Kilkivan’s main street shows the 50kmh sign and where the trees were removed.
Kilkivan’s main street shows the 50kmh sign and where the trees were removed. Christine Harch

Council should consult with locals

A WITCH'S hat and a mound of dirt is all that remains to two hybrid bauhinia trees in the main street of Kilkivan.

Ostensibly, the trees were removed because they hid from view a 50kmh sign in Blyth St, which begs the question "Why was the sign not moved".

A Gympie Regional Council's works committee report, as a result of an anonymous letter from a concerned resident, stated the removal of the trees was a Main Roads directive.

While the cutting down of the trees was the motivation behind the letter, it was clear old wounds from other iconic removals had not been healed.

"I would hope this hasty action, devoid of community consultation, would not recur," the resident wrote.

"Many Kilkivan ratepayers are still angry about the removal, without community consultation, of the former railway bridge.

"This attractive, iconic part of our streetscape could easily have been retained as a footbridge if the rationale for the new roadway was that a heavy-load crossing was required.

"That the construction of the new facility took an inordinate amount of time to complete and that significant funds were expended on hiring portable, arguably irrelevant, traffic lights for much of that period, only incensed some of us further."

Apart from the author of the letter, another resident Dulcie Hewitt, has not forgiven the removal of the bridge or the removal of the old railway station building but most of all she is angry about "no community consultation".

"When you take away the 125-year-old railway bridge and the historic cattle yards from their standard place, how and what else is left historically for tourists.

"Every week someone asks 'where is the station gone' or 'what about the cattle yards' - the yards are out at the showgrounds cut into 10m lengths - and who may I ask is going to go out to look at that. You dare not wear green around here; they'll cut you down," Mrs Hewitt said.

At this week's works committee meeting, Mayor Ron Dyne said Kilkivan was planted with bauhinia trees and he believed council needed to replace the two that were cut down.

"It's a very emotive issue," he said.

Deputy Mayor Cr Tony Perrett agreed, saying "Council had advocated a reduced speed limit to 50kmh and a sign was necessary. We solved one problem regarding what the town wanted but now there is the additional problem of people complaining that they could not see the sign for trees - but there is an attachment to the trees."

Cr Jan Watt successfully pushed for council to adopt "a strategic approach" to street signs and start planning for town centres across the region, using community planning and development principles.

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