Bad drivers, not trees at fault: Mayor
Palerang Mayor Walter Raynolds has staunchly defended the avenues of poplar trees on Kings Highway, saying it was poor driving at fault, not the presence of trees that was causing fatalities.
The golden poplar avenue is believed to have been planted around 1936 to celebrate the 25th year of King George V’s reign.
‘‘They are extremely important to the people of Braidwood and not to be touched unless they are dangerous which they are not,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been on public exhibition and it’s not the trees that are dangerous it’s bad drivers.’’
The NSW Transport Roads and Maritime Services held a web forum and a community workshop in late 2011. In a document posted online by the department it said it received 103 submissions about the trees, of which 99 supported the preservation of the avenues of trees on the approaches to Braidwood and eight supported the removal of all or some of the trees.
Founder of the Poplar Front Hans Hofmann said Palerang Council had tried to remove the trees in 2004, but met fierce community opposition.
‘‘I can tell you, I am so disgusted with the amount of talk fest that has been going on over the past eight years,’’ he said.
Mr Hofmann said shortly after the Poplar Front was started, the RTA became involved and funded the purchase of 130 golden poplar trees which were planted about 10 metres back from the road.
‘‘The idea was that after the new trees were five or six years old then the old ones would be brought down and we would have a new avenue set further back.
‘‘Everyone agreed and was on board. But we had the drought and we were not allowed to water the trees and they all died.
‘‘I think the preferred option now is to try it again - re-planting them 10 metres back from the road.’’
Mr Hofmann said he was reluctant to get involved with any more public consultation.
‘‘I am sick to the back teeth of it, I don’t know who’s paying for this.’’