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Whitsunday Regional Council is holding a series of public meetings to discuss the Draft Coconut Management Policy.
Throughout the region there are 975 coconut trees on public land, all with varying historical significance, management and maintenance requirements, therefore the need to draft a policy.
Despite public comments to the contrary, Council has at no time resolved to adopt this policy nor has it actioned the policy, or planned to prior to consulting with the community.
Council does not want to cut down the coconut trees, and that was never the objective of the policy and is not stated in the draft policy.
On May 6, the Manager of Parks and Gardens provided a 15 minute presentation to Council at its Briefing Session in Bowen, where it was made clear by all Councillors that the policy was to be draft and that region wide public consultation was required.
At the ordinary Council meeting on May 25, Councillors unanimously resolved to take the draft policy to the community for consultation.
It should be noted that the only Councillor that spoke in favour of the recommendation, prior to Council resolving to undertake consultation of the draft policy, was Cr Andrew Willcox.
Given Cr Willcox’s support, on June 3 the Mayor appointed Cr Willcox to a liaison role.
Council’s authorised officers will undertake formal consultation within the region.
The aim of the public meetings is to define:
the issues; why Council needs to develop a policy; discuss the value of coconut trees; outline briefly some historical background and significance; provide background on the Draft Coconut Management Policy development; outline the draft policy; and seek feedback from the public on where Council should retain coconut trees on public land.
Meetings are scheduled to occur at the following times:
? Airlie Beach – Airlie PCYC, Tuesday July 14 at 7pm? Collinsville – Collinsville Community Centre, Wednesday July 15 at 7pm? Bowen – Bowen PCYC, Tuesday July 21 at 7pm? Proserpine – Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Thursday July 23 at 7pm
It is important to note that the consultation period has been extended to July 31, 2015.
At the conclusion of the consultation, and in addition to the feedback already received, Council will be briefed on community feedback.
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For media enquiries, contact:Alesha West, Acting Communications OfficerPhone: 07 4761 3625, 0427 238 861 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org