A pedestrian walks under leopard trees in Mary Street; the trees are facing the chop after their seed pods were called messy and unsafe by retailers.
A pedestrian walks under leopard trees in Mary Street; the trees are facing the chop after their seed pods were called messy and unsafe by retailers. Craig Warhurst

Mary Street trees to be replaced

THOSE moving to Gympie for a “tree change” may love Mary Street’s leopard trees, but since the main street’s retailers complained they were messy, a safety hazard and damaged the footpath Gympie region councillors have decided to replace them.

Some shoppers in Mary Street don’t agree and say council could better spend ratepayers’ money in the main street than on trees.

One, who wished to remain anonymous, was shocked at the cost to replace the trees($6500) and said council should invest in an attraction that drew people into town.

A recommendation to continue gradually replacing the trees was agreed to by councillors at Tuesday’s Works and Services Committee Meeting.

That decision, not final until ratified in next week’s general meeting, would mean other species of trees that had less invasive roots, no seed problems and were evergreen could be replacements.

A report has earmarked “harpullia, watuhousia and elalocarpus” trees as possible alternatives in Mary Street.

The report, by council’s General Manager of Works Eastern Division Greg Ingham, also quoted $6500 to remove and replace each tree with an advanced sized specimen.

That money would also allow for repair and replacement works to paving and kerbing and root control measures for the new trees.

Council’s Parks Manager Ed French told councillors Brisbane City Council continued to plant leopard trees and council was pruning the trees more vigorously now.

As a part of the tree replacement program council will also remove and trim problem trees, cut roots and repair adjacent pavers on an on-going basis.

But the cost doesn’t cover repairs or relocation of underground services the trees’ roots could have damaged.

Mr Ingham told councillors the roots had grown uncontrolled under the pavement and may have caused a lot of damage.

Mayor Ron Dyne said any replacement had to be a slow process.

“I would hate to think we go in there and rip them out...we would lose the aesthetic beauty of the street,” he said.

Back in 2006 the issue of safety with falling seedpods and the damage leopard trees’ roots caused to pavers started a program to replace the trees.

So far eight trees have been replaced.

Mr Ingham’s report showed three trees that had been removed still hadn’t been replaced because their locations were either too close to buildings or caused a visibility problem.

Another two were paved over after replacements were continually vandalised or damaged.

Mary Street retailers put the tree replacement as a top priority at a recent meeting to discuss the street’s revamp.

Gympie Times


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