Community calls for Port Fairy's James Street cypress trees to be recycled

PORT Fairy residents are calling for the James Street cypress trees to be put to good use once they are removed.

Moyne Shire director of physical services Trev Greenberger with the aging cypress trees on James Street, which have been recommended for removal. Picture: Amy Paton

Moyne Shire director of physical services Trev Greenberger with the aging cypress trees on James Street, which have been recommended for removal. Picture: Amy Paton

Moyne Shire received two separate reports recommending the removal of the trees due to increasing safety concerns.

The cypresses are about 80 years old and the threat of removal triggered submissions and a petition from the public opposing the move. 

However the second arborist’s report confirming the need for the trees to be chopped down has seen the community’s focus shift towards what can be done with the timber once the cypresses are removed.

Resident George Dummett said the council should make the wood available to groups or artists.

He said the removal of similar trees in Apollo Bay resulted in the timber being “used to make statues and chairs and tables around the town centre”.

“It breaks my heart to see it (chipped or burnt) when the timber is so beautiful,” Mr Dummett said.

“Why not cypress seats to complement our Bamstone seating?”

Moyne Shire director of physical services Trev Greenberger said that should the trees be removed, what happened to the timber would be a decision for council.

Mr Greenberger said there was a precedent in the Port Fairy Gardens, where a remaining tree stump was sculpted as a community art project.

“But that’s up to council because I assume it would come at an extra cost and that would have to be explored,” he said.

The James Street trees – between Campbell Street and Ocean Drive – were first earmarked as a potential hazard in a street tree management plan completed in 2014. Community outcry led to the shire securing a second report, which confirmed the need for the trees to be removed. 

A final decision of the fate of the trees will be made by the council at a future meeting. Money for the trees’ removal – $60,000 – has been set aside in the 2017/18 draft budget.

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