Redland City Council has planted 490 seedlings to replace trees it cleared illegally in April 2013.
Restoration of vegetation to this area was required by the State Government, to remedy the Council’s breach of the Fisheries Act which could have resulted in Redland City being fined up to $220,000. However, local residents were surprised yesterday by the sudden appearance of new “wallaby control” fencing along large sections of the Eddie Santaguiliana Way.
The stealth with which this restoration and fencing work was carried out is remarkably similar to the sudden way in which the original vegetation was destroyed. On both occasions the Council failed to give local residents any notice of the proposed work plan and opportunity for people to comment before work started.
The original clearing of trees was not just illegal and a waste of ratepayers money. It also failed to achieve the objective of pleasing the people who had petitioned for “view management”. One of the local residents has admitted that they were gobsmacked by the way the areas were razed when all they wanted was a bit of thinning. How much dumber can you be than to waste money on an illegal act that benefits nobody? A couple of weeks spent talking with local residents (including the people who use the foreshore pathway) could have avoided much trouble.
So when it came time for the mistake to be rectified with replanting, why didn’t Council learn from its mistake and start by having a chat with the people who live in and use this area? There might have been some useful discussion about the objectives of the exercise, the methods to be used and the need for so much fencing to control the swamp wallabies that live on the same side of the fence as the new seedlings.
What has been lacking on both occasions is an effective local Councillor working on behalf of local residents in Redland City Division 3. At the last election Division 3 elected Kim-Maree Hardman to represent them, after Andrew Laming campaigned strongly for her. Cr Hardman is reputed to be a nice person but remains invisible to her electors and uninvolved at Council meetings.
She compares most unfavorably with the many effective Councillors in the Redlands who are actively involved in discussions at Council meetings and responsive to the electors in their Divisions.
If Division 3 had a more effective Councillor, this whole tragedy of errors might have been avoided.