Blockade to save 90 irreplaceable blue gums

ANDREW Corbet has never been accused of being a tree hugger.

But he has promised a physical blockade of government plans to destroy about 90 irreplaceable blue gums at Long Flat. "I don't care, they're not taking these trees," the well known tree clearing contractor declared yesterday.

He was showing The Gympie Times the landmark eucalypts, which turn his part of Long Flat into the kind of postcard setting that attracts admiration from hundreds of visitors a year.

"Married couples come here to be photographed," he said outside his land, where the line of century old gums turn the Mary Valley Hwy past his home into a picturesque avenue.

They come to be seen in among the rustic beauty of the grand old eucalypts and his handmade post and rail fence.

"It's not going to happen," he said of the Main Roads Department plan.

"BY the time they've got the witches' hats out, we'll have 10 trucks down here parked under the trees," Andrew Corbet warned yesterday.

"I wouldn't mind if there was a genuine reason, but they're doing this for flood mitigation when it doesn't flood.

"They say there are safety considerations, but we don't have accidents along this section.

"These trees are beautiful and sound. Everyone loves them."

Mr Corbet got home recently to find a letter from Transport and Main Roads announcing "reconstruction works from the 2013 flood events on the Gympie-Brooloo Rd".

"Look at the road," he said yesterday. "There's nothing wrong with it."

The letter announced plans to widen about 500m along each side of the road to achieve a sealed 9m width.

"As a result some trees will need to be removed to achieve a clear zone," it said.

"Road safety is TMR's highest priority and we have a high focus on providing 'forgiving roadsides'.

"The designated clear zones are the width outside the road, which should be kept free of obstructions to allow errant vehicles the opportunity to recover without causing significant damage to either the vehicle or its occupants."

Then comes the crunch.

"The detailed assessment identified that about 90 trees directly adjacent to the road will require removal within the site," he said.

"They say they've got the money and they have to spend it.

"I said, 'spend it somewhere else'."

Gympie Times

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