Costa, mayor to face-off over Urban Food Street destruction
THERE are better solutions to any perceived problems with verge gardens other than chopping down trees and mounting community anger, and Australia's much-loved gardening guru Costa Georgiadis would like to meet Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson to discuss the options.
The landscape gardener and Gardening Australia host has been an advocate for the Urban Food Street project at Buderim, has visited to speak with involved residents and was horrified when council gangs moved in and cut down mature fruit-laden trees a fortnight ago and grinding them into mulch.
The brutal response to the failure of founder Duncan McNaught to apply to the council for a permit and to take out public liability insurance has drawn global attention and sparked widespread anger.
Mr McNaught faces fines and costs running to thousands of dollars for failing to comply with the council's direction.
Others have been forced to transplant mature trees back behind their fence lines or face similar consequences.
"Do they really want everyone against them?" Mr Georgiadis askd of the council's stand.
"That's the million dollar question. There are solutions but they require discussion. It's clear there's outrage across the nation.
"This impacts everyone involved in a gardening community.
"Local navel gazing won't solve it. Councils in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth can allow verge gardening without any problems. They can resolve it.
"Chopping down trees just exacerbates community disconnect with government."
Mr Georgiadis said he had rung Cr Jamieson and left a message offering to come to the Sunshine Coast to discuss solutions to the impasse but had yet to receive a response.
Cr Jamieson said he has attempted to get in touch with Mr Georgiadis on three occasions, twice on the afternoon of June 12 and once on Tuesday morning.
"I left a message for him to contact me directly," he said. "I look forward to speaking with him in due course."