Coconut palm trees have been declared a noxious weed in the tropical wonderland of Douglas Shire and its attractive beach suburbs north of the sugar township of Mossman, 80 klms north of Cairns.
Pic: Cairns Post
Social media commentators are enraged the council has cut down more than 30 vibrant young coconut trees at Newell Beach.
Tourists and local ratepayers have questioned why a shire including the tourist mecca of Port Douglas, which depends on Australian and international tourism would wantonly destroy beautiful, swaying tropical coconut trees, the epitome of a tropical paradise.
What is a beach without coconut palms? Local children collect fallen coconuts to extract nature’s most wholesome, fibrous food source and milk which is known for its marvelous therapeutic qualities.
These palm trees hold together the sand dunes and foreshores halting erosion with their vast fibrous root systems.
Hobbyists create all sorts of trinkets and ornaments with coconut shells which are sold at local markets.
Commercial interests have developed a huge market for coconut juice drinks.
Gympie-Gympie stinger tree found in most rainforests
Yet Douglas Shire Council, filled with Greens councilors and based at Mossman on the edge of the world-renowned Daintree rainforest has been cutting down the iconic trees because of some warped ideology reminiscent of a Hanson-Young nightmare.
Mayor Michael Kerr said juvenile coconut palms were an invasive species that threatened rainforest and coastal vine thickets.
Cr Kerr obviously has never tried to walk through a coastal vine thicket found in rainforests and wet sclerophyll. If he did he would probably still be there caught up by vicious, thorny wait-a-while vines that can cut flesh like a razor blade or be seeking urgent medical care after being stung by a highly toxic Gympie stinging tree.
What tourists frolicking on a beach would want to share a similar fate?
Cr Kerr should try to tell the blackfellas that coconut palms are an invasive species. Cairns News knows what response he would get.