Dawn Choate shows the type of trees chopped down and removed accidentally by Gympie council workers this week.
Dawn Choate shows the type of trees chopped down and removed accidentally by Gympie council workers this week. Tanya Easterby

Kilkivan trees cut down by mistake

GYMPIE Mayor Ron Dyne apologised to the people of Kilkivan this week after council workmen caused outrage in the normally peaceful township by accidentally chopping down two large bauhinia trees in the main street.

Businesswoman and former Kilkivan Shire councillor Dawn Choate came out fighting after seeing the mature, flowering trees cut to the ground on Wednesday, saying the Gympie Regional Council's "destructive, disrespectful attitude to community assets must stop or someone's head should roll".

Cr Dyne, the former chairman of the Kilkivan Shire Council, said the trees' destruction had been an "error" and the council was reviewing its procedures to make sure the "unfortunate occurrence" did not happen again.

"Council removed the trees in error and I have apologised to the letter writer on behalf of Cr Perrett and myself," he said.

"We are now reviewing our procedures to ensure this unfortunate occurrence does not happen again.

"Council is committed to the beautification of Kilkivan's main street and will continue to consult with community members on the current streetscape project.

"Council does not charge a levy for this beautification works and has no intention of doing so."

Mrs Choate also castigated the council on a similar episode in 2011, when two other bauhinia trees on Bligh St were cut down and two iconic timber structures removed - one without any community consultation.

"I object strongly to the reckless indifference of this council to community feelings," she said.

Cr Dyne said his council took issues such as this "very seriously" and "we will continue to work with the local community on improving and maintaining the appearance of the Kilkivan township".

"With regards to iconic structures such as the railway station and railway bridge, the station, which was owned by Queensland Rail, was eaten out by termites and was unsafe.

"The rail bridge required extensive repairs and ongoing maintenance, which would have been a costly burden on ratepayers.

"Council must consider ongoing maintenance costs when making a judgment on which historic structures are to be retained as if everything is maintained, rates would increase.

"This council is responsible for 24 halls and numerous showgrounds and historic buildings, all of which require considerable dollars to maintain."

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