BOMBALA residents are divided over the fate of the Caveat Street trees.
Councillors will consider a recommendation at tonight’s council meeting to cut down the existing street trees and further consult with the community over their removal and replacement.
But according to the feedback to the council so far, not all residents want to see the trees go – particularly two Horse Chestnut trees which residents claim are healthy and a tourist attraction.
“There is general consensus that the two trees down near the intersection of Maybe and Caveat Street should be retained,” council papers state.
“As can be seen in the correspondence received the remainder of the feedback contains a range of opinions from recommendations that the trees should be retained through to full replacement with suitable species with a theme,” it said.
Caveat Street resident Janet Macgregor told council she strongly objected to the removal of the two large trees on the corner of Maybe Street.
“Surely a (council) worker on light duties or the one cleaning the drain could sweep up the conkers for the short time that they drop,” Ms McGregor wrote in a letter to council.
She added that she wanted to see new trees established before the remaining ones were removed.
Her views were backed up by fellow Caveat Street residents Dick and Jenny Robinson who pleaded with council to “please keep our precious trees – they were planted by past generations to beautify the town”.
“The Horse Chestnuts on the Maybe/Caveat Street intersection are the most beautiful trees, they take so many years to establish to become the specimens that they are today.”
“They provide shade for motorists and only last month there were numerous motor bikes cramming for shade underneath them,” the couple said.
Alison Gimbert also wants to see the two Horse Chestnuts saved.
“These trees appear to be healthy,” Ms Gimbert wrote.
“In fact they have a life span of between 300-600 years, confirmed by the chief botanist, Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
“I think all will agree that they have not been there for anything like 300 years,” she said.
“As to them being a risk hazard and leaving council open to litigation, what may I ask is the council, and ultimately the ratepayers, paying insurance for,” she said.
Ms Gimbert said they were a focal point in the town and that tourists often commented on their loveliness.
Not all residents, however, wanted to save all the trees.
John and Kay Adamson said the Caveat Street trees, between Maybe and Wellington streets, were “unsightly and unsafe through many years of bad maintenance.”
The exception were the two Horse Chestnuts which, despite dropping nuts, were “handsome” specimens and should be retained, they said.
They suggested that the remaining trees be replaced with Ornamental Pears and Crab Apples which were drought tolerant and would provide an excellent spring and autumn display.
Former Bombala resident Peter Smith said spending $38,000 to replace 12 trees that needed water was “nonsense”, especially when the town’s water was a “disaster”.
Council believes that the majority of trees along Caveat Street are ageing, in poor condition partly because of pruning in the past to keep powerlines clear and potentially dangerous because of falling branches and nuts.