Trees, Brooks need to go: Enright
WHEN he started dealing with the Fraser Coast council 12 months ago, he wanted four trees removed. Yesterday River Heads resident Phil Enright wanted Sue Brooks removed.
Mr Enright claimed Ms Brooks, the councillor with the environment and sustainability portfolio, had taken an “inappropriate stance” in the wake of his request to have gum trees taken from property adjoining the rear of his property.
“She was indifferent. She didn’t disagree but she did what all politicians do when they don’t disagree – nothing. My request was quietly deflected.
“There is so much misinformation and compromise of the individual by the council, it’s tragic.
“This is absolute contempt for people whose home is threatened by trees. They are frustrating residents at every turn.”
Ms Brooks dismissed the accusation she was not up to the job, saying she was doing her best to represent the entire community.
Mr Enright also hit out at Ms Brooks’ “attempt to silence criticism” after she criticised the Fraser Coast Chronicle at Wednesday’s council meeting for its hard-hitting council coverage since the start of the year.
“Our democratic system depends on media scrutiny of representative government and its departments.”
Mr Enright addressed Wednesday’s meeting, where he was highly critical of the council’s tree management policy.
He claimed ad hoc decisions had been made by a council officer in the implementation of the policy and that it was outdated because of its failure to respond to climate change demands.
Nine months after his initial request was turned down, council workers removed one tree from the property adjoining his River Heads property, leaving behind three others that he views as a potential threat to his house.
Ms Brooks told the meeting that expert arborists had deemed the trees safe.
“Contrary to verbally and documented council policy, the other trees were lopped of limbs,” said Mr Enright, a management consultant.
Mr Enright invited the council to check the Brisbane City Council tree management policy which, he said, was at odds with Ms Brooks’s view.
“Many experts have made the observation that there is no such thing as a safe gum tree in a high-velocity wind.
“Certainly that has been the experience in many areas in the last 12 months in Queensland where so-called healthy gum trees have flattened houses.
“It would seem, in spite of the data collection and policy changes arising from other comprehensive reviews of tree management policies, councillor Brooks remain out of step.”
Ms Brooks was sticking to her portfolio guns yesterday.
“The trees were there before Mr Enright bought his property. I don’t think the trees need to go.
“I worry about setting a precedent if we were to remove every tree on public property with the potential to fall.
“I don’t know how many trees would be left on the Esplanade if we did that.
“Personal criticism is part and parcel of my role, at the end of the day. I’ve got to cop criticism on the chin and do my best.”
Ms Brooks said the council needed to have a forthright relationship with the media and be able to respond in a timely manner to requests from the media.
“I welcome every comment from the community, positive or negative.”