

"YOU can take our rates, but you can never take our coconut trees."

That's the message Whitsunday residents have delivered to councillors, council officers and the Whitsunday Times and Whitsunday Coast Guardian in the three weeks since the council opened its draft coconut management plan for community consultation.

Contributing to the anger is the haphazard way the community has been consulted.

Deputy Mayor Andrew Wilcox was appointed community liaison for the coconut management plan consultation process by Mayor Jennifer Whitney at the start of June.

Cr Wilcox said he had arranged a public meeting in a park near Rose Bay in Bowen and was intending to hold another meeting in Coconut Grove, Airlie Beach, before he received a call from Cr Whitney telling him he was only allowed to have one-on-one discussions with residents and that council officers would organise public meetings.

Cr Whitney said Cr Wilcox's meetings weren't advertised with due notice.

"When we do community consultation we have to make sure everyone has the opportunity to attend," she said.

With the window for comment on the draft plan closing in eight days time, the council is yet to hold any meetings to consult the public on the draft coconut management plan.


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