Council pays $8835 fine for pruning banyan tree
THE Fraser Coast Regional Council has paid a hefty fine issued by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection after the pruning of Maryborough's heritage-listed banyan tree.
The fine was issued on December 9 last year and the council was given 28 days to pay it, however as of late January the council had not paid the $8835 fine, with councillor Daniel Sanderson saying council staff were still in discussions with the department.
Despite paying the fine, Cr Sanderson said the council believed that it took into consideration the heritage value of the Banyan tree and Queens Park during the works.
"Council has paid the fine and is moving on with the Master Plan to ensure Queens Park remains a central highlight of Maryborough and the Fraser Coast," he said.
Before the tree was pruned in July, the EHP approved an exemption certificate when gave the council permission to prune the canopy of the banyan fig tree, providing it complied with certain conditions.
EHP inspected the site afterwards and determined the conditions had not been complied with.
About 600 square metres of canopy was pruned from the tree's historic branches.
The banyan tree has stood in Queens Park since at least 1872.
Mr Sanderson said pruning had to be done to to improve surveillance, change user behaviour and contain the canopy spread into other parks of the park.