Copa residents protest tree removal

Residents are outraged at the imminent loss of casuarina trees from Susan Fahey Park

Many Copacabana residents are outraged over the imminent removal of a brace of casuarina trees from Susan Fahey Park as Central Coast Council undertakes a major upgrade of the reserve.

A council spokesperson said two phases of consultation had been undertaken with the Copacabana community since September 2019 over the upgrade.

“As a result, Council has agreed to a accommodate a number of design amendments to meet the request for retaining as much open space area as possible,” the spokesperson said.

But in order to achieve a compromise of open space areas, playground equipment and park furniture, a number of trees have been identified to be removed.

“These will be replanted on at least a two-for-one basis throughout the park (minimum of 70), with a more appropriate species that will provide better future shade to visitors,” the spokesperson said.

Set to face the chop are 30 casuarinas (many of which are saplings) which will be removed for the installation of picnic tables, a shelter and a barbecue.

Six mature gum trees will be pruned of deadwood; a bottle brush adjacent to the tennis courts will be relocated into an adjacent garden bed to install access stairs; a tree threatening the integrity of the tennis building will be removed and replaced; and a tree near the entry pathway which is currently lifting the path will be removed and replaced so the path can be widened.

But the Copacabana Tree Preservationists Group says the large grove of trees set for removal is an “endangered ecological community” and is pushing for an alternative arrangement.

“The critical issue is that these trees are part of our inheritance yet they are about to be stolen from our community,” group spokesperson Elaine Norling said.

“These trees may not be the jewel in the crown of Copa, but they are part of our natural environment and that environment is being altered by development and disregarded.

“In nature casuarinas absorb excess moisture and keep what otherwise might be boggy ground walkable, therefore, in this situation it is essential to keep them.

“The size of the footprint of the enormous swing (proposed in the upgrade) is stopping what the original goal was of having an area for kids to kick a footy.

“If the aim of the exercise is to create more open and level space, then the removal of the enormous swing will give that result whilst leaving the casuarinas, their shade and other benefits untouched.

“The proposed park plan includes an education wall so what are we teaching… some of nature is valued whilst other aspects are not?”

Works are due to commence in July and expected to be completed by the end of October.

Media release, Jun 11
Copacabana Tree Preservationists
Media statement, Jun16
Central Coast Council