1930s beauty has to go. Rot and termites seal fate of hoop pine’s removal

ABOVE: Bonalbo resident Marion  Conrow stands next to the hoop pine being removed from the Bonalbo Caravan Park. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Susanna Freymark

A grand hoop pine standing 40m tall in Bonalbo will be cut down this week.
The tree spreads its shade from up high, creating a cool spot for the tents pitched next to Peacock Creek at the Bonalbo Caravan Park.
The row of distinctive hoop pines was planted in the 1930s.
Kyogle Council’s general manager Graham Kennett said the tree was being removed because of its poor condition.
“The tree has been inspected and assessed by an arborist, and has been flagged for removal due to extensive rot and termite damage,” Mr Kennett said.
The rot and termite damage is visible on the hoop pine about to be removed.
Park caretaker Mick Braun said the tree was dangerous.
“We will lose a lot of shade, but if it falls it could hurt somebody,” he said.

He reckons it will cost the council between $7,000-$10,000 to remove the giant hoop pine.

Resident Marion Conrow said she moved to Bonalbo because of the trees like the hoop pine.
“Coming into Bonalbo, there was this grand entry of trees, and I went – ‘Wow! I want to live here.’”
As an artist the skyline of Bonalbo punctuated by tall trees means a lot to her.
She could see the evidence of the rot and termite damage on the peeling bark of the caravan park hoop pine.
“They could have done something to save it. In Tumut (a small town in the Riverina), they have a dedicated tree doctor,” she said.

Artist Marion Conrow photographs the hoop pine.

She photographed the hoop pine one last time and wished the timber from the tree could be used in the community. Instead, the council will mulch and cut up the hoop pine once it has fallen.
“The materials will be reused in Council gardens …  with the remainder going to Council’s waste facility for recycling or disposal,” Mr Kennett said.
“We do not, nor have we ever, made any money from any tree that we have had to remove from a public place.
“Sometimes the cost of the removal may be reduced where there is salvageable timber that can be retained by the contractor or another third party, and Council would always take the opportunity to reduce the cost to its ratepayers where that was possible.”

In the past three years, about six hoop pines with similar issues have been removed in the Old Bonalbo and Bonalbo areas.

There are no plans to replace the hoop pine at the caravan park once it is cut down as there were “still ample mature trees” in the area.
Mayor Danielle Mulholland said while they recognised the importance of these trees to the community, safety must come first.
For future plantings, “the council may work with the Bonalbo Progress Association to determine if they want more trees and where they might want them,” she said.
The top of the hoop pines at Bonalbo Caravan Park.



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