NUTS: Mayor Jennifer Whitney invites feedback on a draft coconut policy.
NUTS: Mayor Jennifer Whitney invites feedback on a draft coconut policy.

Council goes nuts over falling coconuts

WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has gone nuts - figuratively speaking.

A draft coconut management policy was released for public consultation this week which, if put in place, would see coconut trees removed from "neighbourhood/low use parks, open space/reserve, bushland reserve, cemeteries, road reserves and streetscapes".

"We've put (the policy) out for consultation just to show the community that we do take coconut trees seriously - the harm that they can cause our visitors, and also the cost to the community," Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney said.

Proserpine Hospital director of nursing Nicola Young said before council began de-nutting trees in public places more than 10 years ago, there were occasional cases of people presenting with head injuries.

There are currently 104 coconut trees around the region that are too tall for council staff to de-nut and would have to be serviced by a contractor at a cost of $10,400 a year.

That figure could increase by $25,500 a year as other trees grow.

A council report indicates there are 107 coconut trees less than 3m tall that could be removed to reduce future costs, and 150 trees not located on foreshore beaches that could be replaced with another species of palm.

Contrary to recent reports in other media, Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said the draft policy was not about removing the entire region's coconut trees.

"I think the (coconut trees) that are established - people expect that they will stay there," she said.

People can comment on the policy by emailing info@whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au before 4pm on Friday, July 3.


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